Nestled in the valley of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains range lies a town rich in culture and hospitality. People gather in Taos from all over the world to enjoy its natural and historic beauty. Endless activities, accommodations, and ceremony locations add to the town’s southwestern allure, making it one of the most epic and underrated places to elope in the U.S. We’ve written the ultimate guide on how to elope in Taos as a local elopement photographer and videographer duo. Keep reading to uncover all the best Taos has to offer!
When To Elope In Taos
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Taos is beautiful year-round, offering a variety of activities from season to season. Summer and Fall are sunny and warm, with pretty Sunrises and Sunsets. Winter is mildly cold at higher altitudes, with plenty of sunshine-filled days (and snowy ones). Spring brings slightly warmer weather, with rain and snowmelt bringing wildflowers and waterways back to life.
Day Of Week
Taos sees almost 1 million tourists yearly, while similar locations like Breckenridge see DOUBLE that amount. I’m going to let you in on a secret: Taos offers nearly all of the same perks as other U.S. mountain towns, PLUS lower crowd levels, even in peak tourist season.
It’s no secret that the year-round sunshine, endless outdoor activity options, and delicious food aid in creating high crowd levels on weekends at popular locations. However, couples can experience intimate and private ceremonies even at popular sites by choosing to elope on a weekday. Popular vendors also have more availability, there will be less traffic to and from your elopement location, AND beautiful, preferred accommodations will likely be available at a less expensive rate than on the weekends.
To learn more about how weekday elopements offer a secluded and stress-free experience, read my blog, Why You Should Elope On A Weekday!
Time of Day
Sunrise vs. Sunset
Sunrise or Sunset elopements are based on preference. While location and time of year can play a factor, it mainly depends on your and your partner’s hopes and dreams for the day. Maybe you want to elope in Taos at the Rio Grande Gorge and then go skiing for the rest of the day. Maybe you dream of a lazy morning with breakfast in bed before getting ready for your intimate wedding at a goji berry farm.
We can help you navigate decisions like this one when helping you plan your dream day! We’ll ask you and your partner if you’re early birds or night owls, how you envision your celebration, and if you want your outdoor photos to have a cooler or warmer tone. All are important factors to consider before selecting a time of day!
Where To Elope In Taos
Taos Goji Farm and Eco Lodge
A serene, 40-acre farm with panoramic views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. You and your partner can celebrate your intimate wedding or elopement at Taos Goji Farm before relaxing in one of the eco lodge’s historically renovated cabins or high-end tipis.
Each cabin features an artful New Mexican interior with modern accents and cozy luxuries. The two tipis on the property include private seating areas and plush beds. While staying in the tipis is a more rustic option, the bathroom and showers are just steps away. All guests have access to an outdoor infrared sauna and hot tub situated beneath shading branches of cottonwood trees.
The goji farm has many different ceremony locations and sweet photo opportunities. You and your partner can start your celebration by wandering through a sunflower field and apple grove before stopping to hang out with some cute and cuddly farm animals. For vows, you can both head to the open ramada chapel near the barn or walk hand in hand to a field with a peaceful mountain view.
Hotel Luna Mystica
A mystical escape nestled in the Mesa of Taos. This vintage trailer hotel and starlight campground are easily one of Taos’s most unique ceremony locations and accommodations. You and your partner can escape the stresses of daily life and fully embrace an elopement experience full of stillness, romance, and awe at Hotel Luna Mystica.
Couples can stay in one of two accommodation options: a vintage trailer or a campsite. If you decide to stay in a vintage trailer, you’ll have 20 different models to choose from. All trailers are renovated, artfully themed, and equipped with modern luxuries to make you feel at home. If you’re feeling inspired by all the beautiful nature surrounding Hotel Luna Mystica, you can also choose to camp beneath the stars at their mountain view campground.
Ceremonies here are vibey, eclectic, and timeless. You and your partner can incorporate a colorful camper or classic airstream in your getting-ready photos. Then, head to the wide-open camping valley for vows beneath the beautiful Southern Rocky Mountain peaks. Afterward, you can celebrate your elopement with appetizers and drinks by strolling to Taos Mesa Brewing across the street. This taproom offers various local brews, delicious pizzas, and other elevated bar bites. A perfect end to a perfect day.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge
Also called “The Bridge To Nowhere,” this iconic New Mexico landmark has appeared in many famous Hollywood films over the last few decades. There’s no denying its cinematic appeal, especially at Sunrise and Sunset. The bridge stretches wide across the flowing Rio Grande River and shines as a show-stopping, breathtaking viewpoint that lies beautifully beneath the rigid Rocky Mountain-filled horizon.
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is only 10 miles from Taos and is the perfect Sunrise or Sunset vow ceremony location before exploring nearby hikes, overlooks, valleys, farms, and breweries!
If you want a sustainable and unique elopement experience exclusive to Taos, Earthships are novel, environmentally-friendly ceremony and accommodation locations only found around this part of New Mexico. Earthships began popping up around Taos in the 1970s as a movement toward complete sustainability. These eco-centric dwellings are built with recycled and natural materials and entirely rely on solar power and rain to sustain.
There are many Earthships for rent on Airbnb for couples that want to experience and integrate these otherworldly homes into their wedding day. Couples can also visit and take photos at the Earthship Visitor Center — a beautiful structure in and of itself. While Earthships may seem primitive by nature, they can be very elaborate, luxurious, and contemporary in design and amenity offerings. By far the most unique way to elope in Taos!
The Stakeout is a beautiful hilltop venue that overlooks a valley of sagebrush. The view from the venue’s Bella Terrace and Gala Room extends all the way to the Southern Rockies. The southwestern architecture of this venue is charming and romantic, offering couples a variety of intimate indoor and outdoor settings to celebrate their special day.
While this ceremony is great for intimate weddings, it’s also the perfect spot for a reception. We’ve had many couples choose to elope in Taos out in the mountains with just us, them, and our cameras. Then, host a large reception to celebrate with family and friends. The outdoor bar and grill area of The Stakeout is perfect for champagne toasts and cocktails, followed by a delicious New Mexican dinner in the Gala Room with family and friends. We also love this venue because it’s accessibility-friendly!
What To Do On Your Elopement Day In Taos
Hiking | Summer + Fall
You and your partner can adventure to lakes, waterfalls, meadows, evergreen forests, epic overlooks, and more on the many hiking trails in and around Taos. While Winter offers couples snowshoeing opportunities along some routes, the views and weather are hard to beat in Summer and Fall. Here are a few of our favorite hikes around Taos!
Wheeler Peak | Year Round
Can you imagine hiking up to the highest point in New Mexico with the love of your life on your elopement day? At 13,167′, Wheeler Peak sits just 2 miles from Taos Ski Valley and offers daring couples an opportunity to hike a challenging 7.3-mile out-and-back trail via the Wheeler Peak Trail. About 2.5 miles in, you and your partner will come to the Bull-of-the-Woods Pasture, a perfect picnic spot, before tackling nearly 3,000′ in elevation gain to the peak. While this location is beautiful in Fall and Summer, Winter and Early Spring weather sprinkles the peak with snow. Definitely ideal conditions for snowshoeing!
Williams Lake | Year Round
It may just be one of the best alpine lakes in all of New Mexico. Williams Lake is located beneath Wheeler Peak, amongst a dense pine forest full of wildlife, creeks, and small waterfalls. You and your partner will enjoy the 4.2-mile out-and-back trek to the lake. While the hike to the lake is moderate with some elevation gain, the view of Williams Lake is breathtaking year-round. The lake does freeze in Winter and stays that way through Early Spring. The trail up to the lake also changes with the colder temperatures of Winter, perfect for a snowshoeing adventure.
Gold Hill | Year Round
Gold Hill is a 12,716′ peak nestled next to Wheeler Peak. The main route to the top is far less traveled than the trail up to Wheeler Peak, with equally amazing views year-round. You and your partner will love this hike if you want a less crowded local hiking experience. The best route to the peak begins at the Bull-of-the-Woods Trail, located at the parking lot of Taos Ski Valley. It’s a great day hike and an opportunity to unplug and reconnect with your partner after your elopement day! Also another great snowshoeing trail in Winter!
Trampas Lakes | Year Round
About an hour and a half outside of Taos lies a trail to a hidden gem of the southwest, Trampas Lakes. The 12.5-mile out-and-back trail is fairly strenuous. However, it’s totally worth the day hike if you and your partner are up for an adventurous challenge. Dogs are welcome on this trail, with plenty of water stops along the route. While Summer and Fall is the most popular time of year to hike this trail, it stays open in Winter for snowshoers.
Via Ferrata at Taos Ski Valley | Summer + Fall
This is a great bonding activity for couples that seek thrill and aren’t afraid of heights! Via Ferrata is a climbing route of steel cables, handholds, and ladders fixed at 11,500′ beneath Kachina Peak in Taos. There are a variety of routes for different skill levels and abilities, with some tours available at Sunset. You can make reservations and learn more about this daring activity here!
White Water Rafting | Spring + Early Summer
Northern New Mexico has some of the southwest’s best white water rafting opportunities. Taos provides easy access to rafting routes in the Rio Grande River through the mighty Rio Grande Gorge. The best (and most fun) rafting happens near the middle of Spring and early Summer. The snow melts from mountain ranges in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico at this time, fueling the Rio Grande’s rolling river rapids with lots of fresh alpine water. You can reserve full or half white water rafting excursions before you elope in Taos here!
Skiing at Taos Ski Valley | Year-Round
Taos Ski Valley has everything: world-class slopes, slopeside lodging, delicious restaurants, lively breweries, and a relaxed and celebratory atmosphere. If you and your partner are looking to attach a skiing honeymoon to your elopement, Taos Ski Valley is 1) less crowded and 2) more laid back than other popular winter destinations like Breckenridge or Vail in Colorado. There are plenty of luxury lodging options like The Blake AND even more elevated dining experiences that feature authentic New Mexican cuisine.
While Winter is the most popular time to visit Taos Ski Valley, the area is just as beautiful and fun in Summer! Couples can enjoy activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, rafting, and more. You and your partner can also take in the beauty of Taos Ski Valley on a scenic ski lift ride. The view is incredible at the top of Lift 4, with an endless scene of lush evergreen forests and nearby mountain peaks. In Summer, there are fun events like Taos Pride, La Fiestas de Taos, outdoor movies, concerts, and art shows that will definitely add festivity and excitement to your elopement experience!
Who To Hire To Help Bring Your Taos Elopement To Life
Once you hire us to capture your Taos elopement, we’ll help you start the planning process by providing access to a preferred vendor list! From florists and bakeries to makeup artists and officiants, our vendor list is full of trusted creatives that will help make your dream day a reality.
How To Prepare To Elope In Taos
Book Accommodations And Travel
Once you secure a date, time, and location for your Taos ceremony, book any necessary accommodations and travel details as soon as possible. This will ensure you secure all your preferred means of travel, along with the best lodging options.
If you’re flying into New Mexico to elope in Taos, it’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Albuquerque International Airport and an hour-and-a-half drive north of Santa Fe Airport. From both ABQ and SAF, you can rent a car at the airport’s rental car center, use a car rental app like Turo or pre-book a shuttle to Taos Ski Valley. You can also book a connecting flight from Albuquerque or Santa Fe to Taos Airport! To learn more about transportation options to and from Taos, click here.
Make The Marriage Official
If you want to make your marriage official in New Mexico, follow these steps!
- Set a date, time & place for your Taos elopement.
- Coordinate an officiant to help you say “I DO,” along with two witnesses – we can help with this!
- Pack your debit/credit cards and government-issued forms of identification in your carry-on luggage.
- Visit the County Clerk’s office nearest to your elopement location and provide them with valid, government-issued forms of identification. Identification requirements may vary from county to county, so be sure to call your desired location a few weeks ahead of time!
- Pay New Mexico’s marriage license fee of $25.
- Once an officiant performs your ceremony, ensure they return all necessary paperwork to the County Clerk to make the marriage official!
Taos Elopement Essentials Packing List:
Depending on the activities, length, and time of year you’ll experience during your visit, being comfortable and prepared for your Taos elopement is all in the packing. Here is an elopement essentials list to help you get started with the packing process:
- Adventure Gear for
- White Water Rafting
- Rock Climbing
- Sunscreen & Aloe
- Elopement/Wedding Outfits & Shoes
- Garment Bag(s)
- Vow Books
- Travel/Marriage Certification Documents (Insurance, Boarding Pass, ID, Passport, Birth Certificate, Social Security Card)
- Credit/Debits Cards
- Water Bottles
Why Should You Elope In Taos?
Foodies will fall in love with all of Taos’ food and drink offerings. The small mountain town is packed with a variety of authentic New Mexican restaurants, taprooms, wineries, food trucks, coffee shops, bars, and fine dining experiences.
Toas’ namesake comes from the Taos Pueblo, an ancient pueblo belonging to a Taos-speaking Native American tribe of Puebloan people. Visitors are welcome to learn about and explore the over 1,000-year-old pueblo. Just five minutes down the road lies Taos’ Downtown Historic District. Taos Plaza holds many cultural sites and events, such as The Fiestas de Taos, Bent Street, and beautiful adobe structures.
108 mountain peaks surround Taos County. That means at any given time, you’re surrounded by dozens of towering snow-capped mountain tops that make up the Southern Rocky Mountains. The horizon is even more magnificent at Sunrise and Sunset, with only fields of sagebrush and evergreen forests in between you and the most incredible mountain views.
While the Sangre de Cristo Range is undeniably the most dramatic landscape in Taos, the town is also home to wildflower meadows, sagebrush valleys, vast canyons, forests, lakes, and more!
Are You Ready To Elope In Taos?
If you picture your dream elopement full of mountain views, thrilling activities, and beautiful New Mexican culture, we would love to help you plan a dreamy Taos ceremony full of love and excitement. New Mexico is our home base. We’re full of local tips and tricks to help make your elopement planning a breeze. We’re ready to be there for you and your partner. You can tell us about your love story and wedding day dreams through our inquiry form! If you want to learn more about eloping in New Mexico, you can read our New Mexico elopement guide here. We can’t wait to meet up with you in Taos, go for a beer, and make some unforgettable memories together!