Finding a magical spot for your destination elopement or destination wedding might seem like a daunting task, but as a seasoned adventure wedding photographer, I’d say you can’t go wrong with Dunton Hot Springs, an idyllic hidden gem in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.


Dunton Hot Springs: Some Background

Located just a few miles from the famed ski resort village of Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs is a beautifully preserved ghost town that boasts tons of rustic, Old West charm. The town dates back to the 1880s when a miner named Horatio Dunton set up the town to serve the local mining community.


Within just a few years of its creation, the town was all but abandoned and lived through a series of owners, including a stint serving as what was basically a haven for hippies. In the 1990s, the town was purchased by a German billionaire, and he transformed Dunton Hot Springs into a posh, yet authentic resort, capturing the charm of the old mining days but adding a sophisticated, upscale touch. The result, combined with the transcendent scenery, is entirely unique and the perfect spot to start your new life.


Weddings & Elopements at Dunton Hot Springs

With so much natural beauty and the unique surroundings of a restored ghost town, it’s easy to understand why many people (including many celebrities) choose this romantic, secluded paradise for their destination wedding or destination elopement. As a Colorado elopement photographer, I guarantee that Dunton Hot Springs is at the top of my list for picturesque weddings and elopements and I have extensive experience working in the San Juan Mountains and throughout Colorado.


At Dunton Hot Springs, you have the option (if you are planning a full wedding) to rent the entire town and for parties of 14 or more, you are required to rent the entire facility. The main town can accommodate up to 44 guests. In the summer months, accommodations also are available nearby at Dunton River Camp, which can accommodate about 15 additional guests.


The team at Dunton Hot Springs will provide you with plenty of support leading up to your big day, including menu planning and finding activities for guests. They also will provide you with a list of approved vendors for your photography, flowers and other services. You can rest assured that the vendors on this list have a long track record of providing unparalleled services for their clients.


I am proud to be on the list of approved photographers and have handled both weddings and elopements at Dunton throughout the years. As a preferred vendor, I can capture the magic of your special day, whether you opt for a complete wedding or an intimate elopement.


Dunton Hot Springs Accommodations

This tiny hamlet offers an assortment of perfectly restored, hand-hewn log cabins for guests to enjoy. There are more than a dozen cabins, several of which can accommodate larger parties.


For instance, Potter House boasts a master bedroom with a fireplace as well as three additional king bedrooms, a queen bedroom and a bedroom with two twin beds. This space, which includes 3.5 bathrooms can be a perfect option for a wedding party. Of course, there are smaller, intimate cabins just for two, as well.


For a destination elopement, you might simply select your favorite cabin and we can select locations in town or head out into the wilderness for your adventure wedding photography.


With all cabins, whether they are quaint cabins just for two or larger cabins for families and friends, the rates include all meals including beverages, with the exception of some of the most exclusive reserve wines and liquors.


The resort also includes an on-site spa that offers an array of massage, facials, yoga and meditation sessions. Of course, you also enjoy the use of the hot springs, which is one of the most magical elements of this historic property.


If you select a summer wedding, you have the option to include tent accommodations at Dunton River Camp, the site of a former cattle ranch. While you might balk at the idea of tent camping for your guests, these “tents” include all the amenities of a luxury hotel including ensuite bathrooms with soaking tubs, heated towel racks and much more.


How To Get There

Dunton Hot Springs is about 30 miles southwest of Telluride, and Telluride Regional Airport can be the easiest access point. Flying into Durango-La Plata County Airport is another option, as Durango is about two hours from Dunton Hot Springs. Denver and Colorado Springs are both six or seven hours from Dunton, so it’s often best to opt for one of the smaller airports and I typically recommend Telluride.


Destination Weddings Vs. A Destination Elopement

The tried-and-true church wedding with obligatory country club reception simply isn’t the right choice for many couples. Some couples prefer an entirely unique setting for their wedding day. They wish to completely immerse themselves and their guests in an unforgettable experience.


With a destination wedding, you can get away from all of the trappings of day-to-day life and truly focus on the magic of the moment. In a setting such as Dunton Hot Springs, this is easy to achieve. The historic buildings, the hot springs and the surrounding beauty of the mountains and meadows provide a serene backdrop for your wedding experience.


Destination weddings also can be an ideal option for couples that prefer a smaller, more intimate wedding in general. At Dunton Hot Springs, you are limited to just 44 guests (60 in summer), but, of course, you could limit this further to include only the most important people in your lives.


Of course, for many of my couples, a full wedding isn’t something they want. They simply wish to focus on each other without having all of the typical planning and stress of a traditional wedding. A destination elopement can be the perfect option, and if you have a keen love of nature and a sense of adventure, I can find some of the most unique locations for your wedding photography.


While the setting at Dunton Hot Springs is ideal, we can trek out into the wilderness to find that perfect mountain vista or wooded stream. We can even mountain bike or hike out to that perfect spot.


Let’s Plan Out Your Special Day

As an experienced adventure wedding photographer and Colorado elopement photographer, I’ve spent quite a bit of time capturing weddings and elopements in Dunton and in the San Juan Mountains in general. If you find that Dunton is not available on your preferred dates, we can look for sites near Telluride or other unique locations.


The San Juan Mountains are filled with wonderful sites for wedding photography, and I can always find options to suit any couple. A Telluride wedding or Telluride elopement can be just as beautiful and exciting as Dunton Hot Springs. If you are searching for the best Colorado wedding location, there’s no shortage of idyllic locales and I can find a spot that truly suits your inclinations.


Again, if you are planning a Dunton Hot Springs wedding, I am on the preferred vendor list for this property and have extensive experience shooting San Juan Mountain weddings.


I love the challenge of crafting destination elopement and wedding photography that truly captures the spirit of a couple and showcases their love and commitment to one another. Feel free to get in touch with me at any time to start planning your Colorado adventure wedding.

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