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a young man sitting on rock steps in boulder, colorado

Family Photography

Beautiful Places in Boulder Colorado for Terrific Photos

Hello, I'm susannah.
I believe that moms need to be in photos with their families. Today. While your kids are still shorter than the kitchen counters and your home is cluttered with LEGOS, stuffies, and piles of laundry. 
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Location Ideas for Boulder Photo Sessions

Looking for beautiful places in Boulder where you can capture great photos of you and your family? Keep reading for my list of spots in Boulder, Colorado for terrific family photos.

When coming up with this list, not only did I consider beautiful places in Boulder, but also things like access from a parking lot, child safety, crowds, shade.

Keep reading for my suggestions and photo examples!

Mount Sanitas Area

There are so many scenic areas around Boulder’s Mount Sanitas! Sanitas, the Centennial trails, the Sanitas Valley Trails, and Dakota Ridge are a few that come to mind.

Although Sanitas is a great hike, I have found that the steepness of the the Sanitas trail is not necessarily the best for family photos (who is kidding–a photographer schlepping all that gear has a hard time too!), but I definitely recommend Dakota Ridge. You can usually find a bit of shade, use the cool rock hut, and find varied and beautiful backgrounds.

To access this area, I usually park along along 4th Avenue and Valley View Drive,  and then look for the dirt trail that cuts up to Dakota Ridge. By turning left when this smaller trail intersects with the bigger Dakota Ridge trails, you can access the unique stone hut. There is still a fair amount of uphill here, but nothing like Mount Sanitas proper.

I also think the the views facing downhill towards the middle of the Sanitas Valley Trail are topnotch–they’d be a fabulous background for photos of your loved ones!

For more information on this area, visit Boulder’s website.

two photos of a couple taken in boulder colorado
Two images of a couple posing along the Dakota Ridge area near Mount Sanitas in Boulder, Colorado.

Chautauqua

A bridal party hugs the bride at Boulder's Chautauqua.
The Waterwise Garden in Chautauqua is a great spot for family photos and wedding day photos!

You guys, I love Chautauqua. So many great photo ops! (Plus I was married there!) Between the views, the buildings, and the gardens, this truly is one of the most beautiful places in Boulder.

If you are visiting Boulder and staying in one of the cute cabins, I highly recommend taking tons of photos in your cabin, in the backyard, on the front porch…so stinkin’ cute. And, because Chautauqua has so many trees compared to much of Boulder, getting great shots is easier. (Shade is a photographer’s best friend.)

Other scenic locations at Chautauqua includes the Meditation Garden (behind the Dining Hall)(but please be mindful of your noise and other guests–it is made for meditation afterall) and the Waterwise Garden (which has beautiful flowers in the spring and summer, as well as shade). You could just wander around all day taking beautiful photos of your kids and spouse!

A note about parking: they are changing things up at Chautauqua. Parking used to be a pain, but now you may need to pay to park or else take a shuttle to get there. So, if you are planning on taking photos at Chautauqua, I’d plan on early in the day and look at this website for updated parking/transportation news.

PS-More on the iconic Flatirons photo in a bit…

a cowboy and his bride sit on a colorful couch on a porch
Just a lovely bride and groom chilling on the porch of one of Chautauqua's cute cabins.
portraits of sisters playing with balloons
Two girls, two windows, and four balloons during a photography session at Chautauqua.
boulder colorado portrait session starring young sisters
Sisters being adorable in the Waterwise Garden of Boulder's Chautauqua.

The South Boulder Creek Trail

This is a great spot for photography! There are a few different options here including one of the more iconic views of the Boulder Flatirons. You can also find shade along the creek or use the old buildings to create some interest and variation for the backdrop.

Another perk about this area is that it is flat, so if you have young kids or relatives who’d do better on flat terrain, this is a good option.

You can access this area in a couple different spots, but I am talking about the parking lot off of 93 that is a bit north of Eldorado Springs Canyon.

a couple stands in front of the flat irons
This engagement session took place at the South Boulder Creek Trail.
engaged couple in south boulder
A couple take in the beautiful Flatirons.

North Teller Lake Trailhead

I enjoy taking photos here for a couple reasons: the trees along the pond turn beautiful colors in the fall and you can usually find shady spots under them. The terrain is flat and there are lots of little things for young kids to do to stay occupied.

This area is a bit east of Boulder, but worth traveling to for the scenery and ease.

outdoor family portrait
A family poses in the shade at the North Teller trail head area in Boulder, Colorado.
family holding hands for portrait
A family hold hands in front of trees at the North Teller Farm area of Boulder, Colorado
brothers looking at the mountains
Brothers check out the mountain views from the North Teller Farm trail in Boulder, Colorado.

Eben G Fine Park

If you are comfortable bringing your young kiddos near rushing water (at least in the spring and early summer), Eben G Fine Park is a great option for photography. Park at the end of Arapahoe and amble along the Boulder Creek for portraits. You can use the rock structures, river, boulders, and playground as photography backdrops.

An engaged couple pose along the Boulder Creek.
An engagement session along the Boulder Creek in Eben G Fine Park.

Flagstaff Mountain

I love this beauitful spot in Boulder because of its varied feel, and because most of it is easily accessibly from your car. You could drive up the mountain (taking Baseline west out of Boulder) and stop at various spots…head to the Sunrise Amphitheater or the stone shelter for some interest. Use the city of Boulder to get an urban background. Find some rock formations to get a funky outdoor feeling. Plus, the way the light hits those rocks makes for amazing images!

a young man sitting on rock steps in boulder, colorado
A young man chills at the Sunrise Amphitheater up Flagstaff Mountain during his senior portrait session.
boulder-engagement-session-photography
A couple sit on a rock formation up Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder, Colorado.
laughing bride
Sisters laugh in shade outside the stone shelter up Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder.

The Iconic Flatirons

Yes, this photo op is in Chautauqua, but it is so scenic, special, and quintessential Boulder, it deserves its own section.

First, let me point out a couple things:

  • You have to find parking.
  • You have to hike up a short but steep section of the main trail to get to a good spot.
  • I prefer that my clients are mindful of staying in designated hiking areas and preserving the plants, etc.
  • They just re-did the main trail up to the Flatirons, and it is now paved instead of rocky. This is good for people with disabilities, but it may or may not be the look you want for photos.
  • It can be crowded. I hate photoshopping hikers out of these photos! Instead, get there early or later in the day.
  • Early shots mean you’ll be squinting into the sun–I suggest everyone wearing shades!
  • Late day shots mean the best photos may require a fill flash for proper exposure.

What does all that mean? While getting these photos are great, if you live in the area, I would switch it up and explore one of the other spots I mentioned. (If you’ve done the Flatirons shot before!) If you are visiting from out of town, these are probably the photos you want!

wedding-couple-by-flatirons
A wedding couple posing below those iconic Flatirons.
wedding couple and the boulder flatirons
Another photo of a bride and groom posing in front of one of Boulder's most famous spots.
Outfit tips for winter family photography sessions.

Do you have other beautiful places in Boulder that you would recommend for photos?

Please share this information with us! And, these blog posts may help with your Boulder photography inspiration.

beauitful places in boulder, photo ops, photo locations

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I'm
Susannah

I've been photographing families professionally since 2006. I am a wife, mama to 2 boys, companion to 2 cats who are named after members of the royal British family, a former preschool teacher. I love running, hiking 14ers, sparkly clothes, the band Phish, river float trips, St. John USVI, farm CSAs, and Colorado blue skies.

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