How to Plan a Hiking Elopement

Planning a hiking elopement is an amazing way to celebrate your love, combining adventure, intimacy, and nature. If the idea of exchanging vows atop a mountain or beside a serene lake appeals to you, you are in the right place. As an adventure elopement photographer in Colorado, I’ve created this guide to help you plan your hiking elopement. So let’s get into it!

Choosing Your Hiking Elopement Location & Trail

When selecting a location and trail for your hiking elopement, consider the following:

  • Difficulty Level: Ensure the trail matches your fitness level and hiking experience.
  • Scenery: Choose a location that resonates with your aesthetic preferences—mountains, forests, lakes, cliffs, Colorado really has it all.
  • Privacy: Look for less crowded trails to maintain the intimacy of your ceremony.
  • Accessibility: Consider how easy it is to get to the trailhead and whether it suits your elopement plans. Note: trails may be less accessible during certain times of the year, especially in the winter.
  • Permits and Regulations: Check if the area requires permits or has specific regulations for elopements. I am more than happy to help you navigate the permit process.

If you’re planning your hiking elopement in Colorado, here’s my list of Colorado elopement locations you might consider!

bride and groom during their adventurous colorado elopement

Choose Your Date

Once you’ve decided on your location, you should also consider WHEN you would like to elope. You might already have a date or season in mind, but there are a few things to consider when you’re planning a hiking elopement.

  • Weather: Research the typical weather conditions for the season you’re considering.
  • Crowds: Try choosing off-season when possible. Or ask your elopement photographer for suggestions on less popular locations! Weekdays or sunrise hikes can offer more privacy and intimacy, not to mention – that beautiful sunrise light is to die for in your photos!
  • Seasonal Closures: Be aware that some trails and roads close during the winter, and some don’t open until late spring due to mudding and unsafe road and trail conditions. Here’s a resource you can check out for more information!

Hire Your Adventurous Hiking Elopement Photographer

Heading out on a hiking elopement is a whole new kind of adventure, even if you’re no stranger to hitting the trails. That said, it’s super helpful to have someone in your corner who knows their way around the local hiking spots and how to navigate an elopement day. All while capturing those special moments – I’m totally here for it!

As an experienced hiker and Colorado adventure elopement photographer, I am really hands-on when it comes to helping my couples figure out their plans. If you’re local, you might have a bit of an edge with some insider info, but trust me; there’s always something that catches people off guard when we start planning their hiking elopement and chatting about what they want from their photos.

Helping couples plan their big day is so important because it clarifies what to expect, how far they want to hike in their wedding gear, the variety of breathtaking views to choose from, all the prep stuff, and picking the best times for those perfect shots, plus a whole lot more!

Learn more about my hiking elopement packages!

bride and groom during their adventurous hiking elopement in colorado

Book Other Vendors & Lodging

In this part of planning your hiking elopement, you get to hire your ultimate “Dream Team” to bring your vision to life. You will also need someone to officiate the wedding and legally marry you and your partner unless you’re choosing to self-solemnize, which is a great thing about eloping in Colorado.

I am happy to help connect you with various vendors to help create your dream elopement tea. Here are some of the vendors you might want to consider hiring to help you with planning an elopement:

  • Planner
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Officiant
  • Florist
  • Baker
  • A caterer or maybe a private chef
  • Hair and Make up artist
  • Travel agents or outfitters to help plan different activities

After you have carefully selected your vendors, set up a time to chat with each one of them. During this time, show them your vision for your elopement. When you talk with your vendors, be sure to share all the details with them. Tell them your priorities, the vibe, the style, and even the crazy fantasies you might have so they can help guide you and bring everything to life! The day is truly about you, which is why your vendors are there to work their magic and create a meaningful and intimate wedding day experience.

As for lodging, consider a place that offers easy access to the trailhead to minimize travel time on the day of your elopement. Trust me, you will thank me later on this one.

Choose Your Hiking Elopement Attire

When it comes to what you’ll wear on your elopement day, functionality should go hand in hand with appearance. You should choose a dress that’s easy to hike in (not too long or bulky) and made from more lightweight fabric, making it easier to move around (and carry!). 

Wear sturdy hiking boots and remember, layers are your friend, especially in Colorado’s unpredictable weather. 

You might also consider changing into your wedding attire at your elopement site. If you are changing on–site, practice packing and carrying your elopement attire in a backpack. Fold the garments carefully to minimize wrinkles, and use a garment bag for extra protection.

If you’d like more tips on choosing your elopement attire, I’ve got just the guide for you here!

close up of bride and groom's hiking boots

What to Pack for Your Hiking Elopement

  • Water and snacks
  • First aid kit
  • Navigation tools (map, compass)
  • SPF
  • Wedding attire + HIKING BOOTS!
  • Marriage license and rings
  • If you’re bringing your pup, bring extra water, dog food, and waste bags!

These are some essentials I recommend bringing with you on your hiking elopement. As your elopement photographer, I’m prepared for EVERYTHING and will also give you specific guidance to ensure everything goes smoothly. Additionally, I will also extra supplies and a first aid kit in the unlikely event that we will need one.

Can We Bring Our Dog?

Short answer – YES! While dogs aren’t allowed in the Rocky Mountain National Park aside from paved roads, there are many great elopement locations in Colorado where your pup is just as welcome as you are. You will find plenty of pet-friendly hiking trails and lodging options as well. 

Fun fact – your dog can sign your marriage license in Colorado! 😉

Ready for Your Hiking Elopement?

If you’re planning your hiking elopement in Colorado or elsewhere, you may be on the lookout for your dream elopement photographer, planning assistant, and adventure buddy! If that’s you, just know I’d LOVE to meet you! You can learn more about me here! And if you’re looking for more elopement planning resources or inspiration for what your day could look like, check out the rest of my blog!

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