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colorado elopement

Brainard Lake Elopement

Brainard Lake Colorado

The Timed Entry System

When Is Brainard Lake Open?

Due to the high traffic to the area and limited parking, Brainard Lake has a timed entry system. To get a ticket, you will need to reserve them via recreation.gov and select the trailhead within the area you'd like to park at. Your pass will only be valid for the trailhead you select and passes are released on a 14-day rolling window.

While open year-round, there is a gate that closes for the winter roughly 2 miles from the main area of Brainard Lake. To reach the lake & other trailheads in the winter months, you will need to snowshoe or cross country ski the distance over the snowy road. Generally, the gate is open for the season & drivable from Late June to Late October, weather permitting.

Will We Need Any Permits?

Should We Have A Guest Limit?

In most cases you won't. While you do need to pay for your ticket in ($14 per vehicle) there currently isn't a required permit for eloping couples under *most* circumstances. Just to be safe, I check in with the National Forest Service regarding each circumstance just to be sure we're all in the clear. Events that need permits are usually ones that have guests present as they are higher traffic.

In short, yes. For intimate weddings at Brainard Lake I would highly recommend having no more than 20 guests present. Here's why - It's not that big of an area. Parking can be difficult, cell service is non-existent and coordination to get everyone to the same location can be quite difficult. This area is best suited for gatherings that you can fit everyone in one or two vehicles.

Brainard Lake Wedding

What's the best season to have your Brainard Lake wedding or elopement? This is a key questions to ask, as there are certain parts of the year that are more accessible than others. In all honesty, there are certain times of the year that you won't even be able to reach many of the locations in this post unless you're a Colorado winter pro and ready to face the elements.

Brainard Lake Sunrise Elopement

Summer Elopements at Brainard Lake

Summer elopements at Brainard Lake are incredibly beautiful. It's also by far the most popular time at Brainard Lake. Early summer gives you incredible snow capped views of the Indian Peaks in the near distance, as late summer will have an abundance of colors. If you're eloping at Lake Isabelle or Mitchell Lake, the mid-summer months will give you the best results, as the ice on the lakes will have melted, and most of the snow drifts will be gone. Regardless. Brainard Lake is at its peak in the summer, no doubt about it. Just be aware that during this season, weekends will be very crowded and give you very little privacy, while weekdays can give you a little more privacy.

Fall Elopements at Brainard Lake

Fall is also an excellent time to elope at Brainard Lake. From Mid-September to Late-October you'll find an abundance of fall foliage, and some occasional light snowfall. This is by far my favorite season for elopements at the Brainard Lake area simply due to the beauty & diversity of the colors. The area is still fully accessible, but with fewer tourists it will oftentimes give you areas all to yourselves. Lake Isabelle is one of the most popular elopement locations in the area (and Colorado) but a little known fact is that it's actually a reservoir. It's generally drained in mid-September without notice, so plan accordingly if that's your desired location!

Snowshoe Elopement At Brainard Lake Colorado

Winter & Spring Elopements at Brainard Lake

The main road leading to Brainard Lake is closed from Late October to Late June, depending on conditions. During this time frame, you can still access the trailheads within the Brainard Lake area, but you will need to park at the Winter Lot and make your way from there. It's roughly 2.25 miles from the Winter Lot to the base of Brainard Lake. While there are plenty of beautiful locations along the way, you'll be greatly rewarded if you make the trek to Long Lake or the areas beyond. The area is incredibly beautiful in the winter, as you'll find an abundance of snow and white peaks in the near distance.

The Best Elopement and Wedding Locations At Brainard Lake

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Long Lake & Lake Isabelle

Brainard Lake Area (Main Area)

Eloping at Lake Isabelle has become a Colorado Adventure Elopement staple. The four mile round-trip hike will reward you with one of the prettiest alpine lake backdrops, especially at sunrise. Long Lake (1/2 mile round trip) is also another great backdrop without the longer hike, and also has some incredible trees.

Here's Some Of My Favorite Locations In This Area of Brainard Lake:

Here's Some Of My Favorite Locations In This Area of Brainard Lake:

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Mitchell Lake & Blue Lake

Lefthand Reservoir & Niwot Mountain

Blue Lake is one of the more strenuous hikes in the area. It's roughly 6 miles round-trip, with over 1K feet of elevation gain. Mitchell Lake is much more manageable, as it's just under 2 round-trip and very little elevation gain. The trees on the way up are also incredibly beautiful and photo worthy.

While technically not part of the recreation area, the road to these locations is right next to the entrance gate of Brainard Lake. These two areas offer fewer crowds, and some incredible views. Niwot Mountain is one of the most accessible mountain top view in the area and the views are simply incredible.

Here's Some Of My Favorite Locations In This Area of Brainard Lake:

Here's Some Of My Favorite Locations In This Area of Brainard Lake:

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Brainard Lake Colorado Wedding

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Hiking Elopement At Lake Isabelle Colorado

Why Elope At Lake Isabelle?

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On Your Wedding or Elopement Day

Hiking To Lake Isabelle

It's roughly a 4-mile round trip hike with 600ft of elevation gain.

Hiking shoes are highly recommended as the path is rocky

This is a high elevation hike, take proper precautions (water, food, etc.)

You will be hiking for roughly for 2-3 hours (in and out)

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Lake Isabelle Elopement

Brainard Lake Elopements and Weddings

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