Brainard Lake Elopement

Elopements and Weddings At Brainard Lake

Brainard Lake Wedding

A beautiful and colorful sunrise elopement wedding at Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Brainard Lake Is Located Just 45 Minutes From Boulder, Colorado and 1h 15m from Downtown Denver. It’s Untouched Beauty Triumphs and Makes It One Of The Best Locations For Colorado Elopements & Weddings.

Overview For Your Brainard Lake Elopement

A wedding ceremony at Brainard Lake Colorado in the summer.

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

One of the prettiest elopement locations you can choose in Colorado is Brainard Lake. With endless views that are easily accessible, and even more within a short hike, it’s the perfect middle ground for couples wanting a Colorado Elopement or Micro Wedding.

However, this is a very trafficked area that you’ll need to do a little prep for to visit or get married at. While it’s nothing to difficult, it’s all necessary to ensure that you have the best experience, and protect this beautiful area to the best of your ability!

Brainard lake recreation area elopement near Mitchell lake where the bride and groom are standing next to a flowing stream.

Brainard Lake Reservations

Due to the high traffic to the area and limited parking, Brainard Lake has a timed entry system with reservations. 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.

A bride and groom hike to their wedding ceremony location at Long Lake in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.

When Is Brainard Lake Recreation Area Open?

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.

A fall elopement at Brainard Lake with Golden Aspen Trees in the background.

Should We Have A Guest Limit?

In short, yes. For weddings at Brainard Lake I would highly recommend having no more than 20 guests present. 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.

Wedding vow books and bouquet styled on a rock at Brainard Lake Recreation Area.

Will We Need Any Permits?

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.

Brainard Lake Wedding

The Best Season To Have Your Elopement Or Wedding At Brainard Lake

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 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 colorsIf you’re eloping at Lake Isabelle or Mitchell Lake, the mid-summer months will give you the best results,

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 Elopement at Brainard Lake. Wedding Cinematographer and Videographer

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.

Boulder Colorado Elopement

The Best Elopement and Wedding Locations At Brainard Lake

Let’s talk about the best Boulder Colorado Elopement and wedding locations. The Best Elopement and Wedding Locations At Brainard Lake feature some of the most beautiful & accessible high-elevation terrain in all of Colorado. It’s split up into three main areas accessible via trailheads: Brainard Lake, Long Lake Trailhead & Mitchell Lake Trailhead. Each of these offer vastly different terrain & options, some of which you can drive up to, while other areas might require a hike as little as 1/4 mile or up to 10 miles.

Brainard Lake Wedding Ceremony

Brainard Lake Elopements

This area of the park has the most parking and easily accessible locations. In most cases, you can expect walks of 300-500 feet to some great locations. By default, this area is generally the most crowded, but for very good reason. Between the great views & easily accessible water & mountains, it’s hard to beat.

The Best Elopement Locations At This Area Of Brainard Lake:

Lake Isabelle Elopement at Brainard Lake Elopement

Lake Isabelle Elopements

This area of the park has the most parking and easily accessible locations. In most cases, you can expect walks of 300-500 feet to some great locations. By default, this area is generally the most crowded, but for very good reason. Between the great views & easily accessible water & mountains, it’s hard to beat.

The Best Elopement Locations At Lake Isabelle & Long Lake

Brainard Lake Elopements

Mitchell Lake & Blue Lake Elopements

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.

The Best Elopement Locations At Mitchell Lake & Blue Lake

Elopement at Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Lefthand Reservoir & Niwot Mountain

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.

The Best Elopement Locations At Lefthand Reservoir & Niwot Mountain

brainard lake wedding

Creating Your Brainard Lake Elopement Day

Eloping is so much more than just saying your vows or hiking to an epic location. At the end of the day, you’ll want to celebrate in a way that’s authentic to you. Regardless of what that is, I’m here to help make your vision come to life!

Hike To Your Elopement Location

With an extensive network of trails on-site, it’s hard not to take advantage of the beauty. Getting there a bit early for sunrise or sticking around for sunset will give you some incredible visuals that you’ll never forget!

Make It A Multi-Day Elopement Experience

Multi-day elopements are a really incredible way to experience your wedding day. While it might seem long or intimidating at first, this extra time actually exists to give you more space and live in the moment.

Take Things Into The City

With the vibrant mountain town life just down the road in Nederland, you can experience the local food & drink scene there, or take things back to Boulder or Denver for a real city experience.

Lake Isabelle Wedding

Lake Isabelle Elopements

Let’s talk a bit more about Lake Isabelle Elopements! Lake Isabelle is easily one of the most popular elopement locations in all of Colorado. It’s within an easy drive of Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. In addition, it’s absolutely beautiful! Since it is such a popular elopement location, I’ve included a few details below to show you more of the details into eloping at Lake Isabelle. Let’s dig in a bit deeper!

Hiking Elopement at Brainard Lake Recreation Area Going To Lake Isabelle

Lake Isabelle Trail

The hike to Lake Isabelle is one of the prettiest in the state. It’s honesty no surprise this is such a popular location. To get to Lake Isabelle, you will need to park at the Long Lake Trailhead. Just note, to park at this location, you will need a specific timed entry pass to this location. If you get one to anywhere but this location, your hike will grow in length by 2 miles total.

The base of this hike sits at roughly 10,500 feet and ends at roughly 11,000 feet. Just note, with an elevation of nearly two miles high, you will need to take proper precautions to complete this hike, especially if you do not live at elevation. Hydrating 24-hours before, in addition to bringing along plenty of water and calorie dense foods is key. Even then you might be prone to elevation sickness, so try to give yourself a day or two to acclimate if coming from low elevations.

Colorado Adventure Elopement Locations Lake Isabelle

Why Elope At Lake Isabelle?

• Beautiful Mountain Views At Sunrise and Sunset
• It’s Easily Accessible In Summer / Early Fall
• While at a high elevation, it’s a easier & more simple hike
• It’s easily accessible from the Denver Metro area

Lake Isabelle Fast Facts

• 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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Boulder, Colorado


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