One of our all-time favorite locations for a Colorado elopement is Brainard Lake Recreation Area. There are endless elopement options here! A Brainard Lake Recreation Area elopement offers long, get your heart rate up hikes that provide a completely private ceremony. This area also offers easily accessible alpine lakes with gorgeous mountain views. You can kayak or paddleboard on Brainard Lake, or opt for a two-day backpacking trip for the ultimate wedding experience. One of the best parts? You are almost guaranteed to see a moose in this area! If this sounds like your kinda wedding experience, send us an email so we can start planning your dream elopement!
The Best Time to Elope at Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Brainard Lake Recreation Area closes seasonally. This area is open from about mid-June and closes about mid-October, but it is open all year round, you just have to snowshoe or ski in which can be a super fun winter elopement idea! (Ps, if you are looking for Colorado winter elopement inspo, check out Becca and Dan’s Snowshoeing Elopement!) However, my personal favorite time for a Brainard Lake Recreation Area elopement is July-September!
Summertime at Brainard Lake Recreation Area is nothing short of magical. You have SO many options open to you as far as locations and activities. You can kayak, canoe, paddleboard, have a picnic, backpack, hammock, and so much more! Your Brainard Lake Recreation Area elopement can be whatever you want it to be and include all of the things that you love to do as a couple in one of the most gorgeous places in Colorado. Most of the trailheads have bathrooms, making it a great place for changing into your wedding attire before you set off on your adventure. There are tons of wildflowers in this area as well, so you literally get a little bit of everything that’s so incredible about Colorado!
Pro tip: Plan your summertime Brainard Lake Recreation Area elopement for sunrise. Colorado typically gets afternoon thunderstorms almost every day, and those can be particularly dangerous if you are above treeline. Opting for a sunrise elopement can usually avoid these thunderstorms. Not to mention, sunrise at this spot is out of this world gorgeous!
Fall at Brainard Lake Recreation area is absolutely gorgeous. Cooler temps and changing leaves make this spot an ideal elopement location! Keep in mind, it can totally snow any time in September here, but typically, early to mid-September is a safer bet. Since this spot is pretty much at treeline, there aren’t a ton of aspen trees right at these lakes. However, if you go down just a little way to nearby Ward, Colorado, or Boulder, there are lots of changing trees! You can absolutely add in time to get pictures and video among the golden aspens!
Pro tip: Brainard Lake Recreation Area is at a high elevation, meaning it will be cooler. You will want to make sure you have a warmer jacket and fleece-lined leggings just in case. Like I said, it can be cold and windy up here at this time, so you always want to be prepared!
How Much Does it Cost to Elope at Brainard Lake Recreation Area?
A timed-entry reservation is required to enter Brainard Lake Recreation Area and it is $14 to enter from mid-June to mid-October. There are no entry fees during the off-season. You can reserve that here. Since they are requiring a timed entry reservation, it is very important that you connect with your photographer first so you can plan a timeline and reserve the timeslot that fits your wedding day.
Pssst…did you know that in addition to documenting your incredible elopement we also help our couples with everything they need to have the best wedding experience ever? Yup! From permit assistance, customized location guides, and so much more. We’re here for you every step of the way so you can focus on what really matters – marrying your best friend in the most “you” way possible!
You can read more about Brainard Lake Recreation Area here.
Can My Dog Come?
Heck yes!!! One of the coolest things about eloping here is that your dog(s) can attend! I’ve always said bring your dogs whenever possible because they make the best witnesses (and I get to love on them!;) Just keep your fur babies on a hand-held leash at all times. There are lots of wildlife in the area (especially moose) so it’s really important that you keep your dogs close.
Did you know that your dog can “sign” as your witness in the state of Colorado?! Since Colorado is a self-solemnizing state where you and your partner act as your own witnesses (and you can marry yourselves) you can have literally anyone (or animal) sign your marriage license as your witness. All you have to do is ink their paw with pet-friendly ink, and stamp the witness line on your marriage license! This is literally one of our favorite things about eloping in Colorado!
Closest Towns To Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Boulder is a quick 45-minute drive from BLRA through a gorgeous canyon. So you feel like you are way off the grid without being totally away from all of the yummy restaurants and cool Airbnb’s. Speaking of Airbnb’s, here is a list of our favorite Boulder Airbnb’s!
- Mountain Airbnb
- Bright, Airy, Tranquil Boulder Home-Away
- Historic Downtown Creekside House
- Sunshine Canyon Mtn. Retreat – a great option if you’re including family/friends!
Estes Park, Colorado
Estes Park, Colorado, is a 50-minute drive from BLRA. Estes Park is home to some pretty incredible sights, like the Stanley Hotel and Rocky Mountain National Park. Why not jump right into your honeymoon right after your wedding?! You can really explore some of the coolest areas in Colorado!
Denver will be the best airport if you are choosing to fly. Denver is about an hour and a half drive to Brainard Lake Recreation Area. I recommend giving yourself a couple of days to acclimate to the elevation by staying in Denver or Boulder before your Brainard Lake Recreation Area elopement. That and drink tons of water. Avoiding altitude sickness is super important. So drink tons of water for the weeks leading up to your elopement and during your elopement. Eat a good, protein-packed meal and get plenty of rest. The last thing you want is to cut your elopement short because of altitude sickness!
Let’s Plan Your Brainard Lake Recreation Area Elopement!
This area of Colorado is truly one of our favorite areas in Colorado. It has something for everyone, making it one of the best all-around places to elope. From impressive, expansive mountains to serene alpine lakes with quick access to some of Colorado’s coolest towns, you cannot go wrong when you choose to elope here! Let’s chat and start planning your dream elopement!
Bailee & Jake