An elopement or wedding that incorporates hiking is perfect for adventurous couples who want to enjoy a unique and memorable experience together. Let’s explore how you can choose the best hiking elopement location, my favorite spots, what to wear, and more.

elopement couple in a field of flowers with dog
Crested Butte elopement, Among the Pines Photography

As an adventure elopement photographer who also hiked on my elopement day, I love helping couples plan an authentic and fun experience. Below, I’ll share hiking elopement planning tips and helpful ideas for a special day.

What is a hiking elopement?

A hiking-themed wedding or elopement is when you incorporate hiking into your wedding day. Generally, couples hike alone with their photographer, but you might also include guests. You can have your ceremony before, during, or after the hike.

A few ways you might tie hiking into your big day include:

  • Hiking to a beautiful spot to have your ceremony with or without guests
  • Taking a hiking adventure for one or two days, just the two of you creating fun memories and taking lots of photos
  • Going on a hike with loved ones and having your ceremony after (or vice versa)
  • Enjoying a sunrise hike with your partner and having your ceremony later in the day

How to Plan an Incredible Hiking Elopement

Use the tips and resources below to plan and make the most of your elopement hiking adventure.

  • Find an adventure elopement photographer
  • Determine your hiking level
  • Choose your location and date
  • Apply for permits (if needed)
  • Book your trip
  • Write your vows
  • Announce your elopement
  • Get your wedding rings and attire
  • Pack appropriately
  • Enjoy your hiking elopement

Find an Adventure Elopement Photographer

Whether you’re a new or experienced hiker, having an adventure elopement photographer by your side throughout the planning process can help you have the perfect wedding day. Of course, you’ll also want a photographer to take pictures of your adventure elopement!

As an elopement photographer, I’ve worked with many couples to help them plan and execute their hiking elopement. I help them find their dream location, plan the perfect experience, and capture all the special moments on their big day.


Determine Your Hiking Level

Not only do you need to determine your everyday hiking level, but you’ll also want to consider how much hiking you actually want to do on your elopement day. Between getting ready, taking photos, exchanging your vows, and celebrating with your love, you don’t want to overdo it. 

You can do a simple hike somewhere with beautiful scenery, spend most of the day hiking, or plan a multi-day elopement adventure. Remember, eloping is all about an authentic and enjoyable experience for you and your partner!

When I work with couples planning a hiking-themed wedding, I recommend planning for three miles or less, depending on your hiking experience and how you want your day to look. Up to three miles of hiking is ideal for enjoying a good time, seeing amazing views, and taking photos without getting too sweaty. You can even hiking in your wedding attire if you’d like!

Choose Your Location

Once you know how much hiking you want to do, you can choose your location and date.

When picking your location, you’ll want to consider the scenery you’re looking for (e.g., mountains, waterfalls, forests, lakes, etc.). 

couple hiking in Crested Butte for elopement
Crested Butte elopement, Among the Pines Photography

While there are countless hiking elopement locations, some of the best places are:

  • Olympic National Park, WA – A massive national park with trails that wind through rainforests and along the Pacific coastline
  • Mount Rainier National Park, WA – A Washington state reserve with an active volcano, stunning mountain viewpoints, and wildflower fields during summer
  • Lake Isabelle, CO – One of Colorado’s best and most beautiful hiking areas next to a stunning lake
  • Crested Butte, CO – A charming mountain town ideal for adventurous couples who enjoy hiking, camping, and kayaking
  • San Juan Mountains, Ouray, CO – Known as the Switzerland of America, with stunning mountain scenery
  • Grand Teton National Park, WY – A breathtaking national park with diverse landscapes, including lakes, rivers, forests, and valleys
  • Pisgah National Forest, NC – An incredible national forest in the Appalachian Mountains with waterfalls and hundreds of miles of hiking trails

Contact Among the Pines Photography (that’s me!) if you want help finding the perfect location for your elopement hiking adventure.

Choose Your Date

When planning the date for your wedding, you’ll want to consider your schedule, weather, and peak vs. low seasons.

To best coordinate your schedule, I recommend planning your elopement at least 6 to 12 months in advance. This also gives you plenty of time to plan the logistics without too much stress, which is something I help couples with for a smooth process.

You’ll also want to research weather trends and peak vs. low seasons in the location you choose. If you’re hoping to plan an affordable elopement, it’s best to elope during the low season for budget-friendly accommodation and travel expenses.

Apply for Permits (if needed)

While some hiking elopement locations don’t require a permit, others do. You can do research, or your photographer can help you understand permit requirements for various locations. Most permits for elopements or intimate ceremonies are $0 to $300.

Book Your Trip

When you have your location and date ironed out, you can book your trip. You may want to fly, depending on how far you’re traveling. I recommend looking at Google Flights to find the best deals and dates. It’s best to be flexible with flight travel days for the most reasonable costs. 

If you aren’t driving, you may need to rent a car. You can usually do this at the airport, and I suggest booking a car rental beforehand.

Once you know which dates you’re traveling to and from your elopement location, you can book your accommodation. With my elopement packages, I offer advice on finding the most affordable flights and an Airbnb recommendation list. You might also use if you prefer a hotel.

Write Your Vows

If you plan to exchange personalized vows, you’ll want to write them before your elopement adventure. My husband and I went to a coffee shop together and wrote our vows, and it was an incredibly special experience. 

Here are some tips for writing your elopement vows:

  • Write them when you’re ready
  • Keep them a secret or write them together 
  • Take notes on special memories and commitments before you start writing
  • Be cheesy or serious – whatever your vibe is!
  • Use a vow book
  • Speak directly to your partner
  • Be yourself
  • Practice saying your vows
couple exchanging vows in front of Lake Isabelle
Lake Isabelle elopement, Among the Pines Photography

Announce Your Elopement

When you’re ready, you can announce your elopement. You might do this before your big day or after. It’s entirely up to you!

Ways you might announce your elopement and celebrate with loved ones include:

  • Sharing it on social media and/or sending out announcements
  • Letting friends and family help you plan
  • Sending pictures after the ceremony
  • Having an engagement party before or a reception after

Get Your Wedding Rings and Attire

As you get closer to your elopement, it’s time to get your rings and attire. The fun part about eloping is that you can enjoy a day that’s entirely about you and your partner. Your rings and attire can be whatever you want.

Some couples who elope exchange traditional wedding bands, while others go for a unique, silicone, or even tattooed ring. Go for a style and price range that best suits you!

As for attire, you’ll want to consider the look you’re going for, whether that be minimal, adventurous, boho, or something else. Since you’re planning a hiking elopement, comfort is also something to consider. I recommend planning outfits that can also include a jacket and hiking shoes for various weather and trail conditions.

Pack Appropriately

Before you head off for your hiking elopement adventure, you need to ensure you pack appropriately.

Here are some things to pack for your wedding day hike:

  • Your wedding outfit
  • A comfortable outfit
  • Hiking shoes
  • A few pairs of socks
  • Other shoes for pictures if you’d like
  • A jacket, preferably a rain jacket
  • Hairbrush and other hair accessories
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • A day backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks

If your dog is joining you for your elopement, you’ll also want to bring their water bowl, extra water, a leash, and poop bags.

Enjoy Your Hiking Elopement

When you’ve finally made it to the big day, it’s time to fully enjoy the start of an exciting chapter in your life. What I most love about elopements is that the experience can be entirely about you and your partner.

Here are some tips for making the most of your elopement day:

  • Work with a photographer who can help guide you and capture authentic moments
  • Plan for special activities throughout the day (e.g., grab coffee together, share a first look, have a first dance, etc.)
  • Be flexible, as hiking elopements can throw curveballs like unexpected weather or crowded trails
  • Wear an outfit you love, but also keep comfort in mind
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles to respect and preserve natural beauty and others enjoying it
  • Embrace spontaneous moments, which can make for some of the best memories
Couple posing in Crested Butte for hiking elopement
Crested Butte elopement, Among the Pines Photography

Let’s Plan and Capture Your Hiking Elopement

If you’re ready to start planning your hiking-themed wedding, I’d love to help! I’m a Colorado-based adventure photographer who loves to travel and help couples enjoy their perfect elopement experience. 

All of my elopement packages include:

  • Location scouting
  • Timeline planning
  • 100-page elopement guide
  • Custom online gallery with all-edited images
  • Sneak peek photos
  • Rights to printing

Client Praise

kinsley + caden

“Brooke was the perfect choice for our wedding day! We had a micro wedding at Sapphire Point in August. I had never been to Sapphire Point and Brooke was so helpful suggesting vendors, picture locations, parking, marriage license info etc. She was so kind and helpful before and during the whole process and was a large part of why the day went so smooth. She does so much more than just show up and take pictures, Brooke will truly go out of her way to make your wedding day perfect! The photos are gorgeous and I keep getting so many compliments! I truly cannot recommend her enough!”

"Brooke was a large part of why our day went so smooth and will truly go out of her way to make your wedding day perfect!"

We chose Brooke to capture our Colorado elopement and she did exactly that and more. She made it easy to plan our day out with locations and timelines so that we could focus on ourselves. We decided last minute to change our afternoon/evening elopement to a 6am sunrise one so beat the heat of the day. Brooke accommodated us without hesitation and even created a new timeline for us so that we knew where to be for the perfect sunrise. She was kind and understood what we wanted in terms of our elopement and we are so grateful to have her capture the day. Our photos turned out beautiful and truly helped us relive the day. I would recommend Brooke to anyone wanting their special day photographed.

"Brooke accommodated us without hesitation and even created a new timeline for us so that we knew where to be for the perfect sunrise."

erica + stacy

kirstie + colin

Brooke not only photographed our mountain elopement beautifully, but she put so much thought into the details and knew all of the answers the questions I didn’t even know to ask. She really puts a lot of thought into each photo and brings her expertise while still remaining very open to what we wanted and ideas we had. She even helped pick the perfect spot for us and advised us on the logistical details like securing a reservation at the mountain lake where we wanted our ceremony. She is SO easy to work with and very friendly and chill. My husband and I are super awkward in front of a camera but she made it so natural and easy - and the shots came out better than we could have imagined.

"She really puts a lot of thought into each photo and brings her expertise while still remaining very open to what we wanted and ideas we had."

amanda + jace

Brooke is many things; talented, calm, flexible, experienced/ knowledgeable, patient, incredibly responsive, organized, resourceful in a pinch, supportive, creative, professional yet a blast to work with, and goes above & beyond w her clients. Our wedding was a spectacular dream and we couldn't be more grateful that she made that single day last forever. Whether she's photographing nature or an intimate event, her pictures tell a story of peace, love, whatever your vision may be. We couldn't recommend her more and we look forward to booking with her for all of our vow renewals, seasonal and family pictures for as long as she'll have us.

"Whether she's photographing nature or an intimate event, her pictures tell a story of peace, love, whatever your vision may be."

linden + brent

Working with Brooke was a dream come true! Before we even met, my husband Brent and I were impressed by her portfolio. After meeting, we were even more convinced that her photography skills and knowledge, and her fun and easygoing personality were exactly what we were looking for in an elopement photographer. Brooke was able to take our vision and facilitate everything so that it worked out beautifully, especially when it came to finding the perfect location (the incredible mountains surrounding Ouray). Throughout the entire planning process, she was honest and flexible, and made it clear that her goal was for us to be 100% happy. In the end, her creativity and our happiness totally shine through in every single photo.

"Throughout the entire planning process, she was honest and flexible."

lauren + branden

I can't begin to express my gratitude for the intimacy and beauty behind Brooke's photographs. In capturing our wedding day, she went above and beyond to document our story, our families, and the depths of our love in ways that I'll forever be grateful for. Brooke has an eye for not only capturing the adventure and magic of your love, but deeply connects with your personal story, understands your relationship, and then gives that back in the most incredible way. She is truly an artist and tells your story in an authentic and creative way for you to look back on for years to come. We are forever grateful to Brooke for spending the time to get to know us, our story, and capturing the memories that we'll relive for years to come.

"Brooke deeply connects with your personal story, understands your relationship, and then gives that back in the most incredible way."

heather + jedd

“If you're contemplating which photographer to go with, THIS IS YOUR SIGN TO CHOOSE BROOKE!!!! She is so so so talented and was able to capture our elopement exactly how I pictured and wanted! We eloped in Ridgway, CO this past September and she was so helpful figuring out picture locations, recommendations of timeline for the day, and just made the whole day feel so smooth. She schedules multiple check ins, phone calls, etc., leading up to the big day to ensure everything is as you want it. Brooke has such a calming, down to earth presence and is one of those awesome people you feel like you've known forever after just the first time of meeting."

"Brooke has such a calming, down to earth presence and is one of those awesome people you feel like you've known forever."

christy + austin

Brooke is the absolute best. She truly went above and beyond for my fiancé and I to be able to get our engagement photos taken with the fall colors. Brooke is so sweet, fun, personable and incredibly talented. We could not be more in love with our engagement photos! Our engagement session with Brooke was such a special experience and a memory we will cherish forever.

"Our engagement session with Brooke was such a special experience and a memory we will cherish forever."

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