If you imagine towering mountains, crystal clear lakes, wildlife, and maybe even some snow when you envision your wedding day, then a Lily Lake Colorado wedding might just be perfect for you!
Places to Elope in Rocky Mountain National Park
While there are countless beautiful landscapes in Rocky Mountain National Park for portraits, there are only a limited number of ceremony site options. Among those approved sites is Lily Lake! You can view more ceremony site options on Rocky Mountain National Park’s website. Something to note is that no matter where you decide to have your ceremony, you are still allowed to wander to other locations in the park for portraits before or after!
Some of the benefits of choosing Lily Lake as your ceremony location include its easy accessibility and the fact that it’s wheelchair friendly. And let’s not forget to mention the dock! It brings you right atop the lake where you’re surrounded by snowcapped mountains as you say your vows!
Places to stay in Estes Park
Taryn and Billy chose to stay at this Estes Park Airbnb to get ready before eloping at Lily Lake!
Here are a few more awesome Airbnbs to choose from:
Dog Friendly Rustic Cottage
New Log Cabin
If you prefer to stay in a hotel instead, consider booking a room at the historic Stanley Hotel (famous for it’s appearance in The Shining!).
Best Times to Plan your Lily Lake Colorado Wedding
This particular Lily Lake Colorado wedding took place in the beginning of June. There was snow at higher altitudes, but around Lily Lake and lower altitudes there was plenty of greenery! I recommend planning for early summer if you want a similar setting to these photos.
If you want a snowier setting you could plan for late spring or simply visit a higher altitude for portraits (which is what we did below!)! Fall in Rocky Mountain National Park is stunning as well, and it’s at this time that all of the fields will turn golden (my favorite!). September is a perfect month for this!
All that being said, the weather is pretty unpredictable there so it’s best to plan for different types of weather!
Since the park can get pretty crowded it’s always best to plan for a weekday wedding and to avoid holidays. This will ensure you have a little bit more privacy and fewer onlookers during your ceremony!
Where to go for Portraits
Since you’re already going to be at Lily Lake for your ceremony, you might as well take advantage of the beautiful setting for portraits! This couple did their first look on the bridge along the trail encircling the lake and then took family portraits lakeside, too! Lily Lake is 6.4 miles from Beaver Meadows Visitor Center on Hwy 7 and is at an elevation of 8,930 feet. There is no hiking involved since Lily Lake dock is only a minute’s walk from the parking lot.
The entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park is 6.7 miles from Lily Lake. No hiking is involved. The entrance to the park has views of open fields with mountains in the background! Pictured here in June the grass was green and in fall it’s all golden!
Upper Beaver Meadows is 9.9 miles from Lily Lake and boasts views of open meadows and mountains in the distance.
Bear Lake is 17.3 miles from Lily Lake (10.6 miles from the entrance) and sits at 9,449 feet of elevation. This is a go-to spot because not only is Bear Lake beautiful, but there are THREE other gorgeous lakes that you can hike to from this location! A short 0.6 mile hike will bring you up to Nymph Lake which sits at an elevation of 9,905 feet.
If you want to get some truly epic wedding photos then I recommend hiking up to Dream Lake from there! From Nymph Lake it is a 0.4 mile hike and it’s totally worth it! And if you want to go ever further, Emerald Lake is a 0.7 mile hike from there, ending at an elevation of 10,110 feet. Again, you will have epic views.
Permits for Rocky Mountain National Park
In order to plan your Lily Lake Colorado wedding you will first need to secure a permit from the park. Only a limited number of permits are given per year and they are sold out quick, so make sure to get one ASAP! Permits are $300 and are available up to one year in advance of the month of your wedding date. You can view more detailed instructions and regulations on applying for a wedding permit on Rocky Mountain National Park’s website.
In addition to a wedding permit, all vehicles entering the park will need to pay the regular park entrance fee. There are a few different options here:
- $25 for a one-day pass
- $35 for a seven-day pass
- $80 for an annual America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. (This last option would give you access to more than 2,000 national recreation areas in the United States for one year).
What to Bring with You
As I mentioned above, the weather can be unpredictable so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as possible! Here are a few things I would recommend bringing with you (just in case!):
If you are planning on hiking at all, then I strongly recommend hiking boots! This is especially important if you are getting married anytime other than summer (but honestly, even for summer you should still bring them with you!). Some of the trails are very rocky and when there’s snow on the ground you definitely need the extra stability and grip from hiking boots. If there is going to be a lot of snow then try adding some spikes to your boots for extra traction.
You might be thinking, “I really don’t want to wear spiky looking, bulky hiking boots for my wedding photos!” Don’t worry! You can always change your shoes once we arrive to each photo location 😉
Food & Water
If you’re planning on hiking through the park to take photos make sure to stay hydrated and energized. The best way to do this is to bring plenty of water and snacks! Side note: make sure to store your snacks in a properly sealed bear-proof container while hiking through the park!
It’s always a good idea to bring an umbrella! Specifically, a cute, clear bubble umbrella which will keep you dry and still look great in photos! Also, bringing a rain jacket that will protect you from both wind and rain would be a wise move.
Don’t forget to bring extras layers so that you can bundle up if it’s cold! Even if it’s pretty warm at lower elevations, as you climb in altitude the temperature can change quite a bit!
As someone who has four fur-babies, it pains me to say that unfortunately no pets are allowed in the park. 🙁 This is partly for their own protection since there is wildlife like coyotes, mountain lions, and moose present in the park that could potentially harm your pet! You can view Rocky Mountain National Park’s pet policy in full here!
Words from the Bride
“I’m so glad we chose to elope! The planning was minimal and we got to really enjoy the time with our closest friends and family without the worry, stress, and planning of a big wedding. Getting to experience a new place together and sharing the most special moment of our lives in the most beautiful place I’ve ever been was just a dream. Between the breathtaking mountains and streams, to the wild elk and deer, to the greenery and bits of snow, I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful location or a more perfect day.” – Taryn
This Lily Lake Colorado Wedding was also featured on Rocky Mountain Bride!
For more mountain wedding inspiration check out this foggy Roan Mountain Tennessee Elopement!