Here are all the details on cost, ceremony locations, and time of the year to consider if you want to elope at Grand Lake. All of the Grand Lake elopement locations that I recommend are great year-round.
One of my favorite secret spots to elope at is Grand Lake. Grand Lake is a subalpine lake located near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, located east of the continental divide. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of my favorite places in the world to photograph elopements, because it’s just so iconic to Colorado. There are so many incredible things to see and do. I can’t imagine a more picturesque place to celebrate your marriage.
Grand Lake is a hidden gem in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and a fantastic place to elope. There are less than 500 residents in this tiny mountain town. It’s a 2-hour drive from Denver – and only 45 minutes from the popular town of Winter Park. At an elevation of 8,369 feet, Grand Lake gets chilly at night (even in the summer months!), but you get the best of all seasons in this mountain town. There’s always fun things to do in Grand Lake that could coincide with your wedding, including festivals, outdoor recreation, lake activities and so much more!
More reasons to consider eloping in Grand Lake?
The truth is, Grand Lake is gorgeous year-round. There really is not a ‘bad’ month for your Grand Lake elopement. But, there are many things to consider about what the best time of year is like the temperature and landscape you’re hoping for.
If you’d like a wintery elopement, I would recommend December, January or February because these are the months most likely to have snow.
If you’d like slightly warmer temperatures at lower altitudes with snowy peaks in the distance, March is your best bet.
If you’re thinking of April or May for your wedding date, we here in Colorado call those ‘mud months’ because the temperatures are rising and the snow is melting off. Don’t let it scare you though – it can still be snowy or it can be warm and very spring-like. These are the most unpredictable months weather-wise for the entire year.
June is the busiest summer for weddings, and for good reason: the weather is generally pretty amazing. However, that also means it’s one of the busiest times of the year for elopements in Grand Lake so if you’re considering a June date, you’ll want to book that date far in advance and not leave it to the last minute!
The summer months of July and August are my favorite, mostly because it’s nice and warm in the mountains but not so hot as it can be in the lower altitude. The wildflowers are incredible, and it’s very green everywhere. If you do better in warmer temperatures without much risk of snow, July and August are the best months to elope at Grand Lake.
September is the busiest month for weddings in Colorado. The leaves usually start to turn those gorgeous yellow and orange colors around the middle of the month, and usually last 2-3 weeks. Our fall is very brief, but it is absolutely beautiful. Because it’s so busy for weddings in September, I strongly recommend considering a sunrise elopement to lessen the chances of crowds!
October is another up-in-the-air month for weather; I’ve seen it blizzard in October and there’s been days where it’s been so hot outside you want the air conditioner! Usually by the middle of October, we have seen the first snowfall of the season in the higher elevations, like at Grand Lake, and the gorgeous fall colors have gone.
And finally, November is another month that can be warm(ish) or snowy; lately, it seems as though a lot of the elopements I’ve had in November have seen an abundance of snow, but it’s not always a guarantee.
One of the important things to consider when planning your Grand Lake elopement is your privacy. There are over 4.5 million visitors every year coming to experience Rocky Mountain National Park and many of them stay in towns like Dream Lake. Peak visitor season for the Park is June through September, which July being the busiest month; however, winter months are full of visitors too, hoping to catch a glimpse of some winter magic.
What does that mean for you? If you are planning a destination wedding ceremony at Grand Lake, you should plan to hold your elopement on a weekday. While you are likely not to be completely alone during your elopement, this will guarantee the most privacy. Some of the Dream Lake elopement locations are much more private than others, especially if we go hiking for an adventure elopement.
While you can’t have your ceremony there, per the park rules, we can certainly adventure together there for photos! It’s not very far from Grand Lake, and absolutely worth the views.
This is where my friends Dominika and Govind had their lakeside ceremony, and it was amazing. It is free to rent and has views of iconic Mt. Baldy!
If you don’t want to have your ceremony at Grand Lake itself, I’d recommend looking at AirBnB’s in the area or larger Grand Lake rental VRBO homes that are great for up to 30 guests. This is a great idea if you want to include family in your elopement!
One of my favorite spots is the Grand Lake Lodge, which is on the National Register for Historic Places in Colorado. There are 70 cabins available, a tavern onsite and you will find yourself surrounded by lake and mountain views that exude the rejuvenating beauty found only in the heart of Colorado!
And for you adventure elopement couples, how about snowmobiling? I absolutely love to go snowmobiling in the winter and have been searching for the perfect couple to take with me to Gravel Mountain for a snowmobile engagement. Alternatively, we can snowshoe hike in the winter or regular hike in the summer!
My favorite local restaurants near Grand Lake are:
I am thrilled to share with you a few of my favorite tried-and-true vendors that are local for your Grand Lake elopement!
Meet Larissa. Larissa is an adventure wedding and elopement photographer based out of Colorado. She’d take an adventure in the mountains over shopping any day. Larissa prefers and date night snuggling on the couch over dinner and a movie. Larissa’s obsessed with: morning snuggles with her rescue pup, Hazel, hot chocolate, a good book and yoga pants. She believes in making you forget a camera’s even there, that your story is the actual thing she wants to capture on camera and that real, raw moments are more important than perfectly curated poses. Book your Colorado elopement photographer today!