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Lake Isabelle Brainard Lake Nederland Colorado Hiking Adventure Elopement Photography

 

Karen & Matt

Karen and Matt originally wanted to elope at a high alpine lake inside Rocky Mountain National Park—which sadly they were unable to do after Rocky Mountain National Park recently changed their rules for elopements. So as their elopement guides, we shared our list of amazing high alpine lake options outside of RMNP, and they fell in LOVE with this incredible location—and it ended up being better than they could have ever imagined. The road to this lake was actually going to be closed for construction for their date, which would have made this lake a 20-mile round trip hike. However, we were able to sweet talk a super nice construction guy into giving us the code to get through the gate—giving us private access to this incredible location. There was literally not a soul up there. We didn’t see anyone at the lake, or on the trail on the way up or way down. I’ve never done a hiking elopement where I didn’t see a single soul the entire day. Usually you’ll get a trail to yourself for a little bit, especially at sunrise—but Karen and Matt’s high alpine lake elopement in the Indian Peaks Wilderness is also probably the only elopement that I’ve done where a couple has been completely and totally alone the whole day.

We started up the high alpine mountain lake before dawn, wearing our headlamps. Karen and Matt were wearing their hiking clothes for the ascent. There was still a considerable amount of snow on the trail so hiked our way through huge snow drifts. We arrived at lake at the perfect time for some absolutely stunning alpenglow—this lake in particular has some of the most beautiful alpenglow I’ve ever seen. I helped Karen change into her wedding dress and set up a first look for her and Matt. It was truly magical to witness Karen and Matt seeing each other for the first time with the alpenglow behind them on the lake—so many emotions & tears for all 3 of us.

Once the sun rose a little higher and it warmed up a little bit more, Karen and Matt said their vows overlooking the lake, and the glacier behind it—just the two of them at sunrise. At a two person elopement, it is really incredible to be able to say whatever you want to say to partner in your vows. Karen and Matt definitely took advantage of that and wrote beautiful personal vows to each other that came from the heart. They popped open a big bottle of champagne and had a croissant for breakfast. We explored around the lake, taking photos just the two of them. They hiked down in their wedding clothes and we stopped every so often to admire the big roaring streams on the way because of the snow storms. It was so odd and eerie to not see a single human being the entire time we were on the trail. It was awe inspiring.

It really never stops feeling like an amazing honor to be a part of a two person elopement, to be the only person that gets to witness a couple’s vows as they commit their lives to each other when people who’ve known them their whole lives and are very involved in their lives aren’t privileged enough to be there. I definitely feel very honored every time I get to be a part of a two person elopement. That’s the kind of elopement I want to have and I’m glad Karen and Matt were able to have that.

xx Maddie Mae

 Karen and Matt started their adventure elopement day before sunrise so they could hike to the top of Lake Isabelle outside Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Starting before dawn, Karen and Matt make their way up the trail for Lake Isabelle, a high alpine lake outside Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt originally wanted to elope at Rocky Mountain National Park but RMNP doesn’t allow hiking elopements anymore. So they settled on Lake Isabelle. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Headlamps provided much of the light as we hiked before dawn for Karen and Matt’s adventure elopement wedding in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen carries her bouquet on her back for her adventure elopement with Matt as they hike up to Lake Isabelle before dawn. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Massive snow fields and snow drifts met us at the top of Lake Isabelle in Nederland, Colorado, outside Boulder Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The mountains above Lake Isabelle glow before dawn. Alpenglow makes mountains glow pink, which is a beautiful backdrop for an adventure hiking elopement. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Matt waits for his first look of his bride as the alpenglow makes the mountains behind Lake Isabelle glow pink before their adventure elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt chose to do their first look for their adventure elopement ceremony with the mountains above Lake Isabelle in Nederland, Colorado behind them, glowing pink with alpenglow. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Matt and Karen’s first look for their adventure hiking elopement outside Nederland, Colorado was beautiful with mountains glowing pink with alpenglow behind them. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 It’s possible to have a first look ceremony during your adventure hiking elopement. Karen and Matt brought their wedding clothes up the mountain to Lake Isabelle on their backs. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The mountains behind Lake Isabelle glow pink in the early morning dawn hour before Karen and Matt’s adventure hiking elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt chose Lake Isabelle, a high alpine lake outside Nederland, Colorado as their back up adventure elopement location after Rocky Mountain National Park changed their elopement rules. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The wind blows at the top of Lake Isabelle, above Brainard Lake, outside Nederland, Colorado for Karen and Matt’s high alpine lake adventure elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt say their vows during their self solemnizing adventure elopement ceremony with snowy mountain peaks behind them. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt read vows to each other during their private self solemnizing adventure elopement wedding ceremony at the top of Lake Isabelle, a high alpine lake above Brainard Lake outside Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 As the sun starts to rise above Lake Isabelle in Nederland, Colorado, Karen and Matt read their vows to each other during their private self solemnizing adventure elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 As the high alpine wind blows around them, Karen and Matt read their vows during their adventure elopement ceremony at the top of Lake Isabelle, above Brainard Lake in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen’s dress blows as she reads her vows during their self solemnizing elopement wedding ceremony at the top of Lake Isabelle in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt seal their high alpine lake elopement with a kiss after they hiked to the top of Lake Isabelle outside Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt celebrate their high alpine lake hiking adventure elopement ceremony at the top of Lake Isabelle outside Nederland Colorado by spraying a bottle of champagne. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Matt and Karen share a glass of champagne to celebrate after their self solemnizing hiking elopement ceremony in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt embrace at the top of Lake Isabelle following their adventure elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt hiked to the top of Lake Isabelle, outside Nederland, Colorado so they could have a high alpine lake elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Snowy mountain peaks of Nederland, Colorado behind them, Karen and Matt embrace after their high alpine lake elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Although their first location of Rocky Mountain National Park didn’t work for a high alpine lake elopement ceremony, Karen and Matt were able to use Lake Isabelle outside Nederland, Colorado as a back up. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt embrace following their Lake Isabelle elopement ceremony outside Nederland, Colorado. They chose to hike to their self solemnizing ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt spin after their high alpine lake elopement ceremony outside Nederland, Colorado. They hiked to the top of Lake Isabelle for their self solemnizing ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The snowy peaks of Nederland, Colorado look like the Swiss Alps as Karen and Matt embrace following their high alpine lake elopement ceremony at Lake Isabelle. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Matt dips his new bride Karen following their high alpine lake elopement ceremony outside Lake Isabelle, above Brainard Lake in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The snowy mountains of early spring and summer in the Colorado Rocky Mountains are behind Karen and Matt as they embrace following their high alpine lake elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt wanted to elope at Rocky Mountain National Park but weren’t able to have the high alpine lake hiking elopement ceremony of their dreams. Lake Isabelle outside Nederland, Colorado was a great back up location! Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt embrace following their high alpine lake elopement ceremony at Lake Isabelle, outside Nederland and Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Following their high alpine lake self solemnizing elopement ceremony at Lake Isabelle, Karen and Matt embrace on the edge of the lake. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt begin to hike back down the trail at Lake Isabelle following their high alpine lake elopement ceremony in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt kiss in a snow field at the top of Lake Isabelle, in Nederland, Colorado following their high alpine lake elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Carrying everything they need for their elopement wedding ceremony on their backs, Karen and Matt begin the hike back down from Lake Isabelle. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt embrace after they said their vows during a private self solemnizing elopement ceremony at Lake Isabelle, in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt explore the snowy shores of Lake Isabelle outside Nederland, Colorado following their high alpine lake hiking elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt embrace following their high alpine lake elopement ceremony on the shores of Lake Isabelle in Nederland, Colorado in the early morning hours. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 The rocky shores of Lake Isabelle, a high alpine lake outside Nederland, Colorado, are behind Karen and Matt as they hike and explore following their adventure elopement ceremony. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
 Karen and Matt begin the hike down following their high alpine adventure lake elopement ceremony in Nederland, Colorado. Photo by Adventure Instead, Maddie Mae.
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We're Maddie Mae, Amber, & Tori. We are adventurous elopement photographers & guides based in Colorado that travel worldwide to help fearless couples like you create your unforgettable, wildly different wedding experience—that is completely yours.

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