UPDATE AS OF JULY 2023: The White River National Forest has provided new information about this area in a document online here, which states that the area surrounding the lakes is privately owned and does not allow weddings and elopements. The information in this post below is no longer current. However, our team does have several other fantastic backup options available in the Breckenridge and Summit County areas! Contact us to start the planning process for more secluded, scenic options that do allow weddings and elopements.
Our elopement photography and videography team is lucky enough to visit Breckenridge pretty often, and one of our favorite spots in the area for ceremonies is Blue Lakes!
Whether you’ve been to Blue Lakes before or you’ve just stumbled across the location online during your elopement planning research, we’ve pulled together some important details every couple should know before eloping here.
Get all the details on reasons to elope in Breckenridge, how to elope at Blue Lakes, and see sample photos/videos of past elopements at this scenic place below!
Reasons to Elope at Blue Lakes
1. The Scenery – For couples who truly don’t want to settle for just one type of landscape, Blue Lakes is a great fit. Here you’ll find a beautiful mix of mountain, lake, and forest views (even with a small waterfall!). You might even see a few mountain goats, which we’ve spotted more than once in this location!
2. Accessibility – The drive from the heart of Breckenridge to Blue Lakes is only 20-30 minutes. However, you need to know this highly depends on recent weather, road closures, and any upcoming adjustments the Forest Service plans to make (super important to know, since they are currently talking about restricting access here in the future). And although it’s not far of a drive, high-clearance 4WD vehicles are often required here.
3. Beautiful Summer + Fall Seasons – If you are used to hiking in the snow with spikes or snowshoes, technically you could even access this location even in the middle of winter when Blue Lakes Road is closed (although be warned: there can be brutal conditions from as early as October through as late as May).
Our favorite times of year here are summer and fall, since that’s when it’s often accessible by 4WD. Spring (April through late May) can be really hit or miss in high elevations of Colorado, often due to “mud season” and unpredictable late spring snowstorms.
4. Dog-Friendly – Blue Lakes is a dog-friendly area as long as your furry family member stays on a leash. You’ll also want to be aware of the mountain goats in the area, so be sure to keep your pup(s) a safe distance away to avoid any animal conflicts. If you plan to bring your dog(s) along for the adventure, check out our dog-friendly elopement guide!
5. Activities are Endless – Breckenridge (and Summit County) has pretty much everything you could ever dream up for an adventure elopement day or weekend. From skiing and snowmobiling in winter to hiking, biking, kayaking and more in the summer, you’ll pretty much never be bored here.
How to Elope at Blue Lakes in Breckenridge
1. Get the latest info about access and permits. *** UPDATE: As of July 2023, elopements and weddings are no longer permitted at Blue Lakes.
Our honest opinion? The safest bet (especially for anyone planning several months in advance and/or inviting guests to join them) is to plan to have your ceremony elsewhere, and plan to only take portraits in this area.
So, if you’re eloping just the two of you, be sure to have a Plan B location nearby for your ceremony + portraits as a great backup option. If you’re bringing guests, find another location better suited for larger groups that you can reserve in advance, and opt for portraits here instead.
2. Select a date. When the forest service does open the road for the season, it’s usually open around early or mid-June through early October. The open and closure dates will highly depend on weather, so it’s often best to aim for late June through mid September here. This does mean that for at least half of the year (generally October through May) Blue Lakes Road is closed.
If you need help deciding on a date, feel free to reach out to us to help you decide! July is one of our favorite months for high-alpine elopements when everything is super green, and September is a popular month for fall elopements when the leaves change color.
3. Find your vendors. Our elopement photography + videography team has worked at Blue Lakes before, so we’re pretty familiar with the best spots in the area for portraits! As for other wedding vendors – like officiants, musicians, hair/makeup artists, etc. – you’ll want to focus on ones that either live in Breckenridge/Summit County or travel to the area often.
4. Reserve lodging. There are tons of amazing places to stay along Blue River (the closest neighborhood to Blue Lakes) and in the town of Breckenridge. We’ve even had couples stay in Alma (just south of Hoosier Pass), or drive in from other nearby areas like Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne, and Keystone.
5. Get your marriage license. In the state of Colorado, you don’t need any other witnesses or even an officiant to sign your marriage license at all. If you bring your pup along for the trip, you could even have them sign a paw-print as a witness for you!
Summit County is the closest option for marriage licenses, but ever since the pandemic began, they have been more restrictive about appointments than other nearby counties. Be sure to reach out to them at least 30 days in advance for the most up-to-date information, and/or head over to a nearby office like Park, Clear Creek, or Eagle County.
Best Places to Stay Near Blue Lakes
Here are a few of our favorite overnight rentals in the area:
And here are some of the best hotels + resorts nearby:
Blue Lakes Elopement Photos + Videos
Take a look at a handful of our past elopements at Blue Lakes to give you some ideas!
A Summertime Elopement
This past summer we had our full photo and video team capture Stephanie + Andrew’s special day with Stephanie’s son at Blue Lakes in Breckenridge. We loved how they integrated her son into Andrew’s vows, and they had quite the epic light saber battle at the end with him! 🙂
Here’s their Breckenridge elopement highlight video:
You can also check out their full elopement photo gallery online here.
Blue Lakes Elopement in Fall with Snow!
Allison + Trevor brought their closest family members to join them on their elopement day, and despite the freezing temps and snow storm blowing through, we got some truly stunning fall photographs with them. They ended the day with an intimate reception with first dances, cake, dinner and drinks at a fantastic rental home in Alma, and we were honored to be a part of it.
Jordan + Garett’s Fall Elopement
We met them at a cute rental house just down the street from the trail, where we captured some adorable details (like their “we eloped” sign!), their first look and a surprise gift for Garett. Jordan wanted to gift him a wall canvas print of the place they were going to say their vows, so I captured one for them in advance of the day and brought it with me. He was definitely surprised, and now it’s looking amazing hanging inside their home! <3
Garett also had a surprise up his sleeve, too: a necklace for Alexis (Jordan’s daughter) that matched Jordan’s rings pretty well. Made us all tear up! <3 Alexis also played the role of officiating their ceremony at the top of the mountain. We spent the rest of the evening exploring everything this gorgeous area near Breckenridge has to offer.
Another Fall Elopement in Breckenridge
Amy + Daniel celebrated their elopement ceremony at Blue Lakes as well, and we loved capturing this video for them.
Breckenridge Elopement Photographer
Skyewater Photo + Film is an adventure elopement and destination wedding photo and video team based in Colorado. We help couples plan elopements all over the US, and offer insight for more than just photography: from planning assistance, finding and booking locations, vendor references and more! Reach out to our elopement photography and videography team today to get more info!