twin lakes colorado elopement guide

We’ve put together everything you need to know about having an elopement in Twin Lakes — one of our favorite lake elopement locations in Colorado!

Reasons to Elope at Twin Lakes, Colorado

Colorado has become such an amazing destination for elopements and small weddings over the last few years, and it’s really no surprise. Between being able to legally get married without any witnesses and the amazing variety of locations for ceremonies and portraits of just the two of them, couples love how easy and scenic it is to elope here.

twin lakes kayak elopement

But with the popularity of Colorado for elopements came an overwhelming amount of people crowding many easy-to-get-to locations, like Rocky Mountain National Park and Breckenridge. While we love both of those areas here in the Rockies, we love helping our couples find much quieter spaces to say their vows that still offer stunning mountain views while avoiding the crowds. Twin Lakes is one of those locations. Here are our top reasons we suggest eloping to Twin Lakes:

winter elopement at twin lakes colorado
  1. It’s easy to access — year-round! By easy, we mean it doesn’t require a long hike, nor does it require driving up a 4WD mountain pass road. The main highway to and from Twin Lakes is often really clear and safe to drive even in winter, and you don’t have to walk far at all to be on the shore of the lake itself.
  2. It’s not far from other great mountain towns. With only a 30 minute drive north to Leadville, a 30 minute drive south to Buena Vista, or an hour from ski towns like Breckenridge, Vail, and Copper Mountain, you can easily make a day trip to Twin Lakes for your elopement day and stay overnight in a town with more restaurants and activities if you’d like. During summer, the road west of Twin Lakes (Independence Pass) opens up and you can drive up there for additional portraits, or take the entire pass down into Aspen.
  3. …But it’s far enough away from the hustle-and-bustle of other towns to keep it really quiet, even on weekends. This means you can often feel like you have the whole place to yourselves! Being 3 hours from Denver International Airport helps you avoid the crowds for your elopement day at this location, although there may be other local hikers or people fishing on the lake nearby.
  4. Twin Lakes is a great place for a kayak or canoe elopement. We love any chance we get to be not just by the water but also on the water, and here you can do just that. You can easily rent kayaks or canoes from places like Twin Lakes Canoe & Kayak or Buena Vista Adventure Hub, or rent an inflatable packraft online through Backcountry Packrafts.

    Another thing we love? It’s one of the best spots for us to fly our drones for additional photos and videos from a birds-eye view while you’re on the water!
  5. It’s also great for full-day or two-day elopements when you include another nearby location to the plan. Twin Lakes is a great location to combine with other spots like Independence Pass, Aspen, Cottonwood Pass in Buena Vista, or other hiking trails nearby.
kayak elopement locations colorado drone photo

How to Elope at Twin Lakes

  1. Select a date. As we mentioned before, Twin Lakes is accessible year-round! That said, some seasons may be a better fit for you than others. Our personal favorite time to elope in Twin Lakes is between mid-June to the end of July, when the snow can still often be seen on the peaks but the lakeside is lush, green, and warm enough for picnics and kayaking. Fall is also pretty here from September to October, with aspens changing colors all around the lake, popping off in golds and oranges. If snow is what you’re wanting, you’ll want to aim between December and March, although early snow may come in November. Typically, we avoid elopements in April and May here, since it’s really considered “mud season” after the snow melts but the greenery hasn’t yet returned.
  2. Find your vendors. Our elopement photography + videography team has worked at Twin Lakes for several elopements, so we’re super familiar with the landscape here! As for other wedding vendors, like officiants, chefs, or hair and makeup artists, we typically recommend finding them from nearby areas like Buena Vista, Leadville, or Summit County.
  3. Reserve your lodging. Although you can easily drive in from other areas for the day, we’ll drop some of our top rentals in the Twin Lakes region down below if you want to stay close by.
  4. Obtain any necessary permits. We’ve chatted with the National Forest office who manages the area, and although two-person elopements don’t require any permits, larger gatherings with other guests often do require a special use permit. This is especially the case if you’d like to set up any ceremony arches or decor. Our most recent contact person: Janine Prout, 719-530-6580, janine.l.prout@usda.gov
  5. Get your marriage license. Many couples flying or driving in from out of state want to get an official Colorado marriage license rather than doing the legal paperwork back in your home state. If this is something you’d like to do as well, you’ll want to plan for time on your trip before your elopement day to get your marriage licenses through one of the nearby county offices:

    Lake County (where Twin Lakes + Leadville are)
    Eagle County
    Summit County
    Clear Creek County
    Jefferson County

    Please note: each county may vary in their requirements for appointments in advance versus walk-ins, and several counties have sometimes restricted marriage license applications to local residents only due to Covid-19. You’ll want to contact these counties directly for the most up-to-date information about this.
fall twin lakes elopement photographer

Best Airbnb Rentals Near Twin Lakes

Wolf Den, Twin Lakes

Alpenglow Cabin

Log Cabin with Mountain Views

Mountain Cabin with Hot Tub

The Grizzly Maze

Large Mountain Home for Up to 10 Guests

Quiet Mountain Home with Panoramic Views

Alternatively, you can also camp when the weather’s warm at the following campgrounds:

White Star Campground

Twin Peaks Campground

Lakeview Campground

Dexter Point Campground

Parry Peak Campground

twin lakes elopement photos

Wedding Venues Nearby

Celebrating a larger event but still want to be near Twin Lakes? You can have the best of both worlds with a traditional venue nearby, with a day-before or day-after adventure session at Twin Lakes with us! Here are some great larger wedding venues to reserve in the area:

Barn at Sunset Ranch, Buena Vista

Camp Hale, Leadville

Surf Hotel, Buena Vista

Copper Mountain

FREIGHT, Leadville

Deer Valley Ranch, Nathrop

Still Exploring Other Elopement Location Ideas?

Looking for an Elopement Photographer in Twin Lakes?

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!

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