Kelley & Dan love to backpack & camp, & they weren’t afraid of a decent amount of hiking for their elopement day in Silverton. I mentioned the San Juan Mountains on one of my first calls with them & the area really piqued their interest. Their first thought was Rocky Mountain National Park for a hiking elopement. But then they realized they’d like a location a little more secluded with fewer people.
After Kelley & Dan described more about what they wanted from their elopement day, I just knew that they’d love the San Juans & the Silverton area. Silverton has some of my all-time favorite locations for elopements in the mountains of Colorado. There are so many hidden gems, a ton of alpine lakes, crazy epic mountains, beautiful waterfalls, cool ghost towns, relaxing hot springs, some of the best Jeep trails, & can you tell I just love the Silverton area?! So yeah, I highly highly recommend elopements in Silverton.
Hiking Up in the Moon Light
Kelley & Dan eloped in early September which is technically still summer. But in Colorado, it can snow at any time of year at higher elevations. We actually had to push their elopement back a couple of days because it was basically a blizzard during their originally planned elopement day! Silverton is at a high elevation & the mountains surrounding it are at even higher elevations. The good thing about elopements is that you do have the freedom & flexibility of rescheduling (to an extent). I always recommend having a couple of “buffer days” before & after your elopement because of weather related events.
Kelley, Dan, & their dog Luna camped at a location just down from the lakes we’d be hiking to. If you like to camp, camping can allow you to stay even closer to certain elopement locations. But it may mean not having access to things like showers or reliable power. We had to start early for their elopement in Silverton to reach the mountain tops before sunrise. It was also cold due to the front moving in & the snow we had just got. We started hiking around 2:30am & hiked by the moonlight & our headlamps. Being able to be out so early also enabled us to get some really amazing views of the stars as well!
Elopement Ceremony Near Silverton at Sunrise
Kelley & Dan had each written vows to read to each other. The sunrise was like nothing I had ever seen. The mountains were right there behind them & the alpenglow on the mountains reflected back down onto the lake making it appear shades of pastel pinks & blues. Luna was right their as a witness to their little elopement ceremony. It was only about 15ºF or so at sunrise, but dressing in the right layers under your dress clothes can definitely help! Kelley wore some skin-toned leggings & Dan was able to wear thermal layers under his suit. They both wore warm hiking boots & good wool socks can definitely make a difference! I also just love how Dan high-fived Luna right after their ceremony!
Hiking Around the Lakes of Silverton & the San Juan Mountains
After their ceremony, Kelley & Dan wanted to hike around to some other lakes in the area. Silverton just has so many lakes with epic mountain views, you’ll just want to explore as many as you can! This hike is definitely not for everyone. The hike is long with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Parts of it require a little bit of scrambling & there are a lot of stream crossings. This is not an elopement location near Silverton that I recommend to everyone but I knew Kelley & Dan were experienced with hiking, backpacking, being at high altitudes, & physical exertion.
If you’re looking at Silverton for an elopement but aren’t sure about doing such a tough hike, there are definitely other options out there such as easier hikes & 4WD roads. Each couple I work with gets a personalized elopement location list so you can choose the locations you want!
Luna decided that (even though it was barely above freezing) it was a great time for a swim! She was pretty excited to be in the water. After exploring around the mountains & different alpine lakes, we went back to their campsite & Kelley & Dan relaxed a bit & had a couple of celebratory drinks.