NON-TRADITIONAL WEDDING AND ELOPEMENT PHOTOGRAPHER ✶ CO, IL, FL, INFINITY & BEYOND
HENNESSEY PHOTO CO
When Kristen & Kyle reached out to me, they had a few things very specifically that they were looking for: a gorgeous alpine lake, a true, stunning Colorado landscape, and a reasonable hike to the location (since this is something they do on vacation together often!). I didn’t have to dig too hard to find ideas for them: I knew I’d offer them Lake Isabelle as an option, and somehow I knew they’d choose it before I even sent it over to them!
I’ll be honest, this location is actually requested quite a lot, and if I’m being even more honest, there’s been a ton of times where this location just doesn’t work out for folks. This is a harsh, alpine location, and because of that, Lake Isabelle isn’t necessarily the easiest choice for most people, and may not even be right for you when you’re choosing your Colorado elopement location.
Because of the alpine conditions, there’s a few accessibility considerations. First, technically the trail is open all year, but this can be misleading because the closest parking area becomes inaccessible in the winter. From roughly July to October, the road is open to the Long Lake Parking Lot (marked with the X below), whereas in the winter, you’re required to park at the winter parking lot, and must hike up the road itself. This adds about 2 miles each way to the already 3-3.5mi hike each way (a total of 10 miles round trip in the winter). Regardless of milage, this distance is pretty hard to meet during sunlight hours, making the trip pretty tough in the winter unless you’re getting started much before sunrise.
Seasonality makes a huge impact on your Lake Isabelle experience, and because of the high elevation, it can feel like “winter” to an extent well into June. Make sure to plan accordingly with your elopement photographer for the conditions that are ideal for you, and they’ll help you choose the right time of year!
Permits and Regulations:
An elopement at Lake Isabelle itself does not require a permit, but it is in a wilderness area, so there are very specific regulations here to ensure to keep the area safe. Your elopement photographer can walk you through the requirements but at a minimum, group sizes must be kept very small (generally 8 and under total including your photographer and/or videographer), and this is an elopement spot that works best for two-person elopements overall.
Navigating to Lake Isabelle takes a little bit of planning, but your elopement photographer (hi, me) can help you with this! This area is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, and does have parking permit reservations, so you’ll need to plan ahead to snag one and snag the right one, otherwise the wrong parking pass can add miles to your hike.
Lake Isabelle Ceremony Locations
The best part about this alpine lake is that there’s a ton of area to spread out, relax, and enjoy the scenery, and for a Colorado elopement this means that there’s lots of options for privacy! When we get to the lake itself, we’ll pick out the spot that truly feels right for you, and plan your day around how you want to spent your time here!
A few other notes to consider before you choose Lake Isabelle as your elopement location: weather, bugs, and harsh conditions. Keep in mind that because this is a high alpine location, adhering to Leave No Trace principals is extremely important, and that means we can’t just frolic and stomp all these wildflowers–we’ll have to stick to the trail, and be very careful! I have also found that lately, there’s been a ton of mosquitos here, so plan accordingly–even with bug spray, it’s been tough conditions on the years we’ve had great rainfall here in Colorado.
Here’s a look at Kristen & Kyle’s Lake Isabelle Colorado elopement! This gallery was taken in mid-August, and for reference point, our hike took about two hours each way.
COLORADO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER SPECIALIZING IN NON-TRADITIONAL, ALTERNATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE INTROVERTED, OFFBEAT OR NERDY COUPLE. BASED IN NORTHERN COLORADO, ILLINOIS AND FLORIDA. AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE.
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