There's really nothing that compares to the experience of a hiking elopement.

We met at a trailhead at 2am in almost total darkness, and started hiking up—led only by the light of our headlamps and the moon and the stars. It's an amazing feeling to have an entire trail to yourself before sunrise—the quiet of the night broken only by the sounds of a rushing creek, a few insects chirping, and the wind through the trees. But the rest of the busy world that we all live in was still asleep.

After reaching the destination of our almost 6-mile hike just before dawn, I got this feeling inside of me that what we were about to experience would be unforgettable. As we had hiked up, our clear night had turned into a bit of a foggy morning with a lot of cloud cover. Sarah & Justin exchanged their hiking clothes for wedding clothes, and got ready by the soft pre-dawn light of the sky.

And then, right at sunrise, the clouds gently lifted off the lake, and the morning sun turned the entire mountain backdrop a vivid pink. It was the most ideal and stunning example of alpenglow that I have ever seen—as a hiker and a photographer. The perfectly still lake reflected Sarah & Justin like a mirror as they walked out to a rocky point in the water and prepared to say their vows. As they slipped each other's rings on their fingers, and sealed their commitment to each other, it felt like the whole world was standing still. It was instant in time when an elopement gets super real—that overwhelming feeling of "It's actually happening. I'm getting married. I get to spend the rest of my days with the love of my life." This moment takes my breath away each time. 

I will absolutely never forget this incredible sunrise with these two amazing humans. I can't explain how honored I feel to get to be a part of a self-solemnizing hiking elopement. It blows my mind each time that I am the only person blessed to witness a couple commit their lives to each other—especially in a dream-like destination that we have all to ourselves at sunrise.

I often hike 12-15 miles with couples to say their vows somewhere incredible on their wedding day. Colorado is one of 4 states where you don't need an officiant to legally get married—and can "self-solemnize." I can't think of a better way to start the adventure of the rest of your lives together. 

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park
Dress: Reformation

 Starting at the trailhead well before dawn, Sarah and Justin began their intimate hiking elopement through Rocky Mountain National Park by the light of the moon. This adventurous elopement photographed by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Taking the fork in the road towards Loch Vale, Sarah & Justin hiked in the dark of night through Rocky Mountain National Park with their adventurous wedding photographer Maddie Mae to capture their elopement at sunrise.
 By the light of the stars, headlamps and a flashlight they made their way through the mixed high alpine terrain of Rocky Mountain National Park for their intimate elopement. Photos by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 As they reached Loch Vale the sun was just starting to rise, lighting up the Colorado Rockies with that infamous pink alpine glow. This intimate hiking elopement through Rocky Mountain National Park captured by wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Changing out of their hiking clothes and donning a suit and sweet floral dress, Sara and Justin primped and preened for their intimate elopement ceremony up Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photos by wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Although they hiked in the wee morning hours, they still managed to bring out their most comfortable formal shoes for just a nod to the traditional wedding on their very non-traditional hiking elopement through Rocky Mountain National Park. Photos by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Putting the final touches on his tie, Sarah held her compact mirror for Justin. This adorable couple threw tradition to the wind and eloped in Rocky Mountain National Park with only their intimate wedding photographer, Maddie Mae as their witness.
 With the sun at just the perfect spot and the Rocky Mountains glowing a warm pink, Sarah and Justin were ready to hold their intimate elopement ceremony. Their only witness their wedding photographer, Maddie Mae.
 Justin opened his vow book and with the only the mountains to hear them professed his love and promises to his bride. Their stunning Rocky Mountain National Park elopement at Loch Vale captured by intimate wedding photographer Madde Mae.
 Sarah's sense of humor had been what Justin had first fallen in love with and her vows kept true. They smiled and laughed their way through their intimate wedding ceremony up Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park while Maddie Mae Photographer captured each precious moment.
 With a giggle and a grasp Sarah finished off her personalized wedding vows to Justin at their self solemnizing elopement in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photos of this intimate wedding by Colorado native, Maddie Mae Photography. 
 Gently slipping her delicate gold band on her finger, a symbol of his unending love for his stunning mountain bride, their intimate elopement ceremony at Loch Vale was slowly coming to an end. Photos of this high alpine elopement by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Sealed with a kiss! Sarah and Justin shared their first kiss with the alpine glow beginning to give way to a sunny day in Rocky Mountain National Park. This sunrise Lock Vale elopement captured by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 With no one around, besides their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae, this vintage inspired adventurous couple eloped high in the mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park at Loch Vale.
 Packing up their blanket and vow book they continued their adventure packed morning by hiking onwards around Loch Vale in RMNP with their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Wearing a non-traditional wedding dress by Reformation, Sarah led her bearded groom down the trail closer towards Loch Vale. Their intimate elopement photographer Maddie Mae capturing each adventurous moment. 
 Taking a moment for just themselves surrounded by early spring trees they watched the sun rise over Loch Vale as the alpine glow slowly melted away to reveal a gorgeous sunny day in RMNP. Photos of this intimate hiking elopement by Colorado native, Maddie Mae.
 Helping his bride, Justin guided Sarah over the jagged terrain hiking up Loch Vale after their sunrise elopement. They picked the early spring to share their vows alone with just their intimate wedding photographer, Maddie Mae, as their witness.
 The mountains looked almost pink as they reflected in the water of Loch Vale where Sarah and Justin had just held their intimate RMNP sunrise elopement with only their traveling wedding photographer, Maddie Mae looking on. 
 It's a several mile hike up to Loch Vale, one of the most stunning locations in Rocky Mountain National Park for an intimate wedding or private elopement. The views in early spring are stunning with snow still on the mountains but usually giving way to lovely sun shining days. Photos of this intimate elopement captured by Maddie Mae.
 Bringing along some cold brew coffee cans, this adorable couple took a seat over looking the Loch so they could enjoy their morning coffee before hiking onwards for their intimate elopement adventure with traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Justin swept Sarah off her feet, literally carrying her over some of the knotted tree roots surrounding Loch Vale in RMNP where they had just eloped. This sunrise hiking elopement captured by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 The air was so still and the Loch reflected the massive Rocky Mountains behind them. RMNP is one of the most varied and stunning places for an intimate wedding or private elopement. This adventurous sunrise elopement through Rocky Mountain National Park was photographed by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Sarah's floral non-traditional wedding dress made her glow against the spring green back drop of Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park where she and Justin picked for their adventurous intimate elopement. Photos by Colorado native and traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Continuing to hike further on towards Sprague Lake in RMNP this non-traditional couple picked a full day adventuring with their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae for their wedding day. Surrounded with nature and able to do what they loved, an elopement can be such a personal way to celebrate love!
 Through the forests of RMNP this adventurous couple hiked (and giggled) their way through the day of their intimate elopement. Their ceremony up Loch Vale where the alpine glow makes the mountains pink almost mimicking Sarah's floral Reformation dress. Photos by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Leading her bearded groom down the large rocks along the trail, Sarah and Justin continued their elopement hike through Rocky Mountain National Park. Picking an early spring day they said their intimate wedding vows at Loch Vale before hiking through the park with their intimate wedding photographer, Maddie Mae.
 Wandering into the snowy foothills Sarah and Justin hiked their way onwards to a different vantage point of the Loch before moving on to Sprague Lake for their intimate adventure elopement. Photos by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Over the rocks and just past the tress, Sarah and Justin found the perfect little spot to have moment of privacy over Loch Vale. With the sun have just risen not a soul was in sight. Photo of this adventurous RMNP elopement by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Almost hard to spot sometimes, Sarah and Justin shared private words just above Loch Vale. The only witness to their intimate elopement were the trees and Rocky Mountains. This adventurous sunrise elopement was photographed by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 Taking a seat to take in the views of Loch Vale, Sarah and Justin were smiles all day long at their adventurous elopement through RMNP with intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae at their heels. 
 Sarah and Justin had been through adventures before, but none as special as their intimate sunrise elopement at Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park. Although only their wedding photographer, Maddie Mae was witness to their vows, it was obvious their love glowed far beyond the peaks of the Rockies.
 Rocky Mountain National Park is home to many hidden lakes and forest valleys. In spring the snow is still visible on the foot hills of the snow capped Rockies making it a stunning location for a wedding or intimate elopement. Photos of this adventurous elopement by Maddie Mae Photography.
 The sun warming them as they rounded the trail past Mills Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. This adventurous couple opted for a hiking elopement instead of the traditional wedding. Photos by intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 They pulled their wedding blanket back out and spread it on the forest floor next to Sprague Lake where they had just hiked to after their intimate elopement ceremony at Loch Vale. Resting for a moment and sharing an intimate moment; captured by Maddie Mae Photography.
 Even packing along a bottle of their favorite white wine, this adventurous and vintage inspired couple stopped in the spotted sunlight at Sprague Lake to enjoy this intimate moment. Their elopement through Rocky Mountain National Park captured by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 One last kiss in the forests surrounding Sprague Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park before it was time to hike down and complete their adventurous wedding day. This non-traditional intimate elopement photographed by traveling wedding photographer Maddie Mae.
 With the wind blowing, this adventurous couple ended their all day elopement through Rocky Mountain National Park just past Sprague Lake. Their intimate wedding photographer Maddie Mae, their only witness to their non traditional wedding day.
 And off they ran into the green meadows below the high alpine terrain where earlier that morning they had eloped with no one around but their intimate wedding photographer, Maddie Mae.

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