couple hiking with lanterns, hiking elopement in vermont

How to Plan a Hiking Elopement

Planning a hiking elopement is a unique and adventurous way to celebrate your love in a natural and intimate setting. For couples who share a love for hiking and adventure, a hiking elopement is a beautifully fitting way to say your "I do's".

Whether you plan to trek up rough terrain to 4,000 feet or take more of a relaxing stroll through meadows and streams, the versatility of hikes available, allows for a range in preference. If you have been wondering how to plan a hiking elopement, you have come to the right place! Today we are sharing a step-by-step guide to help you plan a memorable hiking elopement.

Looking for more elopement recommendations? Check out our post: How To Plan an Elopement Ceremony.

How to Plan a Hiking Elopement

Choose a Hiking Elopement Location

The first thing you will want to do when planning a hiking elopement is choose your venue or location. You may consider choosing a hiking trail that holds special meaning to you as a couple or try a new hike that has been on your list. Be sure to research the location thoroughly, especially if you haven't ever hiked there!

Consider factors like accessibility, difficulty level, and the time of year you plan to elope. If you are planning a winter elopement certain trails might not be open or accessible. In addition, some trails close during rainy seasons, or inclement weather to protect the trail and hikers. Websites like New England Trail Conditions update their sites with current conditions to keep you posted on the latest. Do your research and make sure to get all the facts before your big day!

Looking for recommendations? Check out our post: The Best Mountain Top Elopement Locations.

Permits, Regulations & Legalities

Be sure to look into permits and permissions required to elope at your chosen location. Many places, especially national parks and wilderness areas often have specific requirements. The last thing you need is for your elopement to be called off due to a permit issue! In addition, ensure all necessary legal paperwork is completed and filed for your elopement, especially if your officiant is not legally authorized to marry you.

If you're planning on a Vermont elopement, you're in luck! As long as you're on public land, no permits are required, making it so simple to plan an adventurous wedding day in the Green Mountains!

Select a Date and Time

Not only will you want to select a date for your elopement, but picking a time is also crucial. Especially when it comes to hiking, you will want to take into account weather conditions, trail popularity, and lighting for photography. Many trails are most popular late morning to late afternoon. You may want to plan a sunrise or sunset hike to avoid crowds and take advantage of golden hour and spectacular backdrops for your ceremony and photos.

Always plan ahead and be sure that you have well powered headlamps or lanterns to light the way for any hiking or walking in darker hours during dawn or dusk.

Create a Hiking Elopement Guest List

Some couples decide to elope because they want to keep things simple, inexpensive and allow the focus to be solely on the couple. But if you decide you want to include any family or close friends in your elopement, keep in mind that the intimate nature of an elopement often means a smaller guest list. Therefore, you will only want to include a small group of your closest friends and family to keep things manageable and intimate, especially when hiking!

Make sure you take into account everyone's comfort in the outdoors and that you choose a location (and conditions) that are appropriate and achievable for everyone in your group.

Hiking Elopement Attire and Gear

Attire and gear for a hiking elopement is much different from your traditional wedding. Be sure to choose appropriate attire and footwear for hiking and the weather conditions at your chosen location. You may even want to consider bringing a change of clothes for the ceremony itself. This way you can still wear the beautiful dress or suit you have your heart set on, even though it won't work for the actual hiking portion of the trip. You may be so focused on the elopement details that you forget about hiking essentials. Don't forget to pack gear such as comfortable backpacks, water, snacks, and a first-aid kit.

For more information about what to bring

Logistics & Safety Precautions

When we think of hiking, we often jump to the beautiful views or even the fun challenge in the trek to the top. We sometimes forget to consider the logistics of transportation to the trailhead, directions, and parking. Make sure you and any guests accompanying you are accounted for and at the trailhead ready to depart at the same time. Some trails have complications when it comes to parking and can be tricky to navigate. Sorting through these details ahead of time will help to avoid and unnecessary stress on elopement day. Make sure to be familiarized with the area's safety guidelines and be prepared for any potential emergencies. Share your hiking itinerary with a trusted friend or family member and have a communication plan in case of emergencies.

Hiking Elopement Decor and Setup

Although decor and setup aren't usually top of the mind for an elopement, this may be something you want to consider to make the experience extra special and intimate. Nature provides a beautiful natural landscape that does not need much, if anything at all. Keep things simple but consider using local, eco-friendly decor that will blend well with the setting and is easy to pack out. Make sure to bring any necessary equipment, like a small table, if needed for the ceremony. Other hiking elopement decor ideas may include candles, glasses and champagne for a toast, blanket for a picnic, flowers, etc.

Remember that a hiking elopement is about celebrating your love in a unique and adventurous way, so embrace the beauty of nature and cherish the memories you create. Now that you know how to plan a hiking elopement, go create memories to last a lifetime and a celebration so intimate, special and romantic!

Share this story

me, Kate Seymour

meet kate

Adventure Elopements + Intimate Weddings

vermont, new england and the wild west