As you guys may know, I am an avid outdoor adventurer! I absolutely love exploring nature and hiking is one of my all time favorite ways to do it. Not only is it a fun hobby but it helps me seek out and find new spots for my couples to elope in! I recently hiked to Big Pine Lakes and WOW. Let me tell you, this is a dream elopement spot. Today I want to talk to you about the ins and outs of this hike and how you could prepare for an elopement here!
First, one of my biggest tips for eloping at a location that includes a long or difficult hike is to make sure you find a photographer who is skilled at adventure photography. Not all photographers are the same and that’s what makes our industry amazing! If you are choosing to elope somewhere that is difficult to get to though, you want to have a photographer who is on the same page as you. For instance, I have hiking gear that will make the hike easier on me while carrying all the equipment I need, I regularly hike, and explore long and difficult hikes so that I can act as an adventure guide to my couples! I want to capture amazing photos of them while also having knowledge of the trail and hiking to keep myself and them as safe as possible.
One thing to know about Big Pine Lakes is that it is rated as hard on Alltrails.com and is a total of 13 miles, however it is totally worth it for your views at the lake! It’s also a dog friendly hike so if you choose to bring your furry friends for your elopement, you totally can.
When I hiked Big Pine Lakes we chose to do a day hike. For elopements, I would suggest camping overnight and starting the hike at 7 am or earlier to avoid the large crowds. If you’re up for the adventure, there is a backpacking option for the hike with an overnight camping permit! The head of the trail is easy to find and is by the day hiker parking lot.
While this trail is more difficult, it makes up for it in beauty. You are walking along the creek or waterfalls for most of the trail. Your background music is the sound of moving water the entire hike, which is incredibly peaceful. It’s a well marked trail with signs that indicate you are on the trail. To get to the lakes you want to make sure you follow the correct signage. About 10 minutes into the hike you will come across a waterfall and just past it, there is a fork in the road with a sign for “SF Big Pine” and “NF Big Pine.” Take the trail to the right and follow NF Big Pine. This trail will lead to gorgeous green lakes! I always keep it honest for you guys, so I have to tell you that the first few miles of this trail are basically incline. But I’ll say it again, WORTH IT for the view of the lakes!
There are a few different lakes that you will come across but I recommend couples have their actual ceremony at the second lake. It’s incredibly scenic and you can get married with Temple Crag as your backdrop!
You may be experienced hikers if you’re considering eloping at Big Pine Lakes but I still want to give you my recommendations on what to bring as a bride and groom doing this hike! OF COURSE your amazing and wild love, each other, your vows, rings and wedding attire. You’ll want to hike in hiking clothes and hiking shoes so make sure to bring a backpack with the wedding clothes and elopement necessities in it. You’ll also want water, a water filter, a first aid kit, snacks and a lunch, liquid IVs, trekking poles, buff, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a hammock for resting.
Also remember, your elopement is still your wedding day and something to celebrate! Have a charcuterie board made to eat at one of the lakes or a bottle of champagne to pop after you say “I Do”! You want to make sure to bring the necessities like water, good shoes, and sunscreen but also squeeze in the fun things too. I can even help add a few surprises into my backpack if we need, such as gifts to exchange.
I hope this helped give you a better idea of what to expect when eloping at Big Pine Lakes! It’s absolutely worth the hike for the views you get and is a Pinterest worthy spot for sure. Contact me if you have any other questions about the hike or want to start planning your elopement together!