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Adirondacks Elopement Guide (Updated for 2024)


A couple elopes in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks

Are you looking for an adventure-filled, intimate way to tie the knot? Look no further than eloping in Upstate New York’s majestic Adirondack region! Whether you and your love are avid hikers, or just looking for a beautiful location to exchange vows, this guide will provide all of the information you need to craft your dream elopement —from destination suggestions and ideas to timing to the paperwork requirements. With stunning views, outdoor activities, and plenty of romance, the Adirondacks have it all when it comes creating a perfect wedding day in one of the many charming small towns.

Introducing the Adirondack Mountains - The scenery and why the Adirondacks are perfect for your elopement

Nestled in the heart of Upstate New York, the Adirondack Mountains have a variety of breathtaking views. These mountains boast sprawling forests, lovely lakes, and awe-inspiring peaks that go on for miles. With over six million acres of unspoiled wilderness, the Adirondacks offer an alluring charm like no other, making them the perfect setting for those looking to elope. Enveloped in the beauty and wildness of this region, couples can exchange their vows in solitude (if they are willing to venture into the wild a bit), surrounded only by the sounds of nature.

Why do I personally love the Adirondacks? Honestly, every region is so different and you can get a bit of everything! Whether you want to be in the southern Adirondacks and look out over gentler mountains covered in fall foliage, head to the western end and enjoy all the lakes, or head up north for some craggedy peaks and amazing hikes, we've got it all! Add on the amazing farmer's markets and floral markets, and it's heaven!

A couple elopes on Balanced Rocks in the Adirondacks during sunrise.

What and where are the Adirondacks?

To get technical, the Adirondack Mountains are a mountain range located in northeastern New York, extending from Lake Champlain in the west to the Saint Lawrence River and the Canadian province of Ontario in the east. But that's probably hard to imagine. What isn't hard to imagine is that this area is bigger than Yellowstone! This immense area of rugged terrain covers 6 million acres of private and public land, making it one of the largest parks in the United States. Within this vast region lie several lovely towns that you may have heard of, including Lake Placid which hosted the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics. While the Adirondacks are mostly known for being rugged and a bit rustic (the trails are still those "straight up the mountain" surveyer trails), there are plenty of luxury experiences to have as well. Whether you're looking for more of a glamping elopement experience or a luxury + adventure elopement experience, we have it all!

A groom carries his bride while she smiles ecstatically holding her bouquet in the air. The couple is eloping on Mount Jo in the Adirondacks.

How to get to the Adirondacks

The Adirondacks are so large that travel really depends on where you want to go. For the purposes of this guide, I'll divide up the Adirondacks into a few different regions: Lake George Region, High Peaks Region (including Keene, Lake Placid, and the Whiteface areas), Western Adirondacks, and Central Adirondacks.

How to Travel From Boston or NYC to the Adirondacks by Car

For the most part, you will need a car to get around the Adirondacks. Ride shares and public transportation are not typically available. Both NYC and Boston are about equidistant from the Adirondack Mountans and you can expect to drive between 3.5 to 6 hours to reach your destination.

How to Travel to the Adirondacks by Plane

If you live a bit further away than you'd like to drive, you can always fly and rent a car. Some nearby Airports are:

  • Albany New York Airport- about a 2 hour drive to the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks

  • Plattsburgh International Airport- 30 to 45 minute drive to the High Peaks Region

  • Adirondack Regional Airport in Saranac Lake- daily flights between Boston's Logan Airport and NYC's JFK airport

A lesbian couple embraces in front of their family before going off to elope in the Adirondacks.

Best Adirondack Elopement Locations

There are so many amazing locations to elope in the Adirondacks, so choosing the perfect location for you will depend greatly on the type of scenery you want to experience!

That said, there are a few things that are pretty much everywhere including great hiking and great food. Here are the top places to base your Adirondack elopement!

A couple dances on a secluded mountaintop during their summer Adirondack hiking elopement.

Eloping in Lake Placid, Keene Valley, and the High Peaks area

If I were to pick one of the most epic places to elope, this would be it. With countless hiking trails, the views are phenomenal.

If you dream of being up in the mountains but want to bring a few guests who might not physically want to or be able to hike with you, there are also some accessible elopement venues such as:

  • Scott's Cobble at Experience Outdoors

  • Whiteface Mountain

  • Bark Eater Inn

  • Lake Placid Lodge

If you are willing to venture a bit further into the wilderness, there are countless locations where you can have privacy while enjoying epic mountain vies.

A man embraces a woman in a wedding dress, lifting her in the air as he kisses her. They are on top of a mountain in the Adirondacks.

Can I elope on Whiteface Mountain or at Marcy Field?

I often get asked about eloping on Whiteface Mountain or at Marcy Field, thinking that it is free. These are both options but it's important to note that it is not free to elope at either Whiteface Mountain or Marcy Field.

To elope on Whiteface Mountain, it can cost up to $4,500 depending on your exact wedding plans and number of guests in attendance, plus $10 per guest to use the toll road. If you absolutely love the view from Whiteface and don't mind having attention on you, I recommend only taking photos on the mountain and actually eloping elsewhere, so that you can exchange vows in privacy and soak in that "just married" feeling together. The fee to take photos on Whiteface is $500. It's important to note that the toll road is only open from late May through early October and is weather dependent. Below are some photos from an elope

Hot tip for if you want to take photos on Whiteface: I recommend working with a photographer who knows Whiteface well, because there are a few spots that are a bit out of the way of the main viewing area that and extra magical!

Here are some photos from a Whiteface Mountain elopement:

Extra Secret Spots:

A bride kisses her husband while holding her bouquet in the air. They are eloping on Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks.

For Marcy Field, it costs $1,000 for non-residents to get married. Both Marcy Field and Whiteface Mountain are solid options, but I also encourage couples to look at other options if privacy is important to you, as you will definitely have the public around you witnessing your nuptials. I specialize in providing a customized list of options that are more private for your elopement day.

Here are some photos from a Marcy Field Elopement:

Eloping in Lake George

Lake George is flooded in the summer, but it's a fantastic place to elope during the rest of the year. If you are determined to elope in Lake George in the summer, I highly recommend renting out a private venue with great views, since many of the public spots are overrun with tourists. That said, I still know of a handful of hiking elopement locations if you are willing to get a bit sweaty. Just check out the photos below!

Some of my favorite venues for small weddings and elopements near Lake George are:

  • Friends Lake Inn

  • Inn at Erlowest

  • Forest Lake Camp

  • Garnet Hill Lodge

A couple embraces on top of a mountain during sunset on their elopement day. The sunflare shines on the couple with a lake and mountains in the distance. The couple has just had a hiking elopement in Lake George NY.

Eloping in the Central or Western Adirondacks: Old Forge, Blue Mountain Lake, and North Creek areas

If lakes or vast amounts of snowmobile trails are your thing, then you might want to consider eloping in the central or western areas of the Adirondacks. If you imagine hopping in a canoe on your wedding day or during your honeymoon, this is a perfect place to head to. And if you want to add on a hike or two, there are some amazing peaks that are only accessible by water. This is one of those more unknown but majestic areas of the Adirondacks! I highly recommend checking out an amazing private property to book if you are considering eloping in this area.

A couple in their wedding clothes elopes on top of a mountain in Indian Lake NY.

Finding the ideal elopement venue - Where to look for the best accommodations for your elopement

This is where I see folks potentially making the biggest mistake when it comes to planning their Adirondack Elopement. There are a lot of hotels and private venues that market themselves as "in the Adirondacks" when in fact they may be an hour+ away from the place you actually want to spend time! So, when it comes to finding the perfect place to base out of during your stay in the Adirondacks, I recommend figuring out your desired scenery and activities first and then finding the place you want to be overnight. And of course, I'm always here to help you find that place! Above I've listed out some great venues for small weddings, but I'm always here to help you find the perfect spot if you are eloping "just you two". For most folks, I recommend staying in Lake Placid or Keene Valley if you imagine eloping in the high peaks region.

A male gay couple in suits embraces during their Lake Placid wedding.

Things to do in the Adirondacks

Okay, as a licensed hiking guide, I'm biased. I want to offer up some of the amazing hikes you could do in the Adirondacks such as visiting Indian Head (reservations needed), hiking (or driving up Whiteface Mountain), or visiting the Olympic Center to hike the new Mount Van Ho trail.

That said, here are a bunch of other things you could do during your Adirondack elopement:

  • Complete a local hiking challenge (or start one to be continued on your anniversaries!)

  • Visit gorgeous waterfalls

  • Go cliff jumping in Lake George

  • See the mountains by air, either by plane or helicopter

  • Visit breweries and distilleries

  • Go dog sledding in the winter

  • Go horseback riding in the summer

  • Embrace the unexpected with a hot air balloon ride (mostly late summer, early fall)

  • Float through the Ausable Chasm

  • Go whitewater rafting

  • Hike to historic firetowers

  • Go skiing or snowshoeing

  • Visit cool museums, nature centers, or historic sites

A couple in headlamps embraces under the stars during their Adirondack hiking elopement in Lake Placid NY.

Essential Checklist for Eloping in the Adirondacks - What you need to know before you go

Eloping in the Adirondacks brings an air of enchantment and offers the perfect escape for you and your partner. But before you swap your "I do's" amongst the serene mountains and majestic forest trails, channel your inner adventurer and make sure to cover some essentials. A friendly guide with local expertise like me by your side is a great addition to your planning phase. Together, we'll consider factors like the ideal wedding spot, seasonal weather variations, acquiring that all-important marriage license (within 60 days and in person), and, of course, the comfortable hiking shoes to make your journey both magical and practical.

Photography tips for your elopement or small wedding

The magic of your special day is something you want to cherish forever, and that's where working with someone who has done this a time or two is helpful! We know what to watch out for and what to make time for. As your photographer, let me share a few tips that will make your pictures that much more epic and your day that much more enjoyable.

  • First, ditch the cliché poses and allow candid moments to shine—your authentic emotions should take center stage. Do you want to remember posing all day or would you rather think back on the memories you made?

  • Think about incorporating your hobbies or favorite pastimes into the pictures, making your big day more personal, and most importantly, extra memorable.

  • Dare to take time and allow your photographer to experiment with unique perspectives and angles, as these can truly turn your photos into works of art.

  • And, finally, always remember that communication is key: Collaborate with your photographer to ensure that your vision truly comes to life! If there is a single image that you want to print as a 4' wide print, let your photographer know so that they can take the time to give you this wish. And then let them capture the rest of the day as inspiration strikes.

A couple in snowshoes looks out over the Adirondack Mountains in the winter. They stand atop a mountain near Lake Placid, NY during their winter elopement.

The Best Time to Elope in the Adirondacks

Deciding on the perfect time of year to elope in the Adirondack mountains can significantly enhance your big day, providing you with memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Or, choosing the wrong time could lead to hundreds of bug bites and an elopement that just...could have been better. As an expert both elopements and the Adirondack weather patterns, allow me to guide you in selecting the ideal season for your elopement.

Although popular for its vivid autumn colors, the Adirondack Mountains offer a treasure trove of enchantment throughout the year. Spring often brings late snow and gorgeous flowing waterfalls. For a classic, whimsical winter wonderland, eloping amidst the snow-capped peaks and cozy lodges during the colder months makes for an atmosphere that dreams are made of. And for the summer, choosing the right month is key. To avoid the biting "black fly season", you will want to avoid late May through mid July (and in fact, I don't book elopements in the Adirondacks during this time). Ultimately, the key to choosing the right time for your elopement lies in aligning your vision with the experience and changing beauty that the Adirondacks provide year-round.

A lesbian couple embraces on top of a mountain in Tupper Lake in the Adirondacks on their elopement day. LGBTQIA Adirondack wedding

Working with me as your Adirondack Elopement Photographer

If you love adventure and wild landscapes, eloping in the Adirondack Mountains will provide you with an amazing and unique experience that is absolutely stunning. Here you can say “I do” surrounded by breathtaking beauty and seclusion — and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Hi! I'm Molly, an award-winning elopement photographer and licensed hiking guide! I would love to chat about photographing your perfect elopement in New York.

I'm a small wedding and elopement photographer who is always up for a new adventure. While based outside of the Adirondacks, I also have a second home in the Austrian Alps and frequently travel to Anchorage, Alaska.

Interested in talking to me about your Adirondack elopement or small adventure wedding? I'd love to help you have the best wedding day experience (while giving you some amazing pictures!)


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