Welcome to my guide on how to Elope at Mammoth Lakes in California! This string of picturesque lakes is on the eastern edge of the Sierra Mountains. I couldn’t believe the easy access and incredible views that each of these pools offer. Coming from Colorado, I was expecting to have to hike to get views like these. But I found I could drive right up to them. This is great news if you are considering inviting your family to part of your elopement day. Of course, many great hikes are possible too in this backpacker’s paradise!
More than just Lakes
The eastern Sierras around Mammoth Lakes are full of amazing diversity. Ancient volcanic activity in this area created calderas, cinder cones, stone pillars, hot springs, postpiles, waterfalls and the unique saltwater Mono Lake. These mountains are some of the most beautiful and accessible on our continent. Home to the lower 48’s highest mountain, Mt. Whitney, these are formidable peaks. Further south, the Sierras give way to the desert landscape of Death Valley. You can and should spend several days exploring this amazing area.
June Lakes Elopement Locations
Grant Lake, Silver Lake, Gull Lake and June Lake make up the June Lakes loop north of Mammoth. It is essential to plan a morning and or weekday elopement here. Finding parking is hard enough! June lake has a big beach for swimming, making it one of the busiest spots. My favorite of the four is Silver Lake, which is perfectly clear and has a colorful stone bottom. Hiking from there to Gem lake offers incredible opportunities for a hiking elopement in this wild landscape. The easy hike around aspen-lined Gull lake is spectacular in fall and there’s even a swing into the water.
Seasons to Elope in Mammoth Lakes
In the summer this area is extremely busy, but a 1-5 mile hike will reward you with great views and.. more lakes! There are waterfalls and spires and colorful wildflowers. You can rent paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, and cruise boats. You could even get married on a boat for an unforgettable experience! Spring is the best time if waterfalls are your jam; Fall is incredibly idyllic as well. In the winter, some of the roads close, so a 2 mile hike will be added to any plan. The nearby ski resort is a huge attraction, so this could be a great snowy elopement location.
Mammoth Lakes Elopement Locations
There are so many lakes here, it would be impossible to list or rank them all. Lake George, Lake Mary, Twin Lakes, Horseshoe Lake and Lake Mamie make up the main area of Mammoth. These lakes are the busiest and most popular with boaters and fishermen. In high season, these areas are good for a quick photo, but I wouldn’t recommend holding your ceremony here unless it is early in the morning to avoid crowds. Short hikes to other lakes would be more advisable, and the iconic Convict Lake is a great elopement spot for sunrise or off-season.
See a full day Mammoth Lakes Elopement!
Sara & Kunyu got married on their 9 year anniversary by planning a trip to Mammoth Lakes in April! They had woodsy first look photos at dawn, then their ceremony at Witsanap lake. They rode up the Mammoth Mountain gondola and visited hot springs before having dinner with a small group of friends back at the condo. See their full day Eastern California Elopement here!
Visit Rainbow or Horsetail falls, hike to volcanic craters, the earthquake fault, or go off road to one of a kind stone columns! It’s always best to check with the forest service to ensure your plan will work for the lands they manage. Luckily, I’ve found that the forest service in Inyo county is pretty amenable and willing to work with you. As long as you follow Leave No Trace principles and go low-key, chances are good that you can have the adventure elopement of your dreams here. On the East side of the highway, the lands are managed by the BLM office instead of the forest service. Let’s chat about what that means for you!
Are you hooked yet? This is just a taste of how to elope at Mammoth Lakes and the amazing surrounding areas in Mono County. The Eastern Sierras are full of campgrounds, lodges, and boating activities. To get a more in depth view of the places to stay, eat, and adventure, please be in touch! You can download my custom map of photos and details to start exploring and dreaming of your perfect elopement!
Here is a sample timeline for a great adventure elopement near Mammoth Lakes.
5:00 Begin Sunrise hike
6:30 Change into wedding clothes
6:45 First look as dawn approaches
7:00 Exchange vows alone at sunrise at the lake
7:30 Picnic breakfast – granola parfaits and coffee
8:00 Begin hike down
9:30 Hammock naps in the shade
12:00 Five star lunch
1:30 Spa for couples massage
3:00 Swim in the lakes, hike to a waterfall or rent a canoe for an adventure
6:00 Sunset first dance at the Stone Columns
7:00 Private chef dinner with family at Airbnb
I’m a nomadic and colorful elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, hiking, and sharing my favorite places with others. My photography style emphasizes the epic landscape of your dreams and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and my nature-loving clients. Mammoth Lakes is a treasure trove of unique geology and secluded lakes. Maybe I’ll see you there!
I offer full day, 1.5 day and 2 day elopement photography in Mammoth Lakes and Inyo County. See my pricing and package details here. I would love to chat with you and help see if an elopement with me is what you’ve been dreaming of. Get in touch below and I’ll help you with the where, the what, and the how to elope at Mammoth Lakes!
Here’s a preview of my interactive location map for my booked clients:
This map is like a virtual tour of Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding highlights with color photos I’ve taken of each place. So you can see all the great spots without leaving your living room. If you’re planning from afar, this is a visual key to picking out the elopement spot that works for you. Details like what seasons and time of day are best for each location are included. It will help you plan your activities, accommodations, and your day’s itinerary. Lastly, it’s easy to have a great backup location picked out with this map in front of you. Having that Plan B in your back pocket will keep your planning stress-free!
Ready to start panning your Mammoth Lakes elopement? Contact me!
See my other amazing California Elopement Guides:
– Mono Lakes Elopement Guide
– Yosemite Elopement Guide
– Sequoia & Kings Canyon Elopement Guide
– Death Valley Elopement Guide
– Joshua Tree Elopement Guide