Boreas Pass Elopement | Tips for Planning

intimate sunset at the top of Boreas Pass at top of Boreas Pass at sunset by Denver Elopement photograpeher Jennie Crate

Why choose Boreas Pass for your Elopement?

Boreas Pass has a little bit of everything for the mountain outdoor lover: evergreens, rocks, views, aspens, and blue skies.

Throw in a bit of mountain town mining history and I think Boreas Pass is one of the coolest locations for an elopement or microwedding in Summit County.

Pro-Tip: The road on Boras Pass is not paved, but it is well maintained, so you should be ok to drive it in any vehicle. However, a higher clearance vehicle is never a bad idea in the mountains.

The History of Boreas Pass and the Ghost Town

Boreas Pass was originally built as a narrow gage railroad connecting the towns of Como and Breckenridge. The railroad ran from 1872 – 1938. After the railroad was disbanded, the pass was converted to outdoor use for cars and hikers. At the top of Boras Pass (11,481 feet in elevation), there is an abandoned ghost town that once housed about 150 railroad workers, whose job it was to maintain the railroad at high altitude. Not an easy task with severe and snowy winters! The post office at the top of the pass was once the highest US Post office in existence.

The buildings of the town have been restored, and while you can’t typically go inside of the, you can walk around the tiny town and explore. You can read a little more about the pass here.

What season should I elope at Boreas Pass?

Spring, Summer, and Fall all have their perks at Boreas Pass. The only season you can’t take the road all the way to the top of the pass is Winter, so if you want to explore the Pass in winter, you’ll have to do a little hiking/ walking.

The road is typically open from late May – late October, but will depend on annual snowfall and road conditions.


In the summer you’ll have an easy drive to the top of the Pass, with plenty of spectacular spots to stop along the way for photos. If you drove straight, you could do the drive in about 20 minutes.

In this timeframe, you’ll have the full array of leafed out Aspens, great summer views of Breckenridge and the Breckenridge ski resort, and access to all of the hiking trails and camp grounds along the path.

You do need to stay vigilant of the weather, and weigh the possibility of summer storms, especially above tree line. There are some spectacular views if you hike above the historic cabins, but be aware that storms can roll in quickly.

The best summer months up the pass are July and August.

Two brides on a Breckenridge Adventure Session vow renewal
At the top of a hike above the peak of the pass in late June. We were dodging storms the whole day.


Fall on Boreas Pass can be quite spectacular and much of that is because of the section of the road that is lined with a beautiful grove of aspens. Because the pass sits above 10,000 feet, the leave usually change the 3rd or 4th week of September and are often gone by the first week of October.

If you’d like to take advantage of the end of summer weather before it gets too cold and you’re not concerned about leaf color, I’d suggest eloping in early September. This timeframe maximizes your chance to take advantage of all the scenic spots the pass has to offer.

Boreas Pass in early September before the aspen leaves have changed.


As I mentioned above, the Boreas Pass road closes to traffic when the snow rolls in, so if you’re planning to elope here in Winter, you’ll have to prepare for hiking.

The good news is that it’s super easy to park at the parking lot of the trailhead, and walk along the snowpacked road as far as you like. You can get to some pretty cool rock formations with about 10 minutes of walking, but even if you don’t want to venture far, you can get some amazing snowy trees right off the parking lot.

Pro-Tip: If you’re planning an elopement in winter, be prepared for cold temps and keep layers on hand..

The snowy landscape at the Boreas Pass Parking lot in February


Spring hits Summit County in late May or early June, but depending on the year, you might still find patches of snow up the pass into late June. If you choose a spring elopement you’ll want to be a bit flexible with weather.

Since Boras Pass road is not paved, I would also recommend a good traction vehicle in case the road is particularly muddy on the day of your wedding.

Do I need a permit to elope on Boreas Pass?

At the moment, no. It is important to be mindful of the land, though, and follow Leave No Trace principles throughout your day.

  • Travel on durable surfaces and trails
  • Dispose of waste properly (i.e. don’t leave a cork from your champagne bottle behind)
  • Respect wildlife (do NOT approach the moose!)
  • Leave what you find (aka, don’t pick the wildflowers)

In efforts to protect the land, I would NOT hold an elopement on Boreas Pass with more than 20 people. Anything larger than that should be held at a reservable natural area, an airbnbn or a venue. If you’re having a larger wedding, though, we can definitely still explore the Pass for portraits!

What spots can I use for my Boreas Pass Elopement?

There are so many great options for eloping along Boras Pass road, so it often comes down to what you want, whether you want to be more off the beaten path of the road, and how many people you’ll have with you.

Here are a just a handful of options for an elopement, but we can chat about what’s important to you and decide together what experience you’d like to create!


There are several campsites along Boras Pass road, and any of them could be used for an elopement. However, these sites are not reservable, and operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. You could try to snag a spot a day or so early and park your vehicle there to save your spot, then move it for your ceremony. Or you could leave this up to chance, and be flexible in your exact spot the day of your elopement.

I have seen couples try to “reserve” a spot by posting a removable sign at one of the campsites in the hopes that someone doesn’t come along and park there, but this approach obviously comes with risks.

brides exchange vows at Boreas Pass microwedding by Colorado gay wedding photographer Jennie Crate
An early October ceremony at a campsite along Boreas Pass

The Meadow

About 2/3 of the way up the pass there is a wide open meadow, flanked with evergreen trees in the distance. It’s super easy to pull off to the side of the road, walk a bit downhill in to the meadow, and find a spot for your ceremony.

This is probably the easiest spot to use if you have guests with you as there is plenty of room for cars and people here.

There is no shade, though, so your guests have to be prepared to be out in the direct sun for a short amount of time.

two grooms exchange vows in meadow at Breckenridge Elopement by Colorado gay wedding photographer Jennie Crate

The Ghost Town

The area around the ghost town is absolutely beautiful, especially around sunset.

Even if you don’t choose this spot for your ceremony, I highly recommend timing your day to end here with sunset and the alpenglow.

But if you’re planning to elope here, it’s a simple matter of finding a spot you like, letting your photographer help you find the best light, and enjoying yourself.

Alpenglow at the Ghost Town at the top of Boreas Pass in early September

A High Altitude Hike

If you are up for a little hiking, you can check out one of the trailheads at the top of the pass, across from the Ghost Town parking. The views are spectacular from up here and the experience lends itself to a bit more adventure than some of the other elopement spots.

Alpenglow at the Ghost Town at the top of Boreas Pass in early September

Where should I get ready for my Boreas Pass Elopement?

There are no amenities on Boreas Pass itself (not even pit toilets at the trailhead), so you’ll want to arrive fully ready, or plan to finish getting ready in your car. However, as the road is located just above Breckenridge, you have plenty of airbnb options at your disposal. The Lodge at Breckenridge is also just minutes from the main parking lot.

What conditions should I expect on Boreas Pass road?

The great thing about Boras Pass road is that it’s fairly well maintained for a dirt road. It’s a popular place for first-come, first-serve camping, and it’s gets heavily used by day hikers and explorers. There are spots of the road that are rockier and bumpier than others, but in general, on a dry day you can take a sedan all the way to the top of the pass.

Be aware that parts of the road are quite narrow, so you’ll have to be cautious and courteous when passing other vehicles.

Luckily, there aren’t many spots on the road that are next to a drop off, so in general it’s not a scary road to drive.

How long is it to the historic cabins from the parking lot?

If you drove straight to the top of the Pass, it would take you about 20 minutes .

Do I have to be in good physical shape to elope up Boreas Pass?

While you should be prepared for high altitude, you don’t need to be in exceptional shape to elope on Boras Pass. Almost all of the spots we’d likely explore are within short walking distance of a pull over or parking area. If you wanted to do more of a hike, you certainly could, in which case, being in decent physical shape is helpful.

Boreas Pass Sessions for Inspiration

Other resources for planning your elopement

I travel all over the state of Colorado and across the US to capture connected wedding stories for devoted and courageous couples. I’d love to be your Grand Lake Lodge wedding photographer!

Same-sex wedding photographer Jennie Crate Photographer

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