Indian Head Elopement | Yufan + Amanda’s Adventure Wedding in the Fall

The story of their elopement on Indian Head

We had a wonderful adventure with Yufan and Amanda for their sunrise elopement in Keen Valley, upstate New York. They were real troopers, starting on the trail around 3am to get to Indian Head before dawn for their elopement pictures. It was peak fall foliage season, so we knew Indian Head would be overcrowded if we went any later in the day.

After the long hike, we returned to their Airbnb where they got ready for their intimate ceremony (officiated by Dan) with about 10 family members, and then we wrapped up with group photos of them & their family..

We absolutely love capturing adventurous elopements like Yufan and Amanda’s, especially at places as epic as Indian Head. If you want to plan a mountaintop elopement in the Adirondacks, reach out to us here.

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About Indian Head 

Location: Keene Valley, NY

Distance: 10.4 mile loop

Hiking time: About 5 hours

Elevation: 2700 feet


Parking for Indian Head is on Route 73, about 3 miles south of Keene Valley. You can either park in the AMR lot or across the street at the small lot across the street (which is for Roaring Brook Trail to Giant Mt). Parking and reservation details are below.

Parking and Reservations

As of right now (2024), there is a reservation system that was put in place by the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) in cooperation with the DEC. It was initially a pilot program that is set to expire, but word on the street is that it will remain permanently. 

The AMR lot is gated, and you need to show a reservation in order to enter between May and October. An attendant is there from 5am to 7pm, so if you are arriving outside of that window of time, you’ll need to park across the street.

Reservations are limited on a first come first serve basis, and they only become available two weeks before. During high traffic seasons (e.g. peak fall foliage), it can be challenging to get a reservation. Be aware that there is usually a park ranger about a mile in (at the sign-in on the Ausable Club property) who will ask for your reservation, so even if you park in the lot across the street, you need to have a reservation.

Hiking Instructions: 

The hike is pretty straightforward (although we started at 3am the first time we ever hiked Indian Head & it’s a little more confusing in the dark).

From the AMR parking lot, you’ll walk up the road towards the Ausable Club (the uphill road next to the parking attendant booth). Once you reach the club, you’ll turn left down the road in between the two tennis courts. That road will take you to the sign-in and wooden AMR gate.

After signing in, go through the gate and continue up Lake Road. After a couple miles, you’ll see a sign on the left for Indian Head. You can follow that to the outlook, or continue on Lake road to the 2nd sign that marks the alternate trail for Indian Head.

If you reach the long, skinny bridge going across the Ausable Lake right next to the large dam, you’ve gone a little too far.

Pros and cons of eloping on Indian Head

The Cons:

It’s busy – Indian Head is one of the most popular hiking spots in the Adirondacks. People come from states away just to see it, so make sure you’re either prepared for people at the overlook, or plan to hike before the sun is even up to make sure you are the first ones there. 

It’s a long walk – The hike starts off with 3 miles of walking on a dirt road to even get to the start of the trail head. It’s not a hard walk, but it is very monotonous and uninteresting for the first few miles.

It can be windy at the summit – Most of the times that we’ve been on Indian Head, it has been very windy. This is not necessarily a problem in the summer months, but as the weather gets cooler into September and October, that wind can make it very cold and unpleasant. 

Parking Reservation required from May 1 – October 31 – The AMR (Adirondack Mountain Reserve) requires parking reservations from May to October, and those spots run out very quickly (especially in the beginning of October). It may be very hard to get a spot during peak hiking season. 

Dogs are not allowed – The AMR does not allow dogs on their property, so taking your pets with you to your elopement on Indian Head is impossible. 


It has beautiful views – Indian Head truly has one of the most unique views in the Adirondacks, which makes in truly epic for an adventurous elopement. It’s no wonder why people come from all around to hike this beautiful mountain. 

Easy/moderate hike – The hike itself is considered moderate, so most couples will not have a hard time hiking this even if they do not consider themselves avid hikers. It is on the longer side, but elevation gain is relatively low and gradual.

Privacy during sunrise – Even though this hike is extremely popular, we have found great success when we hike way before sunrise and have our couples be ready to take photos and have their ceremony before most people get to the summit.

Epic photos – One of the biggest pros are the photos you will get of your elopement. There truly is nothing cooler than elopement photos on Indian Head. 

Yufan and Amanda’s Indian Head Elopement Photos 

Here are the photos of Yufan and Amanda’s elopement, from the early morning “blue hour” shots on Indian Head to the micro-wedding ceremony at their Airbnb:

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