Glacier National Park, located in northern Montana, is famous for its large jagged peaks, turquoise water, and its well-traveled Going-to-the-Sun Road. This hiker’s paradise is littered with over 700 miles of hiking trails and carries some of the most beautiful scenery you can find within the United States. This Glacier National Park elopement guide is packed full of tips, locations, and everything you need to know about how to have a seamless elopement experience.
Glacier National Park Elopement Checklist
- Plan your elopement around the best times to visit the park
- Choose your ceremony location
- Get your elopement permit
- Purchase an entrance ticket
- Get your marriage license
- Book your lodging
- Glacier National Park elopement packages
What Time of Year Should I Elope in Glacier National Park?
If you want to avoid the crowds on your wedding day, I recommend eloping in Glacier late September or early October.
Glacier National Park is extremely popular, especially during July and August because of the nice weather. During the peak season, it’s very difficult to have an intimate wedding, and often times, certain elopement locations within the park have lots of restrictions.
The spring and winter are very similar. Glacier gets a TON of snow, and lots of attractions and businesses are closed due to the cold weather and lack of visitors. May and early June are great months to visit, but the Go-to-the-Sun Road is usually closed until July.
I personally recommend fall for your elopement. While a ton of the businesses up there close after Labor Day, this is your best chance at having a wedding with minimal crowds and nicer weather. Like I said, late September – early October is a great time to elope in Glacier National Park.
6 Best Places to Elope in Glacier National Park
Due to an influx of weddings happening within the park, Glacier now only allows ceremonies to take place at pre-approved locations. Any other locations will not be considered. To see all locations that are allowed, as well as maximum capacity numbers and other details, check out the park’s list here. You can also see images of the locations here. Keep in mind that this photo album is a bit outdated, so some of the locations shown are no longer accessible. That being said, here are some of the most beautiful places to elope in Glacier National Park.
Max capacity: 15
Lake McDonald is the largest (and one of the most popular) lakes in Glacier National Park. This is personally one of my favorite elopement locations within the park, though it can get quite busy. The water is crystal clear, you’re surrounded with epic views, and there’s even a dock for pictures.
*This location is not available 10/1/22 – 5/10/23 due to construction.
Max capacity: 15
While you can’t have your wedding ceremony at Logan’s Pass, I included this location on the list for pictures after your ceremony. Logan’s Pass is the most visited spot in the park. Though it’s crowded, this area during sunrise is absolutely magical. Even if you decide against it for pictures, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Max capacity: 12
Bowman Lake is personally one of my all-time favorite Glacier National Park elopement location due to both its views and remoteness. It’s located in an area not commonly visited within the park, yet it has some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen!
*This location can only be booked before 5pm during peak season.
Two Medicine Lake
Max capacity: 12
Two Medicine Lake is another jaw dropping wedding venue in Glacier National Park, especially when the mountains have fresh snowfall on them. The shoreline is a great place for ceremonies, as it’s accessible for all guests. The only drawback of this location is that it’s near a few popular areas within the park.
*This location is only available before 10am or after 5pm during peak season.
Sun Point Nature Trail
Max capacity: 12
Sun Point Nature Trail is quickly becoming a super popular trail within the park, but for a good reason. On this trail, you’ll see everything Glacier has to offer you, including a lake, waterfall, mountain views, forestry, and even some wildlife.
*This location is only available before 4pm.
Max capacity: 15
Lake Josephine, located in the Many Glacier district, requires a 1-mile hike to reach the lake. They only give out one permit for this location each day, so it’s fairly competitive to secure this location. Similar to other lakes in this park, this lake is surrounded by sweeping views and pine trees.
*This location is only available before 9am or after 5pm and between June 1st – September 30th.
How to Get a Glacier National Park Elopement Permit
If you decide to elope in Glacier National Park, you’ll need an elopement permit. The process for obtaining a permit is very straightforward. See all the steps below.
Before you fill out your permit application, please note that permits can be applied for up to one year in advance, but no less than one month before your elopement date. No exceptions.
- Fill out the special use permit application. Be as thorough as possible.
- Send the completed application with $125 in the form of a check or money order to email@example.com or by mail at the address below these steps. If you’d like to pay with a credit card, note that in your email and they will call you to gather your payment details.
- Once the park has received your application and permit, they will send you a permit that you will then need to sign and send back.
- You will get your completed permit that you will need to carry around with you on your elopement day.
Glacier National Park
Attn: Special Park Uses
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936
Do I Need a Ticket to Enter Glacier National Park?
Due to high traffic volumes, Glacier National Park has implemented a new ticket system that requires reservations to enter certain areas of the park, such as the Going-to-the-Sun Road at the West Entrance, St. Mary Entrance, Camas Entrance, and the Polebridge Ranger Station to visit the North Fork area of the park from May 27 to September 11th. The tickets cost $2 and can be purchased on recreation.gov starting in March of 2022.
Along with the reservation, you will need to purchase an entry pass that costs $35 a vehicle.
Luckily, if you have a special use permit, you do not need to book a reservation. Though I believe this does not apply to guests at your elopement. To get more information about this new system, check out the official park’s website here.
Montana Marriage Licenses and Laws
In order to elope in Glacier National Park, you’ll need to get a Montana marriage license. For this example, I will illustrate how to get a marriage license within Flathead County located in Kalispell, a town close to Glacier.
- Fill out the online marriage license application.
- After your application has been submitted, show up in person where you will sign the license and pay the $53 fee.
- You’ll recieve your license and can get married! There is no waiting period and the license I valid for 180 days.
Montana Officiant and Witness Laws
To be legally married in Montana, you need to have an officiant. A Clergy and/or Ordained Minister, Judge or Public Official given specific solemnization rights by their office, Justice of the Peace, Mayor, or Tribal Judge can officiant a ceremony.
However, Montana recognizes officiants and marriages ordained within the context of any religious affiliation, which means that as long as they are ordained, a close friend or family member can officiant your ceremony.
You need at least two witnesses get married in Montana.
Best Lodging in Glacier National Park
One of the best things about Glacier is its proximity to nearby towns like West Glacier, Kalispell, and Babb. Below are some of the perks of each town, along with the best Airbnbs you can find there for your elopement.
The closest town to the park, West Glacier, is where most people stay when visiting the park. Known for its adventurous outdoor activities and small shops, this place is one of the best for lodging.
- Glacier Hideaway – This modern log cabin overlooks the mountains and is equipped with cozy details and a hot tub.
- Going to the Sun Chalet – A minimalistic chalet with high vaulted ceilings, granite, and garden touches.
- Black Cabin – A funky cabin just 2 miles from the park entrance surrounded by nature and wildlife.
Located just 40 minutes from the park, this popular town is perfect for families or couples looking for something more than a small town. Kalispell has chain restaurants, grocery stores, but also beautiful scenery.
- Country House – An epic semi-secluded lodge with a deck, hot tub, and and never ending views.
- Lakefront Home – A rustic and cozy space surrounded by beautiful trees and equipped with a hot tub.
- Eastside White House – A charming and old home located just minutes away from downtown.
Babb is located on the other side of the park near the Many Glacier entrance. This small farming community is booming in the summer, yet quiet and remote during the beautiful winter months.
- Charming Cabin – This cabin is charming indeed! Located on Duck Lake, this cozy space is surrounded with water views.
- Shooting Star Lodge – This large cabin has 360 degree views of the mountains. With a 6-night stay minimum, this is a great space for a honeymoon.
- Duck Lake Cabin – This secluded cabin is known for its sweeping views of the landscape and nearby wildlife of Glacier.
Glacier National Park Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, an elopement photographer based on the west coast who offers Glacier National Park elopement packages for couples looking for more than just a photographer. To see more details about what I include in my packages, check out my pricing page here.
Glacier National Park Elopement Package Pricing
- 6 hours – 2 days of elopement coverage in Glacier National Park
- A hands-on elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
- personalized elopement locations and questionnaires
- vendor recommendations
- permit assistance
- customized elopement timeline
- 90+ page elopement guide
- I can officiate ceremonies for free!
- Online gallery with full resolution and printing rights
- 24-48 hour sneak peak images from your elopement
- Travel fees to ANYWHERE in Montana are already included
- Starting at $7,000
Want more wedding inspiration? Check out this Alaska Elopement Guide, Olympic National Park Wedding Guide, and the 25 Most Jaw Dropping Mountain Wedding Venues in the United States.
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I’m Brianna, a California elopement photographer who inspires, encourages, and empowers couples to push traditional boundaries and create experiences they’ll remember forever.