If you’re looking for a unique, out-of-this-world, Twilight-inspired elopement location, your search ends here. The Hoh Rainforest is one of the most incredible places you’ll ever visit. Whether you’re a native to the Pacific Northwest or visiting for the very first time, I can almost guarantee you that you won’t find a location as “Pacific Northwest” as this one. It’s open year-round, close to some other must-see sights within Olympic National Park, and is hands-down one of the most unique places in the world.

Whether you’re interested in planning a Hoh Rainforest elopement, or simply looking to get some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. This is the ultimate Hoh Rainforest elopement guide, written by a part-time Olympic National Park local filled with everything you need to know about the forest, from permits and locations to lodging and weather.

A couple in wedding attire kissing in the Hoh Rainforest.

Why Elope in the Hoh Rainforest?

The Hoh Rainforest is the quietest place in the continental United States, gets a whopping 12 feet of rain per year, and is also home to a ton of wildlife like Roosevelt Elk, deer, and banana slugs. However, these aren’t the reasons that make the Hoh Rainforest an incredible place to elope. Those reasons you can read about below…

It’s One of the Last Remaining Temperate Rainforests on Earth

You read that right. The Hoh Rainforest is one of the largest and last remaining temperate rainforests in the world. In the United States, you can only find temperate rainforests in the Pacific Northwest and select parts of Appalachia, making this location a truly once-in-a-lifetime one.

It’s Close to the Coast

The Hoh Rainforest is only 45 minutes away from the coast which means it’s a great option for couples looking to experience a variety of different sceneries on their wedding day. As an added plus, it’s close to the town of Forks, which if you’re a Twilight fan, is a pretty big deal.

It’s What You Think of When You Think of the PNW

When you think of the Pacific Northwest, what do you think of? Do rain, clouds, greens, ferns, and fog come to mind? If so, this is exactly what you can find in the Hoh Rainforest which makes the perfect spot for couples wanting to see everything the Pacific Northwest is made of.

How to Elope in the Hoh Rainforest

We’ll dive into each of these in more detail, but in the meantime, here’s a quick overview of everything you need to know about how to get married in the Hoh Rainforest.

  1. Choose your ceremony location
  2. Pick your ideal season
  3. Book your travel
  4. Get your special use permit
  5. Get your marriage license
  6. Know the tips and entrance fees
  7. Elope
A couple in wedding attire holding hands and walking towards the camera in the Hoh Rainforest.

4 Best Places to Elope in the Hoh Rainforest

Whether you’re looking for a location near the parking lot or one a few miles off the beaten path, the Hoh Rainforest has a handful of great locations to choose from. These happen to be the best 4.

Hall of Mosses Trail

The Hall of Mosses Trail is the best place to elope in the Hoh Rainforest. However, it also happens to be the most popular hiking trail in the forest, but for good reason. It’s a short 1-mile loop through the mossiest and largest trees in the forest. It’s one of my personal favorites to explore. However, the actual trail isn’t the largest, so weddings with more than 5 people are generally not recommended or approved by the park. Because it’s the busiest spot in the park, it’s pretty safe to say that you won’t ever have this area to yourself (unless you come around sunrise or visit in the winter). If privacy is important to you, I would suggest this location for portraits, but not a ceremony.

Hoh River Trail

If you’re up for a bit of walking, consider having your ceremony along the Hoh River Trail. This 17.4 mile trail doesn’t need to be hiked the whole way through to get some incredible views. If you love ferns, you’ll adore this trail. Enjoy a ceremony amongst the trees, or walk out to access the Hoh River for a riverside ceremony. Similar to the Hall of Mosses Trail, this trail isn’t the largest, so weddings with more than 5 people are not recommended.

  • Trail length and difficulty: 17.4 miles roundtrip. However, you don’t even need to hike half a mile to get incredible views. The trail is easy and flat.
  • Max capacity: 3-5 people.
  • Crowd level: Fairly busy, plan for sunrise or sunset.

Spruce Nature Trail

The Spruce Nature Trail is one of my favorite trails in the Hoh Rainforest. The 1.4 mile loop through the forest is flat and super easy for all ages, making this a great location for elopements with older guests or kids. While the trail itself is a bit narrow, there are a few pull-offs that can be used for ceremonies. This trail also goes along the Hoh River and has some incredible spots for photos. Plus, it’s less busy than other nearby trails which is always a plus.

  • Trail length and difficulty: 1.4 miles roundtrip loop. Very easy and flat.
  • Max capacity: 3-5 people.
  • Crowd level: Somewhat busy, plan for sunrise or sunset.

Hoh Rainforest Campground

If you’re looking to bring more than 5-7 guests to your Hoh Rainforest wedding, I recommend booking a group campsite for your ceremony to accommodate your friends and family. My favorite campground in the area is the Hoh Rainforest Campground. Some group sites can even accommodate up to 12 people. This is also a fun place to celebrate with cake and champagne after the “I dos.”

  • Trail length and difficulty: No hiking required.
  • Max capacity: 12 people, though it depends on each site.
  • Crowd level: Fairly busy year-round.
  • Pro tip: Reservations are required between May-September. Outside of this, it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Less Crowded Locations Similar to the Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest is the most popular place in Olympic, which means it can get quite crowded. If you’re hoping for something a bit more intimate, check out these other rainforest locations that are super similar to the Hoh Rainforest!

Bogachiel State Park

Bogachiel State Park is one of the best spots for elopements with guests. This state park is located right outside of Forks, 40 minutes north of the Hoh Rainforest. It has a great forest trail, picnic tables, and even access to the Bogachiel River. This location can get a tad busy during the summer months because there are campsites within the park, but during every other time of year, you may get this entire place to yourself. Plus, it’s dog-friendly!

  • Trail length and difficulty: No hiking required.
  • Max capacity: 30 people.
  • Crowd level: Fairly busy in the summer, but quiet throughout the rest of the year.

Quinault Rainforest

The Quinault Rainforest, like the Hoh, is also a temperate rainforest, one of the last remaining ones in the world. I love this area of the park, not just because of the rainforest, but because of the other landscapes nearby. While it’s a bit far from all the must-see sites in the park, this is a great location to see waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and beaches. The particular rainforest trails in this area look the most similar to the Hoh Rainforest.

  • Trail length and difficulty: 0.9 mile roundtrip loop. Very easy and flat.
  • Max capacity: 3-5 people.
  • Crowd level: Fairly busy in the summer, but quiet throughout the rest of the year.

Queets Rainforest

The Queets Rainforest is one of my favorite hidden gems in Olympic. It’s a bit of a drive from the rest of the park, but a great place to consider for a crowd-free elopement. The trail itself through the forest is not large, so elopements with guests are not recommended in this location unless you have a ceremony near the river. The rainforest is right up against the Queets River and goes through both wildflower meadows, fern-covered floors, and mossy trees. In the winter, you have to cross the river to access the trailhead so it’s important to monitor the forecast beforehand.

  • Trail length and difficulty: 3 mile roundtrip loop. Very easy and flat.
  • Max capacity: 3-5 people, though potentially more depending on the ceremony site.
  • Crowd level: Not busy.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a super intimate spot, ask your photographer if they know of any secret spots. As a photographer who specializes in Olympic National Park elopements, I know how important finding a private spot is, which is why I have a list of incredible Hoh Rainforest-adjacent locations nearby that can’t be found on Google.

A couple in wedding attire holding hands and walking away from the camera in the Hoh Rainforest.

Best Time of Year to Elope in the Hoh Rainforest

The best time of year to elope in the Hoh Rainforest is the spring season. However, because the Hoh Rainforest is accessible and snow-free year-round, you really can’t go wrong with any month of the year.

March, April, and May

The spring season is my personal favorite time to visit the Hoh Rainforest and most recommend season for an elopement or wedding. The winter rains replenish the forest, making the greens as vibrant as they’ll be all year. The trails are also much more quiet this time of year which means less people and more wildlife. Aside from some occasional rain, you really can’t go wrong eloping in the spring.

June, July, and August

During the summer, the Hoh Rainforest sees a lot of people. The entrance to the forest is often backed up with traffic from 9am-6pm and parking is extremely limited. In the summer, you also don’t get to experience the forest at its peak. Depending on how hot it gets, some of the plants start to dry out and lose their beautiful green color. However, if you’re hoping for nice weather, the summer is a very pleasant time to visit.

September, October, and November

In the fall, very slight color changes can be seen throughout the forest. Most of the trees are evergreens, so don’t expect fall colors you see in places like Vermont or Maine. Instead, the colors are much more subtle. In the fall, summer crowds have died down and the weather is still quite pleasant. I usually recommend exploring this location at the end of October. It’s one of my favorite times of year to explore the entire park.

December, January, and February

Winter in the Hoh Rainforest is magical! There is truly no other word I can use to describe it. If you’re not opposed to rain (you shouldn’t be if you love the rainforest), then I recommend visiting in the winter. This is the one time of year where crowds aren’t an issue and where you even have potential of seeing the forest covered in a fresh blanket of snow. You’ll also probably run into some elk and some salmon swimming upstream. If I had to get married in the Hoh Rainforest, I would choose the winter season to do so.

Do I Need a Permit for My Hoh Rainforest Elopement?

Yes, but only if you have more than 5 people total at your wedding. This includes the couple, guests, and vendors such as a photographer, officiant, etc. If you have less than 5 people present, no permit is needed.

The permit costs $50 and can obtained by filling out the special use permit application and emailing it to @olym_permits@nps.gov. You will then be sent a link to pay for the permit if it gets approved. Try to submit your permit at least a month before your wedding date, though the sooner the better for processing.

Want more information about the permit process? Check out my super in-depth guide all about Olympic!

How to Get a Marriage License for Your Hoh Rainforest Elopement

If you’re coming from out of state, I highly recommend applying for your marriage license by mail. Washington has a weird 3-day waiting period which means you can’t get married until 3 days have passed after picking up your license, so unless you’ll be in Washington a few days beforehand, get your marriage license via mail.

You can get a marriage license from any county. I recommend getting one in Clallam County, which is located in Port Angeles. It’s the closest county to the park with a marriage license office.

Fill out the online application found here. Once this is complete, mail it into the office with a $62 money order or cashiers check. Mailing instructions can be found on the application.

Prefer to get a license in person? Fill out the application before walking into the office to pick up and pay for your license.

Still confused? Check out my super helpful guide on Olympic that walks you through exactly how to get a marriage license in the area.

How to Get to the Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest is located on the western side of Olympic National Park and is about a 4 hour drive from the Seattle Airport. You can also fly into the Portland Airport, which is around 4.5 hours from the forest. On your drive up to the forest, be sure to stop and check out the Quinault Valley. It’s one of my favorite places to explore!

Where to Stay for Your Hoh Rainforest Elopement

If you want to get married in the Hoh Rainforest, I recommend staying in Forks. This small town that served as inspiration for the Twilight franchise is only 45 minutes away from the forest and is the closest town with gas stations, grocery stores, and dining. It’s also near the coast, which means you get to explore some of Washington’s most famous beaches like Ruby and Rialto.

If you prefer to see other iconic sights in the park, I recommend staying in Port Angeles which is about 2 hours away, though close to sights like Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge. Plus, there is much more to see and do in Port Angeles than in Forks.

Here are a few places I recommend checking out in the area if you’re looking to stay close.

Hoh Valley Cabins – Aside from the campground, Hoh Valley Cabins is the closest place to stay near the forest. It’s a short 20 minute drive to the visitors center and the cabins are within walking distance to the Hard Rain Cafe if you need a bite to eat.

Homestead on the Hoh River – A gorgeous property on 16 acres of land. Enjoy coffee on the balcony, a fire pit, and private access to the Hoh River. Pick wild berries in season and enjoy apples and pears from the trees. Experience elk, birds, and other wildlife during your stay.

Cedar Creek Cabin – Stay in an authentic log cabin a little south of Forks. Here, you’ll find a fire pit, a wooden swing with a gorgeous view of the fish pond, and even a private trail through the woods down to the Bogachiel River.

Can I Bring My Dog?

Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on any trails or campgrounds in the Hoh Rainforest.

If bringing your furry friend along is important to you, consider exploring the Peabody Creek Trail or the July Creek Loop Trail, both of which that go through old-growth forests and allow dogs. My personal recommendation would be to check out Bochagiel State Park just outside of Forks. You can also explore the nearby Olympic National Forest, which includes a plethora of dog-friendly locations to choose from.

Everything You Need to Know about the Hoh Rainforest for Your Elopement

These are just a few tips and tricks I like to tell my couples before they make their way to visit the Hoh Rainforest so they’re as prepared as possible.

It’s Busy

If you read about each location above, then you already know this, but the forest is busy, especially in the summer. It’s not uncommon to have to wait in traffic just to enter the parking lot if you visit after 9am. Plan an early morning or sunset ceremony if you’re set on this location during the summer months.

Bring Rain Gear

It is a rainforest after all. In the summer, this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you visit any other time of the year, bring a jacket, umbrella, and whatever else you’d like to stay warm and dry with.

There’s No Service

You probably won’t get cell service in the area. I never do. Be sure to communicate the plan to your vendors and download the directions beforehand.

There’s an Entrance Fee

You’ll need to purchase a $30 7-day pass or $80 annual pass to park. You’ll pay this on the way in at the ranger station. Don’t forget to bring your wallet!

Hoh Rainforest Wedding Photos

Enough of the talking. Now it’s time to enjoy some images taken in the Hoh Rainforest to serve as inspiration for your very own Hoh Rainforest elopement or wedding and to see just how magical this place really is.

Hoh Rainforest Elopement Packages

I’m Brianna, an elopement photographer who specializes in adventurous outdoor elopements in Olympic National Park. I take a very hands-on approach throughout the planning process to make sure each step of your elopement is personalized and true to you. Take a peek below at what I include in each and every elopement package.

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in the Hoh Rainforest
  • A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
    • Personalized elopement location recommendations
    • Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
    • Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
    • 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
    • Customized elopement timelines
    • Optional complimentary officiant services
  • Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
  • Complimentary album design
  • 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
  • Travel fees to anywhere in Washington are already included
  • Starting at $6,500

If you’re looking for similar inspiration for your elopement, be sure to check out this moody Lake Crescent ElopementBoho Lake Cushman Elopement, and a stunning Sunrise Elopement at Hurricane Ridge.

Pin for Later

Don’t forget to pin or save these images to your computer so you can come back to this guide anytime you need to!

Don’t forget your FREE elopement guide!

An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.

A girl holding a camera and smiling.

You? You’re the kind of person that gets a lil’ teary eyed looking at an epic view…

That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.

These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.

If the mountains/beaches/redwood forests are calling your name, go ahead…

(I promise you won’t regret it.)

P.S. I’m Brianna. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.

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