The United States is home to over 73,000 different mountains, big and small. From the jagged peaks of Alaska to the fall-colored caps of Vermont, there are endless options to choose from for a mountain elopement. Whether you’re looking for a mountain location with 360 degree views, an accessible no-hiking-required spot for friends and family, or one covered with glaciers year-round, you’ve come to the right place.
As an elopement photographer who specializes in mountain elopements, I put together this super helpful guide all about how to plan your very own elopement in the mountains. If you’re curious about the best locations or simply want more information about what season is best for your trip, I have you covered. This is the ultimate mountain elopement guide. Let’s begin, shall we?
Mountain Elopement Checklist
- Step 1: Choose your mountain elopement location
- Step 2: Choose the best time of year to elope
- Step 3: Hire your vendors
- Step 4: Apply for your marriage license and permits
- Step 5: Book your activities
- Step 6: Create your timeline
- Mountain elopement packages
Can I Elope on Top of a Mountain?
Yes! Whether you’re open to hiking 10 miles or simply looking for an accessible location, you can elope on top of a mountain. Check out some of the best locations below.
10 Best Mountain Elopement Locations in the U.S.
Before choosing your elopement location, think about the scenery you want. Are you looking for dramatic, jagged peaks covered in snow? Prefer something more subdued like rolling hills? Not all mountains are created equal. To help you get inspired, here are 10 of the best mountain elopement locations in the United States.
North Cascades National Park
Some of the largest mountains in the lower 48 can be found in Washington State, and North Cascades National Park holds a majority of them. North Cascades National Park is located 3 hours north of Seattle, just under the Canadian border. It’s home to well-known mountains like Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuskan. The North Cascades region is primarily known for its short summer season. Fall comes quickly, and when it does, prepare to be awed with its yellows, reds, and oranges that sweep across the park. There are a variety of accessible locations, hiking trails, and wildlife. Filled with alpine lakes, vibrant wildflowers, and glaciers, North Cascades is a crowd favorite amongst mountain lovers.
Check out this complete guide all about how to elope in North Cascades National Park here.
Olympic National Park
The Olympic Mountains can be found in Olympic National Park, located in western Washington near the coast. Olympic National Park is one the most diverse national parks in the United States, boasting mountain ranges, temperate rainforests, and rocky beaches. The best mountain location in Olympic is called Hurricane Ridge. Open year-round, Hurricane Ridge is a favorite mountain location in both the summer and winter season. There are tons of picnic areas, deer, and hiking trails in the area. Hurricane Ridge is specifically known for its sunrises and stargazing tours. Olympic also has a variety of different locations with mountain backdrops such as Lake Cushman and Lake Crescent.
Check out a sunrise mountain elopement at Hurricane Ridge here.
Read the entire guide about how to elope in Olympic National Park here.
Mt. Rainier National Park
Rounding out our mountain elopement locations in Washington’s national parks is Mt. Rainier National Park. Due to its proximity to Seattle, Mt. Rainier is the busiest national park in Washington, and one of the busiest in the United States. However, Mt. Rainier is one of the best mountain elopement locations due to its accessibility. There are dozens of areas in the park where you get up close and personal with the mountain without any hiking. The park is famous for its wildflowers that cover the meadows in August and its many glaciers, the most you can find in the United States second to Alaska.
Check out this super helpful Mt. Rainier elopement guide.
Not many people have heard of Mt. Shasta, which is surprising considering it’s the second tallest mountain in the Cascade Range. Located in Northern California, Mt. Shasta is one of the most underrated elopement locations in the United States (and one of the most underrated places in general). With a plethora of different viewpoints and hiking trails, Mt. Shasta is an incredible place for a mountain elopement. If you love the mountains but hate the crowds, I’m positive Mt. Shasta would be the perfect place for you. As a local, if you’re willing to explore, I have a plethora of spots up my sleeve.
Check out this Mt. Shasta elopement guide (written by a local).
Grand Teton National Park
I can’t make a list of the best mountain elopement locations and not include Grand Teton National Park. Located in Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park is a very popular place for mountain lovers all around the world. The park gets a whopping 3 million visitors a year making it one of the busiest national parks in the United States. One of the main reasons this park is so popular is because of its accessibility. With dozens of road pull-offs, lakes, and historical landmarks, people of all ages come to visit the park to see its beauty. If you’re interested in a mountain elopement here, I highly recommend visiting during the spring or fall season in order to avoid the summer rush.
Check out a super in-depth Grand Teton elopement guide here.
Denali National Park
Denali National Park is one of the most breathtaking places in Alaska. While I could have included every national park in Alaska on this list alone, Denali is by far the largest and most grand mountain elopement location. Denali is the largest mountain in the United States and can be seen up to 200 miles away. While it is covered in snow most of the year, visit in the summer to experience the best Denali has to offer. Lakes, wildlife, and glaciers are just the beginning of what this incredible place has up its sleeve.
Get inspired by reading my Alaska elopement guide here!
Lake Tahoe is the perfect mountain location for couples looking for a luxurious experience with some outdoor beauty. Lake Tahoe is a popular destination in both the winter and the summer months. Visit in the winter to enjoy some of the best ski resorts in the country, or visit in the summer and sip a margarita on the shoreline. There are some great trails you can explore to get a great overview of the nearby mountain range, or more accessible wooded and shoreline spots for elopements with guests. Lake Tahoe makes a great honeymoon location as well. With 5-star hotels and delicious fine dining, this place can be hard to beat.
Check out my Lake Tahoe elopement guide here.
Leavenworth is a small Bavarian-styled village in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. It’s most famous for its Christmas light display and nutcracker museum which is on display throughout the winter season. They even have a reindeer farm! There are a variety of outdoor activities in the area such as kayaking, swimming, and hiking. Leavenworth is beautiful year-round, though I do recommend against a winter elopement in the area, as most mountain locations won’t be accessible that time of year and driving into town can be fairly dangerous.
Learn more about Leavenworth in my Leavenworth elopement guide here.
Sno-what? Snoqualmie is a small town in Washington known for their ski resorts and mountain lined highways. This is one of my most favorite locations, especially for mountain lovers who are looking for something accessible and quiet. Unlike the busy national parks, Snoqualmie is not a well known destination during the summer months, meaning finding secluded locations in the area is super easy. There are also a ton of waterfalls and lakes nearby if you’re hoping to explore everything the town has to offer.
Check out a mountain elopement photographed in Snoqualmie here.
Rounding out my list of the best mountain locations in the United States is Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon. Surprisingly, it’s the second most climbed mountain in the world (second to Mt. Fuji). The area is popular for its lakes and proximity to Portland and the Columbia River Gorge. Mt. Hood is another great location to consider if you’re looking for a less busy area to elope at. The fall season in this area is incredible, and with it being so close to Portland, its a dream for couples looking to plan their honeymoon and elopement all in one.
Check out my Mt. Hood elopement guide here.
7 Other Notable Mountain Elopement Locations
- Yosemite/Sierra Nevadas, California – A great national park, but super busy!
- Glacier National Park, Montana – Super beautiful, but again, very busy. They’re also very restrictive when it comes to locations for ceremonies.
- Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado – Popular area, but fairly restrictive when it comes to locations for ceremonies.
- Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee – The busiest national park in the United States!
- Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina – Stunning, but not the most grand mountain location there is.
- Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho – A hidden gem, but requires some traveling to reach.
- White Mountains, New Hampshire – Super rugged mountains, great for avid hikers!
What Time of Year is Best for a Mountain Elopement?
While eloping on top of a mountain during any time of the year would be amazing, it’s unfortunately not possible in most mountainous locations.
Because most mountains are at a higher altitude, they have get a ton of snow, making the window to elope fairly short if you want snow-free trails. August – October is generally going to be the best time of year for a mountain elopement. August is the prime month for wildflowers and October is the best month for fall colors. In some locations, you can stretch that time into the beginning of November, but most times, road closures begin happening mid-October.
In some locations, you can elope in July. However, it depends on the location, as many of the trails are still covered in snow.
If you can, avoid visiting most mountain locations in the winter unless the roads are consistently maintained. The amount of snow and ice can make getting to these locations very difficult and dangerous. If you’re not familiar with driving in the snow, don’t risk it. Plus, being freezing cold on your elopement day is never fun!
What Should I Wear if I’m Having a Mountain Elopement?
You can truly wear whatever you’d like for an elopement in the mountains. Most couples stick with the traditional dress and suit combination, but if you’re nervous about the temperature, be sure to choose fabrics that are either cooling and light for summer, or warming and heavier for winter. For all mountain elopements, I recommend bringing a jacket, even in the summer. Temperatures at higher altitudes are much chillier, and even in the summer, you may feel a little cold.
The number one thing I recommend wearing is a good pair of shoes with tread. Think hiking boots or sneakers. Unfortunately, heels or ballet flats are not practical and will more than likely break on the rough terrain.
Marriage License and Permit Information for Your Mountain Elopement
If you’re going to be getting legally married, you’ll need to apply for a marriage license (I can help with this), as well as your special use permit (I can also help with this)!
Depending on where you get married, you may need what’s called a “special use permit.” You’ll usually need this permit if you elope in a national park, national forest, or state park. This permit can be obtained through the national park or forest you’ll be getting married in. This permit essentially grants you permission to have a ceremony on the land. Failure to obtain a permit may result in a fine.
However, don’t be alarmed! Getting the special use permit is a very easy process. If you’re wanting to know how to get a special use permit, contact your elopement photographer and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Interested in any of the locations I talked about above? I have a guide for almost every mountain location listed that tells you exactly how to obtain a special use permit! You can view all my elopement resources here.
To get a better idea of what the process looks like, check out my Olympic National Park Elopement Guide and scroll to the permit section.
Pro tip: Most national parks limit guest counts. I recommend eloping with no more than 20 guests to have the most locations available as possible.
Must-Know Mountain Elopement Tips
#1: Prepare for no cell service. Most mountain locations do no have cell service. Make sure you download your maps to use offline and let a friend or family member know your plans.
#2: Bring medicine if you get carsick. Many of the roads to reach these higher elevation areas are super windy. If you get carsick easily, be sure to bring some medicine for the ride.
#3: Bring sunscreen and layers. UV exposure at high altitudes is substantially greater than at sea level, especially during the warm summer months. You’ll be quite surprised just how easy it is to get burnt. Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen and layers.
#4: Prepare for wind. Most mountains are super windy, so take this into account when you’re planning your hairstyle. You may have to speak your vows a little louder at the top.
#5: Altitude sickness is real. And it’s not fun. To make sure you acclimate properly to the altitude change, get to your Airbnb a few days before your elopement day so you’re feeling great and ready for your big day.
Mountain Elopement Vendors
I’m a bit biased, but before you hire any other vendor, be sure to hire a photographer who specializes in elopements. More specifically, hire an elopement photographer who has experience shooting in the mountains. Elopement photographers can be extremely helpful during the planning process. They can let you know what locations are the best, find hidden trails, give great weather insight, let you know about popularity of an area, etc.
After hiring your photographer, consider hiring other vendors to help bring your magical day to life, such as an officiant, planner, hair and makeup artist, florist, cake designer, personal chef, etc.
Below are some of my favorite vendors who have experience working outdoors, specifically in mountainous regions.
- Brianna Parks (photographer) – Oh hey, that’s me! I live in the mountains of Northern California and specialize in outdoor elopements in the Pacific Northwest! I help plan out-of-the-box, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences for couples who want to explore the Pacific Northwest at its best.
- The Slow Cult (planner, stylist, and florist)
- Tapestry Event Co. (planner + stylist)
- Beauty by Kait Joy (hair and makeup)
- Anne Timss (hair and makeup)
- Millsweet Flower Co (florist)
- Historia Florals (florist)
- Officiant Jimmie (officiant)
- Ceremonies by Meredith (officiant)
Mountain Elopement Activity Ideas
One of the best things about eloping in the mountains is the amount of activities you can incorporate into your day! I always recommend doing at least one activity that you two love doing together so you can remember your experience more vividly. Plus, how many times do you really get indulge and splurge on a day as unforgettable as this one?
- Enjoy a mountaintop breakfast picnic while watching the sunrise
- Hike to the top of the peak just before sunset to pop champagne and enjoy some cake
- Go skiing or snowboarding
- Book a nearby campsite to have s’mores and read letters from family
- Hike and camp in an iconic fire lookout
- Hire a personal chef at your Airbnb to cook an intimate dinner with friends and family
- Chase as many mountain waterfalls as you can
- Paddle-board, kayak, or canoe on an alpine lake in the mountains
- Go off-roading
- Take a private helicopter tour and land on an isolated mountain (definitely one of my favorite things ever, especially in Alaska!)
- Find a local hot springs
- Wait for the sun to go down to stargaze
- Bring your dogs and just enjoy the scenery
- Do yoga during sunrise (this is especially fun in Hawaii, trust me, I’ve done it)
Mountain Elopement Timelines
In a places as stunning as the mountains, I always recommend couples book more coverage than they think they need. In places like Olympic and Rainier where there is so much to see and do, take your time to soak it all in. Below are just a few example timelines to help you get some inspiration for your own mountain elopement.
12-Hour Minimal Hiking Elopement
- 10:00am – Brianna meets the couple at their Airbnb to photograph their brunch picnic
- 11:00am – Take a soak in the hot tub before adventuring out for the day
- 11:30am – Begin getting ready photos, along with detail shots
- 12:30pm – First look
- 12:45pm – Leave for a small 2-mile roundtrip hike with family up the mountain trail
- 1:15pm – Arrive at the location and begin the hike
- 2:15pm – Begin the mountaintop ceremony, followed with family portraits
- 3:15pm – Family heads to the Airbnb while the couple explores
- 4:15pm – Couple hikes back
- 5:15pm – Leave for dinner at the Airbnb made by a private chef
- 5:45pm – Enjoy dinner with friends and family
- 6:45pm – Start a bonfire with s’mores for dessert
- 8:00pm – Sneak away for sunset portraits, star images, and a private first dance
- 10:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves
8-Hour No-Hiking Elopement
- 8:00am – Brianna meets the couple at the mountain for their ceremony and portraits
- 9:30am – Enjoy a picnic brunch at the top of the mountain with your dogs while reading letters from family
- 10:30am – Leave to kayak on an alpine lake nearby while drinking champagne
- 12:00pm – Leave to explore the local mountain town, stopping at pulloffs and getting ice cream along the way
- 2:30pm – Head back to the Airbnb for a hot tub soak.
- 3:00pm – Enjoy the hot tub, cake, and a first dance.
- 4:00pm – Photo coverage wraps up, Brianna leaves.
Mountain Elopement Packages
I’m Brianna, a Pacific Northwest elopement photographer based in the mountains of Northern California. I offer a variety of different packages, all which include personalized planning assistance, to ensure you have the most stress-free and memorable elopement experience possible.
Mountain Elopement Package Pricing
- 4 hours – 3 days of elopement coverage anywhere in the world
- 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
- 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
- Travel fees to anywhere in the world are already included
- Starting at $6,500 for CA, OR, WA. $8,500 for the rest of the U.S.
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.
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.
(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.