If you feel most at home in the mountains and can’t imagine getting married anywhere else, you’re in the right place. I feel the same way, which is why I’ve put together the ultimate planning guide filled with everything you need to know about how to plan a mountain elopement. This step-by-step guide is incredibly useful, filled with everything from weather and permits to locations and timelines, I can almost guarantee that you won’t find a more comprehensive guide out there about how to plan an elopement in the mountains.

As an adventure elopement photographer, I’ve traveled the world for years searching for the best mountain locations and I’ve finally found them. I’m excited to share them and a ton more useful information with you throughout this article. Without further adieu, let’s get into exactly how to elope in the mountains in 2024/2025.

7 Easy Steps to Plan a Mountain Elopement

I dive into greater detail about each section below, but in the meantime, here’s a quick list of everything you need to do in order to elope on a mountain.

  1. Choose your mountain elopement location
  2. Choose the best time of year to elope
  3. Hire your vendors
  4. Apply for your marriage license and get your permits
  5. Book your activities
  6. Book your travel and prep
  7. Create your timeline
  8. Elope!

Can I Elope on Top of a Mountain?

Yes! Whether you’re open to hiking 10 miles or looking for a drive-up, no-hiking-required mountain location, you can elope on top of a mountain. Check out some of the best mountain elopement locations below to start the planning process.

10 Best Mountain Elopement Locations in the US

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.

  • Best time of year to elope: The park is open from July-October. I personally prefer the end of September or beginning of October for clear trails, nice weather, and gorgeous fall colors.
  • Hiking required: No, but this area is home to some incredible secret location if you’re open to hiking.
  • Distance from major airport: 3 hours from the Seattle Airport.
  • Crowd level: Semi-busy. Compared to other national parks, this one doesn’t see many visitors.
  • Permit required: Yes, $50.
  • Important to note: These mountains are only accessible July-beginning of October. They’re covered in snow most of the year.

If you’re looking for more information about the North Cascades, be sure to check out this complete guide all about how to elope in North Cascades National Park.

Olympic National Park

The Olympic Mountains can be found in Olympic National Park, located in western Washington near the coast. Olympic National Park is the most diverse national park 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.

  • Best time of year to elope: Hurricane Ridge, the main mountain location in the park, is snow-free from June-October. You can visit this location year-round. I personally love the months of June and October here.
  • Hiking required: No.
  • Distance from major airport: 3 hours from the Seattle Airport.
  • Crowd level: Fairly busy during the summer. Plan for sunrise or sunset and you’ll see way less people.
  • Permit required: Yes, but only if you have more than 5 people present at your elopement, $50.
  • Important to note: This area tends to get a good amount of fog which can block out the mountains.

Read this super in-depth guide about how to elope in Olympic, and while you’re at it, take a peek at this incredible mountain elopement at Hurricane Ridge!

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. 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.

  • Best time of year to elope: August is incredible for wildflowers. However, if you’re looking to skip the crowds, visit in September.
  • Hiking required: No, but this park is well-known for all of its hiking trails!
  • Distance from major airport: 1.5 hours from the Seattle Airport.
  • Crowd level: Busy, expect people year-round. Plan for sunrise or sunset!
  • Permit required: Yes, $175.
  • Important to note: In 2024, Mt. Rainier is doing timed entry reservations to avoid overcrowding at certain park entrances.

Mt. Rainier caught your eye? Be sure to check out my super helpful Mt. Rainier elopement guide!

Mt. Shasta

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.

  • Best time of year to elope: October is an incredible time of year to elope in the area. I also really love May!
  • Hiking required: No, but the best views and locations are reached by hiking about 3 miles roundtrip.
  • Distance from major airport: 3 hours from the Sacramento Airport.
  • Crowd level: Not busy, super easy to find secluded locations.
  • Permit required: Usually, no. It depends on the location and guest count.
  • Important to note: Summers in this area are hot and can cause the snow to melt on the mountain which makes it look less dramatic.

Check out this incredible Mt. Shasta elopement guide written by a local (it’s me, I’m the 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. Plus, it’s right next to Yellowstone. 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.

Learn more about how to elope in Grand Teton National Park in this helpful guide!

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 in the state. 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.

  • Best time of year to elope: August or October. The summer is magical in Alaska!
  • Hiking required: No, but I do recommend it for some great viewpoints.
  • Distance from major airport: 2.5 hours from the Fairbanks Airport.
  • Crowd level: Not very busy, the area is so large that it’s easy to find a secluded location.
  • Permit required: Yes, $200.
  • Important to note: The weather in Denali is very unpredictable. The mountain is usually covered by clouds.

Get inspired and learn more about other epic mountain elopement locations in Alaska in this guide!

Lake Tahoe

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 is pretty hard to beat and is the location for couples seeking a more upscale experience.

  • Best time of year to elope: I really recommend the months of May and June for great weather and no crowds.
  • Hiking required: No, but it’s strongly encouraged for views.
  • Distance from major airport: 45 minutes from the Reno Airport.
  • Crowd level: Very busy, plan for sunrise or sunset.
  • Permit required: Yes, but permit costs vary on location.
  • Important to note: Tahoe is pretty busy year-round and is fairly dangerous to visit in the winter if you don’t know how to drive in the snow.

Check out my Lake Tahoe elopement guide here for more location info and tips!

Leavenworth

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.

  • Best time of year to elope: September and October are incredible months in the area. I also really love June!
  • Hiking required: No.
  • Distance from major airport: 2.5 hours from the Seattle Airport.
  • Crowd level: Moderate. Plan for sunrise or sunset to avoid the crowds.
  • Permit required: Usually, no, but it depends on the location.
  • Important to note: Leavenworth is famous in the wintertime. This is my most recommend winter mountain elopement spot!

Learn more about how to plan a magical Leavenworth elopement in my handy dandy guide.

Snoqualmie

Sno-what? Snoqualmie! It’s a very small town in Washington known for its 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, 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.

  • Best time of year to elope: June or October. Certain locations get very busy in the summer.
  • Hiking required: No, but there are some incredible trails in the area if you’re up for it!
  • Distance from major airport: 40 minutes from the Seattle Airport.
  • Crowd level: Busy in the summer, quiet throughout the rest of the year.
  • Permit required: Usually, no, but it depends on the location.
  • Important to note: In the summer, there is barely any parking for the major trails. This is a super incredible area for waterfalls.

Check out a super beautiful mountain elopement I photographed in Snoqualmie here.

Mt. Hood

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.

  • Best time of year to elope: June or October. This spot is busy in the summer!
  • Hiking required: No, but I recommend it.
  • Distance from major airport: 1.5 hours from the Portland Airport.
  • Crowd level: Busy in the summer, fairly quiet throughout the rest of the year.
  • Permit required: Usually, no, but it depends on the location.
  • Important to note: This is my most recommend location for couples looking to do a ton of things on their trip since it’s so close to both Portland and the coast.

Check out everything there is to know about how to elope in Mt. Hood here.

7 Other Notable Mountain Elopement Locations

Best Time of Year for a Mountain Elopement

August and September is generally the best time of year to elope in the mountains. However, each season has its pros and cons. You can learn more about what the weather is like at a majority of mountain locations below. Always research your chosen location to get more specific weather information.

July and August (Summer)

The summer season is the preferred time of year to plan a mountain elopement, specifically in August. By the time August rolls around, all mountain trails are snow-free and usually lined with wildflower meadows. Plus, you get the nice warm weather. The only con with the summer season is the crowds, so be sure to plan your elopement during sunrise or sunset.

September and October (Fall)

The fall season is one of my favorite times to photograph elopements in the mountains, specifically at the beginning of October where you can find incredible fall colors at almost all mountain locations. The fall season is great for cooler weather, minimal crowds, and gorgeous colors. However, the fall season can be a bit unpredictable, as most mountain locations start getting snow by mid-October which closes roads.

November-April (Winter)

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. However, if you love the snow and know the roads will be good, the winter is one of the most underrated times of year to elope in the mountains.

May and June (Spring)

The snow in the mountains usually doesn’t melt until July. The spring season can bring unpredictable weather, muddy trails, and snow-covered roads. However, there are certain mountain locations where the snow melts in June which makes this month an incredible time of year to elope – it really just depends on the location! Overall though, I recommend forgoing the spring season.

Do I Need a Permit to Have a Mountain Elopement?

Usually, yes. 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.

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. However, here is what I recommend bringing along for a mountain elopement.

Main Attire

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 such as chiffon or organza, or warming and heavier for winter like tweed and velvet.

Accessories and Supplies

These are things I recommend you have with you at all times throughout your elopement day.

  • Jacket – Temperatures at higher altitudes are much chillier, and even in the summer, you may feel a little cold.
  • Sunscreen – You’re closer to the sun after all! For real though, it’s way easier to get burned in the summer on mountaintops as there is very little shade.
  • Bug spray – Flies, mosquitos, and bees are not uncommon.
  • Socks – Thick, cooling socks are a gamechanger!
  • First aid kit
  • Bear spray
  • Snacks and water – Of course.

Footwear

The number one thing I recommend wearing is a good pair of shoes with tread. Think hiking boots, not sneakers. Unfortunately, heels or ballet flats are not practical and will more than likely break on the rough terrain and sneakers can get uncomfortable quite fast if you’re walking on rocky ground all day. For hiking boots, I really recommend the Columbia Newtons (I have these and love them) or the Danner 600s!

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.

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? Here are some of my favorite mountain elopement activities you can incorporate on your special day.

  • 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 (Washington has a ton you can explore)
  • 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

5 Must-Know Mountain Elopement Tips

Whether you’ve hiked a million miles through the mountains are are a first-time visitor, these are some of my personal tips and tricks to ensure your day goes off without a hitch!

There’s 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. Also be sure that all your vendors are on the same page about parking and meeting times.

Carsick? Bring Medicine!

Many of the roads to reach these higher elevation mountain areas are super windy. If you get carsick easily, be sure to bring some medicine for the ride.

Bring Sunscreen

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.

Prepare for Wind

Most mountains are super windy, so take this into account when you’re planning your hairstyle and attire. You may have to speak your vows a little louder at the top to cut through the wind.

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.

A bride and groom playing in the grass on their elopement day, taken by California elopement photographer, Brianna Parks.

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 of which include personalized planning assistance, to ensure you have the most stress-free and memorable elopement experience possible. You can take a peek at my packages below or head over to my official elopement packages page for more information.

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.

Want more mountain elopement inspiration? Check out my North Cascades National Park elopement guide, this epic Hurricane Ridge elopement, and my Northern California elopement guide!

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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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