Planning a Magical Glacier National Park Elopement is simply that: MAGICAL! If you have never experienced or seen the area, I want you to take a minute! Close your eyes and picture the jaw-dropping Switzerland Alps! Those incredible mountain faces are just a little bit of what you can expect from Glacier!
Hi! I am Annette, and I am a photographer that specializes in ADVENTURE ELOPEMENTS! I am also a bit of a national park connoisseur which is why this blog is my guide to everything you need to know about Eloping in Glacier National Park!
WHY I LOVE GLACIER NATIONAL PARK ⬇️
- Not overly populated like most national parks
- A LOT of options for easily pick out a hike where you can have your intimate ceremony in privacy
- Different views Glacier has to offer: lakes, glaciers, rivers, waterfalls, meadows, forests, etc.
- A ton of wildlife
- Activities could consist of hiking, canoeing, boat rides, white water rafting, helicopter rides, horseback riding, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc.
The best part?! There are so many roads that lead to jaw-dropping locations! This means that you don’t HAVE to hike to do Glacier! It is perfect for an adventurous couple who LOVES long hikes! It is also amazing for those couples that aren’t a big fan of hiking but love amazing views!
That is right! At Glacier National Park, you can have your cake and eat it too!
ABOUT GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Glacier is located in Montana and was actually the 10th one in the United States! It is 1 million acres and is home to glaciers (obviously), rocky peaks, super blue lakes and streams, and gorgeous forests filled with so many different trees.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCES: ⬇️
- West Glacier: Lake McDonald and the North Fork Country
- East Glacier: Two Medicines
- St. Mary: East Side of the Park
- Many Glaciers: Located on Route 3 and Many Glacier Road
- Polebridge: 35 miles north of Columbia Falls, MT on the North Fork Road (Hwy 486)
If you go through the St. Mary Entrance, you will be able to access my favorite road through Glacier National Park! This road is called “Going-To-The-Sun Road”. It has tunnels through the mountains and is surrounded by amazing views.
REQUIRED PERMITS ⬇️
Weddings and elopements at Glacier National Park require a special use permit, which includes a $125 fee. There is no way around this, and I recommend getting it before you plan anything else.
Download the special use permit application from their website and send it to the office with a check of $125 inside. You also could email a digital copy to email@example.com.
PRO TIP: Consider contacting their special park use office before submitting your application to make sure your date is available. Glacier is a very busy park and countless couples elope here!
MY FAVORITE LOCATIONS IN THE PARK ⬇️
- Rocky Point via Lake Mcdonald: Moderate 2.2 miles, out and back hike. It consists of a 262 ft elevation gain.
- Hidden Lake at Logan Pass: Moderate 5.3 miles, out and back hike. It consists of a 1,374 ft elevation gain.
- Two Medicines Lake: Moderate 9.7 miles, loop hike. It consists of a 718 ft elevation gain. NOTE: the loop begins at two medicines lake south shoe trailhead at the west end of the two medicine lower boat dock.
- Bowman Lake: Hard 26.2 miles (don’t have to do the whole thing), out and back hike. It consists of a 3,090 ft elevation gain.
- Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars: Moderate 5.9 miles, out and back hike. It consists of a 757 ft elevation gain. NOTE: Finding the Trailhead: trail of the cedars trailhead, across from Avalanche Picnic Area on Going to the Sun Road
- Big Bend (WHERE THE WILDFLOWERS ARE): Located on the Going to the Sun Road.
ALL OF THESE CAN BE ACCESSED THROUGH THE ALL TRAILS WEBSITE OR APP ON YOUR SMARTPHONE
TRAVELING INTO THE PARK ⬇️
- The Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) located in Kalispell, MT. is 30 mins from the park
- Great Falls, MT is about 2.5 hours away
- Spokane, WA is 4-5 hours away
- Bozeman, Montana is about 4.5 hours away
PLANNING YOUR GLACIER ELOPEMENT
CHOOSING WHAT TIME OF YEAR TO ELOPE IN THE PARK ⬇️
Unlike a lot of national parks that receive snow in the later months, the park is open all year! Portions of the Going-to-the-Sun Road do close, but you are still provided access to many locations and activities.
Keep in mind that the opening of the alpine location varies based on snowfall and plowing progress. For the portions that do close, there is no set date for them to open! It really just depends on the snowfall for the year! Typically the road is fully open in late June or early July.
Besides the inevitable snow closures, there are portions of Going-to-the-Sun Road that are also weather dependent. Typically the road is fully open until the third Monday of October, but that can change due to weather conditions at any point. If you want to know more about the weather and road conditions and policies, I recommend heading over to the park’s website!
Because Glacier National Park is one of the only parks really opened during the winter, a winter Elopement you highly recommend! You are able to get gorgeous snow glacier views, cozy up with your partner, drink hot cocoa, and say, “I do” with a romantic view of snow falling. TALK ABOUT A HALLMARK MOVIE!
The summer is definitely a busy season at the park! There are definitely ways to beat the crowds (sunrise elopements), but if you don’t like or want to fight the general public, maybe consider another season! I will say that you can’t beat the weather in July and August, though!
Glacier does tend to rain a lot more! Be prepared if it rains! It usually only lasts for 30 minutes or so and then passes over!
Fall and Spring Elopements:
Late Fall and early spring is my favorite time of the year with fewer crowds! You also are able to experience the fall leaves or the trees coming out of a deep winter sleep!
WHAT TO BRING ⬇️
- Food, snacks, and water
- Download Google Maps before entering the park (no cell service anywhere)
- Ride together (preferred) so we don’t get lost because there is no service.
- Champagne and other fun elopement day details
- Bring anything to photograph like making a picnic, blanket, fun mugs, drinks, dogs, etc.
- Bear Spray, Sunscreen, and Bug Spray
PLACES TO STAY ⬇️
Inside the Park:
ELOPEMENT VENDORS ⬇️
- Host: @shootoutsociety
- Flowers and Design: @jasminelillycreative
- Bride’s Dress: @jasminelillybridal
- Groom’s Suit: @revolvr_mens
- Hair and Makeup: @kung_fu_kenzie
I hope that this guide to Planning a Magical Glacier National Park Elopement was helpful! If you are interested in Eloping in Glacier National Park and are looking for an Elopement Photographer, I would love to chat!
Make sure to check out my previous blog: HOW TO ELOPE FOR ADVENTURERS where I discuss all the in’s and out’s of eloping!