As an Elopement Photographer based in the west, I am ALWAYS asked for the best west coast locations for mountain elopements!
I am a bit of a mountain person and am not afraid to admit it! I mean, I jump for joy when I get a mountain elopement inquiry! For this reason, I decided to create a list for all of those couples looking for jaw-dropping mountain views to say “I DO” at!
MOUNTAIN ELOPEMENT LOCATIONS
Located in the North Cascades, Diablo Lake Lookout is one of the most iconic places in Northern Washington state! Created by the Diablo Dam, it is beautiful and surrounded by thousands of pine trees and mountain peaks. Unlike most lakes, Diablo Lake is a creamy green color!
The lake is really easy to access as it is directly off Highway 20! You really can’t miss it! If you are like me and rely heavily on Google Maps to get from Location A to Location B, I recommend pulling up directions beforehand! There is limited to no service in the park! It is better to be safe than sorry!
Unlike most National Parks, there is no entrance fee! As you can imagine, this is good and bad! It is always nice not having to pay, but it can get relatively busy throughout popular visiting times! Diablo Lake’s busy season is typically from June to September. If you are planning your mountain elopement here, be mindful of that and consider doing it at sunrise!
My favorite trail is Thunder Knob Trail! It is a 3.3-mile hike out and back right next to the iconic Diablo Lake Lookout. It has a very similar view, but it isn’t as trekked which means that there will be more intimate moments with just the two of you!
Mount Rainier is a National Park located in beautiful Washington! It is located 59 miles south of Seattle. Something that not everyone knows about Rainier, is that it is actually an active volcano that reaches 14,000+ feet!
According to the National Park Service’s website, Rainier is “the most glaciated peak” in the United States of America! Its many glaciers create some of the most amazing backdrops for your mountain elopement location!
The mountain’s open season typically runs from late July to September or when the first snow falls. Because it is only open for 2ish months, people swarm during that time! If you are wanting a very secluded and private elopement, you may need to get crafty with your locations or try for sunrise!
Favorite Hikes/Locations around Mount Rainier:
- Naches Peak Loop Trailhead – 3.2 miles
- Tolmie Peak Fire Lookout – 7.5 miles
- Paradise – 25 miles of trails
- Pinnacle Saddle to Plummer Peak – 3.2 miles
- Panorama Point – 5.0 miles
Favorite Lodging around Mount Rainier:
NOTE: All of these are located in Packwood, Washington which is right outside the park.
Also located in the North Cascades of Washington, Mt. Baker, another active volcano, is known for its skiing, mountaineering, and incredible views! Listen, I hold a special place in my heart for all of these mountains, but I LOVE ME SOME BAKER!
It is only 1 hour and 30 minutes (give or take) from Bellingham, Washington which is the closest airport besides Seatac International SEA!
The open season here is from August to September or when the first snow falls! Your timeframe is very limited so make sure you are planning accordingly! I don’t know about you, but I feel like the fleetingness of time, makes eloping there even more desirable!
My favorite location in the area is Artist Point is one of my favorite places with mountains surrounding you on all sides.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Located within the gorgeous state of Montana, Glacier is ALWAYS on my list of the best locations for mountain elopements!
Glacier is open all year round except for the “GOING TO THE SUN” road. This road closes the first snowfall around late September/October and reopens in late June. It is closed between St. Mary Campground and Logan Pass. As a very popular location for photographers, this will need to be taken into consideration when planning your Glacier National Park Mountain Elopement!
Favorite Hikes/Locations in Glacier:
- Lake McDonald
- Hidden Lake at Logan Pass – 5.4 miles
- Bowman Lake
- Trails of the Cedars – 1.0 miles
- Two Medicine
- Big Bend (where the wildflowers are)
- Many Glaciers
Favorite Lodging around Glacier:
PRO TIPS FOR PLANNING A MOUNTAIN ELOPEMENT
When picking the best locations for mountain elopements, I recommend taking the lodging options into consideration as well!
I always tell my couples to look into renting a mountain Airbnb for either the two of you or with your friends and family to celebrate the joyous occasion! There is nothing better than ending your mountain elopement back at your cute and cozy Airbnb with a bottle of champagne, snuggled in the hot tub, and listening to your favorite music serenading you in the background! Can you think of anything more romantic? I mean, I can’t!
Because we are talking about mountains, there is something that we REALLY need to talk about…
You need to be aware of fire season! It is a big deal, and it is something that can definitely throw a wrench into your plans!
The Western United States Wildfire Season typically runs from July to December. It never runs the same dates every year, and it really just depends on how dry the winter before it was! Years with more precipitation will typically have a shorter season whereas years with little moisture will result in a longer season.
Having a backup plan is essential. As you are determining your elopement plans, make sure that you are considering the possibility that fires may change the way that your plans are being arranged.
Wildfires are one of the saddest parts of my job. I am constantly wandering through the mountains with my couples, and I am always heartbroken when I find out that one of my favorite locations has been burned. May we always remember how beautiful these mountain locations are and never take them for granted. We never know when it may be the last time we may get to experience them!
If you are looking for an Elopement Photographer and are needing help finding the best locations for mountain elopements on the west coast, I am your girl!
Send me a message HERE and let’s get this party started!