Eloping in Olympic National Park gives you the opportunity to live your fantasy.
Have you ever dreamt of getting married on the coast? In the mountains? What about eloping in a rainforest? Olympic National Park affords you all of these options in one gorgeous location. In this guide, I’ll give you all the information you need to start planning your dream elopement, so you can celebrate your love in the majesty of the Pacific Northwest.
We’ll walk through how to create an affordable and intimate elopement, capitalizing on the beauty of some of America’s most wondrous landscapes. Embrace the adventure of accessing the location of your choice, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re looking out over a fog-laced ridge or standing before a field of wildflowers, Olympic National Park offers a scenic backdrop worthy of your special day. I can help you rest easy knowing your elopement is supported and your moments are captured!
Where to Go in Olympic National Park
Did I mention that you can elope in the rainforest OR the coast OR the mountains all in one National Park? That’s a lot of options. If you’ve never visited Olympic National Park or the Pacific Northwest, you might want to give yourself some extra time around your special day to explore and take it all in with your adventure partner. If you’re just getting started thinking about a hiking elopement, you may also want to check out some of my tips for planning. Here are some of the best spots in Olympic National Park to consider when planning your elopement.
Kalaloch and Ruby Beach
Located on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach are home to a vast array of protected birds and marine life. Time your trip with the tides to discover the beauty of the tidepools while ensuring safe passage to and from your destination. Explore the stunning vistas and trek the coastline for the perfect space to capture your special moment.
If you’re looking for a truly majestic backdrop for your elopement, Hurricane Ridge is the ideal location. This mountain range is easy to access in the summer months and provides breathtaking views. Find yourself and your love amongst the clouds gazing out at snow capped mountains. You can even check out the park’s webcam to get a sense of what the weather is like ahead of your trek!
Hoh Rain Forest
If you want to be bathed in gorgeous green, Hoh Rain Forest is the place for your elopement. Receiving an average of 140 inches of rain each year, this remarkable area is filled with coniferous trees and a lush blanket of moss and plant life. Find yourself beside the ancient giants within this temperate forest for an intimate ceremony in nature’s sanctuary.
Pristine Lake Crescent offers a variety of options. Whether you’re staying close to the water and enjoying the sky’s reflection mirrored off its surface, or you’re hiking the surrounding foothills and mountains, there are many accessible and stunning options for your elopement. Located just 18 miles from Port Angeles, this is a great option for couples who are inviting any additional guests to join in the adventure.
For a more remote experience, head to Lake Ozette. While this location on the northwestern coast is about an hour from most other park destinations, here you can enjoy the coastline and even catch a glimpse of whales and sea lions during their migratory seasons. This is a great location for your elopement if you are interested in the indigenous history of the area with Makah Museum hosting hundreds of artifacts dating back thousands of years from the Ozette Archaeological Site.
Best Time of Year to Elope in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is open year round, and you can visit in any season, but you will want to take weather into consideration as you plan your trip. The National Park Service does a great job of keeping you up to date with road and trail closures on their website, and you can get a general feel for what the average weather is like for the date you’re planning your elopement.
June through September is the most popular time to visit the park, especially areas like Hurricane Ridge and Hoh Rain Forest which receive more snow and rain during colder months. In warmer days, you’re likely to find the best conditions for accessing the most places throughout the park, guaranteeing the elopement of your dreams filled with opportunity to catch glimpses of the park’s vast array of flora and fauna.
If you and your honey are snow bunnies, Olympic National Park is the perfect spot to elope in winter months. Hurricane Ridge averages 30-35 feet of snow! It goes without saying that you will need to pack accordingly. If you’re up for the adventure, there are few sights that can compare to the Olympic Mountains this time of year. Just be mindful that conditions vary and roads may not always be accessible. Other areas of the park including the Hoh Rain Forest and the coastline receive huge quantities of rain during this time, so be prepared for a misty moment!
Spring and Fall
These seasons just aren’t as behaved. There’s every chance you may find a warm and sunny day, but you’ll want to prepare for cold temperatures and rain just as you would in the winter season. These active seasons offer opportunities to see nature in transition, observe new plant life, or catch a glimpse of inverted clouds. If you don’t mind a little unpredictability, Spring and Fall are great times to elope in Olympic National Park.
Obtaining the Right Paperwork for Your Olympic NP Elopement
In order to get hitched without a hitch, you’ll want to ensure you’ve got the proper paperwork in order ahead of your trip. At Olympic National Park, this means you’ll need a permit, and of course, a marriage license.
Special Use Permit
In order to have your wedding at Olympic National Park, you’ll first need to obtain a special use permit, which you can download here at the National Park Service’s website. It’ll cost $50-$100 in addition to your entrance fee. If you’re regular adventurers, I recommend getting an America the Beautiful Pass to access all the National Parks you might visit throughout the year.
In order to elope in Washington, you first need to obtain a marriage license. You can do this online or in person, but you need to do it within 60 days of your elopement. You’ll have a three-day waiting period before receiving the license, so make sure you have it mailed to wherever you will be at that time.
Washington requires two witnesses as well as an officiant for your marriage. You may be eloping for a more intimate experience, so your photographer(s) can serve as witnesses on your trek.
How to Prepare for Your Elopement
You’ll want to make sure that you have everything you need for your elopement in Olympic National Park, and while you’re at it, everyone! With this gorgeous setting, an elopement photographer is an absolute necessity along with, of course, your officiant any witnesses, and any fur-babies you’re bringing along.
Make sure you and everyone with you is prepared to stay safe, preserve the integrity of the land, and have a wonderful time.
No matter the season, you’ll want to bring lots of layers. The weather in Olympic National Park can vary significantly from one location to the next, and there’s always a potential for rain! In addition to your wedding attire and extra clothes, you’ll want to make sure you have any makeup and jewelry tucked away securely. You may also want to bring photographs or objects representing loved ones, in which case, you’ll want to make sure they’re sealed in weatherproof bags.
Always bring snacks and water when you’re hiking. Even if you aren’t anticipating your elopement to be a very long outing or you have a meal planned when you return to town, you’ll want to have snacks handy to avoid any discomfort during your elopement.
Last but not least, Leave No Trace. Review guidance from Olympic National Park about what to expect, how to stay safe, and how to leave the park exactly as you found it. Take note of the ecosystems with which you’ll be interacting, and make sure you don’t interfere with them.
Where to Stay in Olympic National Park
Whether you’re planning to camp out after your elopement at Olympic National Park or you’d prefer to stay in a nearby town, you have a lot of choices for your stay. There are fifteen separate campgrounds within Olympic National Park, so you can find the best one for the location of your choice. The park also provides lodging at four different locations.
Additionally, you can find lodging in nearby towns like Port Angeles and Sequim where there is a wide variety of options from rustic to luxurious.
Let’s get started!
Now that you have a taste of what an elopement in Olympic National Park might be like, let’s get started with your planning! Whichever vista you choose for your special day, I’m happy to make the trek with you. As an experienced elopement photographer, I can help make sure you have everything you need and support you throughout the process. Get in touch if you’d like to talk about how I can help make your Olympic elopement a smooth and unforgettable adventure.