How To Elope In Alaska: National Park Elopements

When dreaming to elope in Alaska, you’re really planning an epic once-in-a-lifetime trip! Alaska is the largest and most sparsely populated U.S. state. It’s a landscape of untouched sprawling wilderness—much of which is protected by state agencies. 

You can really get a taste of remote living and wilderness adventure when eloping in Alaska. Maybe you’ve been to Alaska and want to experience its stunning beauty for your elopement. 

On the other hand, maybe this is your first trip to this magical state! Either way, just a quick look at images of Alaska prove that this is an incredible place to create your own adventure. 

Alaska is truly an epic elopement location, no matter which part of the state you choose to visit. It’s also one of the most remote locations in the United States where you’ll need to be prepared with outdoor survival skills in many of the parks.

Alaska is home to eight amazing national parks, and all of them are contenders for a dream elopement. 

Let’s review each park and then head over to check out the top amazing activities for your Alaska adventure elopement! 

couple hiking around an alpine lake on their Alaskan elopement adventure

When to Elope in Alaska

Although Alaska is beautiful all year round, the cold winter weather and ice are some things to prepare for. Be sure to take plenty of time to consider the weather and what Alaska elopement activities you want to experience. 

Also be sure to consider which region you’re interested in traveling to, since weather, temperature, and precipitation varies widely from the north to the south. Summer is the most popular time to visit, whereas winter gives you the best opportunity for seeing the Northern Lights.

In springtime, things are starting to warm up, but take note that you might be dealing with melting snow, which might not be the landscape you want for hiking or photos.

In early fall, the weather is more moderate, but moving into November, there’s a likelihood of snow and freezing temperatures. 

Related: Check out my post on how to stay warm during a winter wedding!

Depending on the time of year and where you’re visiting, you can experience a wide variety of daylight hours. Check out this handy Alaska Daylight Hours Calculator to estimate how much sun you’ll have during the time you’ll be there. This is an amazing tool for photographers and travelers who want to know when to catch the best natural light for photos!

Related: How to plan your dream mountain elopement

couple hiking through the forest on their Alaskan elopement adventure

Marriage Licenses and Permits

Getting your marriage license in Alaska is pretty straightforward. Download your marriage license application here and send it in with the $60 application fee. You don’t need a blood test or physical exam, and you don’t have to be a resident of Alaska to get your marriage license.

You’ll be able to pick up your license within 3 days, and the license is good for 3 months after you pick it up. Your application, however, is valid for one year! 

In terms of permits, each park will have its own rules and regulations regarding ceremonies and photography. Be sure to check the National Park Service’s website to see information on fees, rules and restrictions for your elopement ceremony location. 

Let’s get into the list of national parks!

Alpine lake in front of cloud covered mountain peaks in glacier bay national park elopement

1. Elope in Alaska: Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve is located on the Southeast coast of Alaska, in the Glacier Bay Basin area. The Glacier Bay area is on the Gulf of Alaska, and the landscapes here are serene. View the breathtaking mountains and glaciers, where glaciers cover over a quarter of the area! This is a super popular cruise ship destination, too.

Despite cruises and tourist traffic, Glacier Bay remains a wilderness sanctuary. It’s also a World Heritage Site, meaning it’s recognized by UNESCO for having significance in culture, history, and is worthy of being preserved for its “outstanding universal value to humanity.” 

There are over 1,000 glaciers in this region, tidewater and terrestrial, as well as lagoons, rainforests, snow-capped mountains, and tons of opportunity to explore by foot, boat, and air taxi!

a mountain and glacier in front of a fjord in kenai fjords national park during an elopement

2. Elope in Alaska: Kenai Fjords National Park

Permit application fee: $100, submitted at least two weeks in advance

Located about 130 miles south of Anchorage in Southcentral Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park is a sight to behold. From lagoons and orca spotting opportunities to kayaking within sight of tremendous icebergs, Kenai Fjords is a spectacular elopement location.

Check out the Kenai Fjords special use permitting info here. Be sure to submit your permit at a minimum of two weeks in advance, but earlier if possible!

Bear Glacier Lagoon

Bear Glacier Lagoon is an amazing place to explore by watercraft—in this lagoon, set between a glacier and its moraine, you’ll see huge icebergs, glacial-fed waters, and the Pacific Ocean. You can explore by kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and even camp close by. 

Exploring the lagoon is quite adventurous and it’s important that you keep safety tips in mind. You definitely will want to stick to your comfort and experience levels when choosing to explore lagoons in this area!

a moose walking through streams flowing in front of snow-capped mountains at denali national park in alaska for an elopement

3. Elope in Alaska: Denali National Park 

Permit application fee: $200

Park entrance fee: $15 per person

With over 6 million acres of protected land, Denali National Park is a popular destination for travelers. It’s also one of the most accessible. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be battling tourist traffic all day. 

Denali is a preserved, pristine park with few roads and millions of acres of land. With tons of spectacular hiking trails and air taxi services, there’s all the potential for a private elopement here!

Denali is home to the highest summit in North America, Denali Mountain, which soars to over 20,000 feet! A must-do activity is taking a helicopter ride up to the summit for a jaw-dropping experience together with your love.

Check out the most up-to-date special use permitting info here.

Northern Region

The northern region contains 16 state parks, winding rivers, cool calm lakes, forests, and Big Delta State Historical Park for the knowledge-hungry traveler. 

Maybe you want to embark on a helicopter tour of the Denali summit or one of its abundant glaciers. You can even land on a glacier, strap on boots, and explore the frozen landscape for a super unique and memorable adventure together!

Here you can check out the reservable facilities in the Northern Region. 

4. Kobuk Valley National Park - Northwest Alaska 

Described as “an ancient and current path for people and wildlife,” Kobuk Valley is a national park that’s incredible for an Alaska adventure elopement. There are no roads leading to this park, so most people travel by air to get here. 

During the summer, you can access the park by foot or on watercraft. In the winter, snowmobile access is common. You must be prepared with winter survival skills to attempt to visit this park in the winter! 

Kobuk Valley is very remote, and don’t expect there to be equipment rental services—if you plan to do any snow sport adventures, you’ll need to bring your own equipment and supplies. 

5. Wrangell St. Elias National Park - Southeastern Alaska

Park entrance fee: Free

Wrangell St. Elias is located in Southeastern Alaska along the Canadian border. It’s the largest national park in the United States and home to Mount Wrangell, one of the largest active volcanoes in North America. 

This park beholds a vast landscape of snow-capped mountains of four different mountain ranges, winding rivers and streams that lead to impressive glaciers, historic mining sites, and so much more. Boggy forested lowlands, coastal areas where sea life dwells, and craggy mountains where mountain goats roam… you can experience so much beauty and nature here!

Surprisingly, there are no entrance fees to this park. 

6. Katmai National Park and Preserve - Alaska Peninsula 

Permit application fee: $200

Located on the Southern Peninsula of Alaska, Katmai National Park and Preserve is stunning, remote, and only accessible by plane or boat. There are six active volcanoes in the park! Here you’ll get ample opportunities to explore the volcanic mountains and look out over the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes, a valley filled with volcanic ash from the 1912 volcanic eruption of Novarupta—the largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century. 

At Katmai, you can hike forever, go backpacking, take boat tours, and spot wildlife including brown bears dining on sockeye salmon.

For elopements in Katmai National Park, there are two separate permitting forms: one for weddings with 5 or fewer people, and one for more than 5 people. Download the permit application forms here and mail in the form a minimum of 10 days in advance.

7. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve — South Central

Over 4 million acres of craggy mountains, tundra, sparkling rivers and lakes, and ample wildlife viewing opportunities abound in Lake Clark. Are you beginning to see a trend here?! This is another incredible park in Alaska for the adventure elopement of your dreams. This is also a place where natives still live off the land, and it’s the home land of the Dena'ina Athabascan people

Located about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, Lake Clark is pretty accessible, although you can’t drive into the park. However, you can take a small aircraft from Anchorage into the park, which ends up being about a 1-hour flight. 

8. Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Another vast area of protected wilderness is Gates of the Arctic. No roads, no visitors center, not even trails to be found—visitors to this park must fly or hike in. 

April to October are the only viable months to visit, as winter temperatures reach well below 0*F during the winter. March is when the dog sledders begin to stir, and mid-June is when river ice begins to melt, inviting hikers and backpackers to start exploring. 

Check the National Park Service for recommendations on park access locations and make sure to be prepared with your winter survival skills if you choose to explore Gates of the Arctic!

couple snuggling around an alpine lake on their Alaskan elopement adventure

Conclusion

Alaska is the place to visit for the most adventurous couples who want a remote wilderness adventure elopement. No matter which of the National Parks you choose, you’re guaranteed to find vast untouched landscapes, mountainous terrain, running rivers, glaciers, and amazing wildlife viewing opportunities. 

Since Alaska is so remote, you’ll want to be prepared with outdoor survival skills to visit many locations in this state. 

Finally, if you want to learn more about how to plan your dream elopement, check out these resources and planning tips!

If you love national parks, check out my post on Everything You Need to Know for a National Park Elopement or my Utah Parks Elopement Guide! And if you think we'd be a great fit, check out my elopement packages here!

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