When you think of having a wedding in the Olympic National park, do you picture rugged peaks? This is the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people - but in reality, the landscape of the Olympic National Park in Washington is filled with so much diversity, that you can honestly experience any type of scenery you can think of.
I might be a little biased, being an elopement photographer in Washington, but this state is really one of the most beautiful places to elope and if you’re planning your wedding in the Olympic National Park, it’s bound to check all your boxes. From mountain peaks, to rugged coastline, rainforests, and hot springs the Olympic National Park has it all.
With so many amazing and picturesque locations to elope, the ONP will be sure to leave you jaw dropping and in love. Here is my guide to planning an Olympic National Park Wedding or Elopement.
1) Decide on your location and time of year, check out this guide for amazing locations to help you get started!
2) Pick your photographer. Finding your photographer can be one of the harder parts of planning your elopement, however if you want a photographer who specializes in elopements and intimate weddings, and someone who is going to be your elopement guide and adventure photographer, HI! I would freaking love to not only document your special day but give you a damn good elopement experience. Fill out my contact form to get started!
3) We’ll craft your one of a kind elopement experience and go over all the details so that you can have the best freaking day ever!
4) You’ll decide on your accommodations and lodging. I go over a bunch of campgrounds, lodging and RV details in this guide but you’ll want to pick a place to stay that aligns with your plans and is near your elopement location.
5) You’ll want to make sure you apply for a Washington Marriage license. It’s covered in this guide but you can check out my other resource on How to Elope in Washington for more info.
6) Kick back, relax and celebrate your love and commitment to one another in a unique and adventurous way. Because your day is more than just a wedding day, it deserves to be an experience.
Many of the epic spots in Olympic National Park can be somewhat of a hidden gem in Washington. Olympic National Park is located west of Seattle and takes up the northwest corner of the state. A great thing about planning your elopement or wedding in the Olympics, is that since it is such a large park, there are tons of trails where you can venture off to have a more private and intimate wedding celebration. But one of the best parts of having your wedding or elopement in the Olympic National Park is that you can visit multiple trails and locations all in the same day and make your wedding a true adventure experience.
If you want an easily accessible trail but don’t want to sacrifice the gorgeous view, Cape Flattery in Olympic National Park is an amazing spot for your elopement! Cape flattery is managed by the Makah Tribe and located on the tip of the coast in the Olympics. If you crave the rugged coastal vibe and want to feel like you’re cliffside to the ocean, A Cape Flattery wedding is for you! Learn more about visiting Cape Flattery on the Washington Trail Association website.
If your perfect wedding day consists of hiking, rugged peaks and amazing alpine views. You might want to consider choosing a mountain location to elope at. Olympic National Park has some pretty amazing views and while some of the peaks are more popular, as your adventure elopement photographer, I’m here to help you find the perfect secluded spots with the same views you dream of. I’ll name one of my favorite spots for a mountain elopement in the park. I like to keep a list of all of the gems that way we can make sure you have a unique and epic elopement location that isn’t your run of the mill spot. ;)
If mountain views are high on your list, you might want to consider Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Hurricane ridge is located just 17 miles south of Port Angeles. Hurricane Ridge is one of the most accessible trails in the park and on a clear day, has some of the most stunning views and can be accessed year round. The trail has a wide range of trail types from ridgetop traverses and steep trails that descend to gorgeous valleys and subalpine lakes. During the spring and summer months, you can find yourself amidst subalpine meadows and an abundance of wildlife. Hurricane ridge is easily one of my favorite locations for a wedding in Olympic National park given the jaw dropping sunset and sunrise giving panoramic views of the mountains.
If you’re wanting the rainforest vibe with a gorgeous waterfall, Marymere Falls in Olympic National Park is for you! Marymere Falls is located 20 miles west of Port Angeles and has a magical 90 foot waterfall surrounded by luscious sword ferns and moss. If a waterfall elopement is on your bucket list, check out the Olympic National Park site specific to waterfalls in the park.
If you’ve never seen an alpine lake before, then you’re in for a treat. Lake Crescent is one of my favorite alpine lakes in the ONP and absolutely stunning for ceremonies, portraits and engagement sessions. Situated about 18 miles west from Port Angeles, Lake Crescent also has tons of nearby trails that climb the surrounding mountains. This spot also has several picnic areas as well, making it easily accessible and family friendly. Marymere Falls is also closeby so if you’re wanting a lakeside elopement followed by stunning waterfall portraits, you’re in for a treat. For more info on planning your Lake Crescent elopement check out the Olympic National park site for Lake Crescent
Lake Cushman is situated in the Olympic National Forest and encompasses a 4,000 acre reservoir and overlooks stunning views of mountain peaks such as Mt. Elinor, Mt. Rose and Lightning Peak. If you want the best of both worlds (peaks and lake), an Elopement at Lake Cushman is an epic spot. It also helps that the area is large enough that you can easily find privacy, making your intimate wedding secluded while getting married amidst gorgeous landscapes. For more information on planning your Lake Cushman Elopement check out the Olympic National Forest website for details on the area and nearby trails.
If an elopement among alpine meadows, jeweled lakes and beautiful glacier peaks sounds like your jam, eloping at Lake Quinault may be the spot! Located in the southwestern area of Olympic National Park, Lake Quinault is about a 3 hour drive from Port Angeles and an hour from Forks, WA. Lake Quinault, just like the HOH is a temperate rainforest and a perfect location if you’re looking for seclusion, this is a great elopement location! For more info on planning your trip to Lake Quinault for your elopement, check out the Olympic National Park site for details.
In the town of La Push lies three beaches that are absolutely stunning and make for a dreamy elopement or intimate wedding. The first beach of La Push is accessible by car, making it a popular spot for surfing, hiking and fishing. The second and third beach of La Push are some of the best spots for a ceremony because they are not accessible by car, allowing you to have a private beach ceremony and celebration without the added tourism. Luckily, the hikes to the second and third beach are not too difficult and both are just shy of 2 miles long for hiking. For more info on planning your La Push wedding check out the La Push All Trails site.
Located on the Southern Coast of the Olympic National Park lies Ruby Beach and Kalaloch Beach. Both beaches are known for their abundance of marine life and long spanning sand filled beaches. These spots tend to be more popular, however the accessibility makes it great elopement location for couples that plan to have guests. It’s also a plus that Kalaloch Beach is so vast, leaving plenty of room to get away from the crowds and have a more secluded ceremony. Nearby is Kalaloch Lodge which sits right on the beach, making it a great spot for your all-inclusive getaway. If you prefer to camp, Kalaloch also has a large campground nearby so you don’t have to travel far from your elopement to your campsite. For more information on accessing Ruby and Kalaloch beach check out the Olympic National Park website.
Situated 75 miles from Port Angeles is a gorgeous sand beach with giant rock pillars overlooking the ocean. Rialto is perfect for those that want the beach access for their elopement in a peaceful area with a low tide. Only about 3 miles from Rialto lies the Mora campground. Mora campground sites are on a reservation basis during the summer months (June through September) and one of the larger campsites in the park, with 94 campsites in total. During the non-summer months, Mora Campground is on a first come first serve basis. Rialto is a short 30 minute drive from Forks, WA and only an hour from the HOH Rainforest and southern coast. Learn more about planning your Rialto Beach wedding and requirements by visiting Mora and Rialto on the Olympic National Park website.
If an adventure elopement calls your name and you picture getting married in front of waterfalls or terrain covered in moss and fern-- the HOH Rainforest is perfect! The HOH Rainforest is surrounded by hanging moss and reminds of getting married in Kauai or somewhere tropical. The HOH receives a ton of rain each year with an average of 140 inches, however don’t let the rain stop you. Known for it’s romantic enchantment, it’s a perfect place for your wedding. Situated 2 hours from Port Angeles, and an hour from Forks, WA, there are campgrounds in the HOH as well as lodging nearby. Within the HOH Rainforest lies tons of trails and elopement locations such as Sol Duc (hot springs), Hall of Mosses, and Spruce Nature Trail. For more information on the HOH Rainforest to plan your elopement check out the Olympic National Park site.
Most Campsites in the park are available on a first come first serve basis with a handful that require reservations during peak months (summer). For more information on campground requirements and details on securing your spot, check out the Olympic National Park Campground site.
Heart O’The Hills
Deer Park Campround
Fairholme Campground (nearby Lake Crescent)
Graves Creek Campground (nearby Quinault)
Hoh Campground (within HOH Rainforest)
Mora Campground (nearby 2 miles from Rialto Beach)
North Fork Campground
Queets Campground (neary Queets River)
Sol Duc Campground (within HOH)
South Beach Campground
Most campgrounds in Olympic National Park have spaces for folks that plan on camping in an RV. Most RV spaces throughout the park campgrounds are limited to 21 feet, however some campgrounds allow for larger RVs with lengths up to 35 feet. To find specific details on campground specific RV allowance, get in touch with the Visitor Centers and Ranger stations specific to the campground.
Olympic National Park costs $25 per vehicle to enter, but just like Mount Rainier National Park, you can get an America the Beautiful interagency pass for just $80 and visit any national park as often as you want!
Getting married in Olympic National park is going to be a freaking epic experience! You’ll want to make sure that you secure the proper ceremony permits specific to your location. Some locations may not require permits depending on the amount of guests present, but it’s always best to contact the visitor station and site page specific to where you are planning to elope.
The process for making it official isn’t hard! Here’s three steps to make it legal during your elopement. If you prefer to take care of the courthouse details later, many couples choose to sign all the paperwork beforehand (in your own state or washington) and not have to worry about the details on their day. It’s all about whichever way works best for you two!
Almost anyone can officiate a wedding or elopement. If you like the idea of having a friend or family member perform your ceremony, all they have to do is get ordained! They can do it on Universal Life Church in under 5 minutes. Another option is to hire an elopement officiant! There are lots of officiants who specialize in elopements and will join you on any adventure. A professional, experienced officiant will be able to custom tailor a ceremony for you. They’ll get to know the two of you as a couple, your relationship, and what type of ceremony you prefer rather it be more traditional or unique and out of the box.
If you’re not from Washington state, no worries. You can apply online or in person! A Washington marriage license is good for 60 days, but you must wait three days between when the license is issued and when you use it. So, make sure you apply for your license ahead of time! Your Washington marriage license can be used to get married anywhere in Washington – and after everything is done, your marriage will be valid in every state. You can click here for more information, and to apply for a Washington marriage license! For ceremony requirements specific to your elopement location, check out the section above to learn how to acquire the location-specific permits.
Washington requires two witnesses. If you’re bringing guests to your elopement, two of them will just have to sign your marriage license. However, don’t worry if your elopement plans don’t include any guests – you can ask two strangers to sign your license! Anyone you meet at your trail head or in the park is bound to be stoked to help you out. And, your photographer can be a witness as well.
I believe your photos should not just live in a box on a shelf or in a folder on a computer. You deserve to have your day told in a way that captures the magic and love that you felt in that moment, with the love of your life, celebrating in a way that was totally you.
Your day should be more than just a memory, it should be an experience and one you can look back on and relive over and over again!!
As your Olympic National Park Elopement Photographer, I want to not only document your day in it’s most authentic and beautiful form but also give you an elopement experience of a lifetime! I'm here to guide you throughout your planning and help you bring your vision to life. I offer several packages for eloping in Olympic National park and will send the full package guide once you get in touch! Packages start at $3,400. We offer packages starting with as little as 4 hours to all day coverage so you can have the best day ever!!
Your day is going to be so magical and I can’t wait to hear from you and help you plan your Olympic National Park elopement. If after reading, you decide that the Olympics aren’t for you, that’s totally okay. :) If you want to elope in a different park; check out the guide on how to plan a national park elopement.