If you’re on the hunt for an elopement location surrounded by lush green trees, mountains, clear blue lakes, or moody ocean views, then the PNW is the area for you!! I’m absolutely in love with everything about Washington and Oregon, and I truly believe they’re two of the prettiest states for an outdoor adventure elopement. With that, let’s get into 10 of the best places to elope in the PNW plus three helpful tips for a PNW elopement!
North Cascades National Park is a stunning area highlighted by the North Cascades mountain range! It’s only about 3 hours from Seatle, making it easy to access from the western side of Washington.
This park gives you absolutely incredible mountain views that you could only dream of! Aside from the snow-capped mountain peaks, you’ll find lush green trees, valleys, blue lakes, and windy roads that take you on a super scene drive. I highly recommend taking time to just drive through this area and take in all the beauty of the Cascades, and stop along the way at every overlook!
Here are a few beautiful spots to consider for your elopement in the North Cascades:
Olympic National Park is also located in western Washington but wayyyy western – along the Olympic Peninsula, near Port Angeles.
Oh man you guys, this is one of the most beautiful national parks in the country, in my opinion. It’s the absolute dream environment for anybody who loves some classic PNW moodiness! From the Olympic mountain range to unique, super lush rainforests, to moody beaches, it’s seriously got it ALL.
Olympic National Park has endless incredible spots to visit, so you really need to take more than a day or two in the area to explore! But here are some of the most popular places inside the park that are must-see’s:
Mount Rainier National Park is only about a 2-hour drive southeast of Seatle, making it a super accessible park to anyone in the state.
If you love the mountains & nature, you’ve probably seen plenty of photos of Rainier even if you didn’t realize it! The Paradise side of the park is filled with wildflowers, alpine meadows, and greenery everywhere. And the Sunrise side shows off a more wide-open, barren landscape. Keep in mind that Rainier gets snowy suuuper quickly in the fall, so it’s best to visit late spring & summer when there will be the least snow.
Colchuk Lake is a stunning blue lake in the North Cascades! It’s a little over 30 minutes from the small town of Leavenworth, so it’s a great spot to visit on a multi-day trip if you stay in town.
Colchuk is a gorgeousss deep blue lake nestled in the mountains, surrounded by green trees and snow-capped peaks! This is seriously an incredible spot to hit up in the PNW and is great for anybody who likes hiking to beautiful locations.
Cape Flattery is another amazing spot on the Olympic Peninsula, and it’s actually the northwesternmost point of the contiguous US!
The Cape Flattery Trail gives you epic views of jagged rock formations, caves, tidepools, and the Pacific Ocean. The lighting at this spot at sunset is breathtaking, with golden sun rays shining on the rocks & water next to you! Another UNREAL spot along Washington’s coastline.
The Columbia River Scenic Highway stretches across 75 miles of Oregon, famous for views of the Columbia River Gorge.
The gorge has no shortage of incredible locations spanning across the entire scenic highway & area! Not only are the views of the gorge itself super beautiful, but pretty much anywhere you stop along the highway, you’ll find secluded spots that match up just as well. The Gorge is one of the best places in the PNW for chasing waterfalls, as you’ll find many hidden in the lush green forests along the highway!!
I mean, you guessed it – the Oregon coast is on the coast of Oregon! 😉
I love the Oregon Coast because of its super unique beach vibe: moody allll around, similar to Washington’s beaches. You won’t find much sunny Cali weather on these beaches, but you WILL find so many amazing spots to explore! The coast has tidepools, ocean views, lush green forests (classic PNW), cliffside views, and soooo much more. I highly recommend making a multi-day trip out of your elopement and exploring different spots & towns along the coast!
Smith Rock is located in Terrebonne, a town in central Oregon. It’s one of the prettiest desert spots in the state!
I know, I know – did you even realize Oregon had a desert?! Smith Rock State Park offers stunning desert vibes & landscape, with wide-open fields, golden grass, epic sunsets, jagged rock formations, and all-around yummy golden goodness. This park is a no-brainer for any desert lovers wanting a barren but gorgeous landscape in Oregon!
The Painted Hills are located in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Area in Mitchell, OR. It’s easy to drive to this spot, get out of your car, and explore the area!
You guys, the Painted Hills has GOT to be one of the coolest locations in the state. The hills are regarded as “painted” for a reason – they show off all sorts of colored soil, from reds to yellows to blacks and golds. These tones change with the light of the day, and each hill looks completely unique. Also, the views in this area are unreal and make it look like you’re on a whole other planet!
And finally, I had to include Mt. Hood. This mountain is located just 20 miles east of Portland and boasts more of those classic PNW mountain views you dream of.
Obviously, you’ve got gorgeous mountain views here, but the Mt. Hood National Forest also includes beautiful forested areas of green trees, rivers, and waterfalls. It’s a stunning area to explore, and you can easily stay nearby in Hood River!
Now that you know 10 of the best places to elope in the PNW, I’ve got three quick tips for you to help plan for your PNW elopement!
One thing to remember about the PNW: the weather can be completely unexpected. You should prepare for any weather/season for your elopement, instead of banking on the fact that it’ll be sunny out. Don’t be afraid to fully embrace any rain or snow that comes at you, and make the best out of any + every situation!
Another thing about the PNW is that it is FULL of incredible hikes. However, not all of the beautiful locations require a 10-mile hike (or even a 3-mile one)! Know your hiking limits beforehand, if you even want to hike at all. Don’t try to push yourself too much if you know you won’t enjoy it – instead, find a spot that you can easily drive up to without having to hike much! Also, don’t force yourself to do anything that could be unenjoyable just for an amazing view – I promise you can find ones that are easier to get to.
Finally, plan out your timeline carefully + ahead of time! The sun will set earlier if you’re anywhere surrounded by mountains, so plan out what sunset will look like, and where the sun will physically set at your location. In short, this will make sure you don’t run out of lighting because you planned a sunset elopement as if you were going to be in a wide-open, sunny desert landscape!
If you’re dreaming of a PNW elopement now, reach out here – let’s plan your perfect PNW adventure together!
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