One of the best places to elope in the PNW is definitely Olympic National Park – a huge park that covers much of the west coast of Washington, offering a huge variety of incredible landscapes! If you’re planning an adventurous wedding, whether you want backdrops of mountains, forests, waterfalls, or beaches, you’ll find it here. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to plan an Olympic National Park elopement, and to prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!
What You Should Know About an Olympic National Park Elopement
Before we start planning your Olympic National Park elopement, here are a few things you should know about the park.
When you get married at Olympic National Park, you should prepare to have little to no cell service. The park is remote and rugged, and many parts of it are undeveloped. Before you get into the park, you’ll definitely need to fill up on gas, download offline maps to navigate, and make a plan with any vendors or guests that you’ll be meeting up with.
Leave No Trace in Olympic National Park
With so much wild beauty, it’s super important to keep the park and the ecosystems healthy, clean, and gorgeous! Brush up on LNT (Leave No Trace) before you go. LNT is a set of 7 principles that help us reduce our impact on the outdoors, so here’s what you need to know:
- Plan ahead and prepare – get an elopement permit, download offline maps, and be prepared for the trail, road, or adventure you plan to take!
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces – don’t go off trails, as it damages plant life.
- Dispose of waste properly – pack out anything you pack in, and don’t leave anything behind,
- Leave what you find – don’t take anything with you from the park! This can include rocks, shells, or flowers.
- Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire) – stay up to date on any burn bans, and if you make a campfire, be safe and put it out when you’re done.
- Respect wildlife – there are mountain goats, deer, bears, and other wildlife in the park. Keep your distance, don’t bring dogs (they aren’t allowed in the park), and never feed the animals!
- Be considerate of other visitors – blocking trails or walkways isn’t allowed when you elope in the park, and neither is loud music or decorations.
Olympic National Park Wedding Permits
A permit is required for ceremonies in Olympic National Park, even tiny ones! You can find the permit application online, and the requirements differ depending on the size of your ceremony. Be sure to apply for your Olympic National Park wedding permit at least a month in advance, though more time is best to ensure that they have time to process your application!
The Best Time to Get Married in Olympic National Park
Before you set a date for your Olympic National Park elopement, you’ll need to know about the moody, dramatic weather that it’s known for.
Spring is great for lower elevation spots, but Washington is known for rain – so be prepared for some drizzle! The rainy season usually lasts until April or May, and even then, it can be unpredictable. This time of year, you can see wildflowers and wildlife!
Summer is the best time to elope for most couples, as it’s sunny and warm. The snow in the mountains usually melts by mid July, so July and August are the best for couples hoping to hike or visit the higher elevation areas.
Fall is stunning, with fall foliage and incredible views. It’s much less popular than summer, and if you elope in early fall, you’ll likely have warm sunny weather! In the mountains, snow starts to accumulate in October, while lower elevations tend to get rainy.
Winter offers a unique winter wonderland in the mountains, while coastal areas are cold and rainy. It’s a great time to avoid crowds, but you’ll need layers and waterproof gear.
Olympic National Park Elopement Locations – Where to Get Married in Olympic National Park
One of the most exciting things about planning an elopement is deciding where to tie the knot! Here are a few of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park.
Hurricane Ridge Elopements
For mountain views, you can’t beat Hurricane Ridge! The jagged mountain peaks seem to stretch forever, and you’ll have some of the most incredible views of the snow capped peaks. There are trails that begin here, along with easily accessible picnic areas – so you can choose your adventure.
Lake Crescent Elopements
Lake Crescent is one of the most iconic spots in the park, and it makes for a gorgeous elopement location. The Lake Crescent Lodge is on the shore, and there are plenty of amazing spots around the blue lake, with mountains surrounding it. Nearby, you’ll find the Hoh Rainforest – a temperate rainforest that makes a lush, green backdrop for your day.
Ruby Beach Elopements
If you want to tie the knot on the moody coastline of Washington, Ruby Beach is one of the best places to elope in Olympic National Park! The sea stacks in the water, driftwood covered beach, and dramatic crashing waves are absolutely incredible.
Getting Legally Married During Your Olympic National Park Elopement
To get legally married when you elope, you’ll need a marriage license. You can get one at any county clerk’s office in Washington state, but it’s often easiest to get it from the King County office. They’ll allow you to apply online, and receive your marriage license by mail – perfect for out of state couples!
Once you have your marriage license, you’ll need an officiant and two witnesses to sign it when you elope.
Olympic National Park Elopement Packages
As an Olympic National Park elopement photographer, I’m here to help you plan the perfect day! I’m here to embrace your free spirited, wanderlust-seeking self, and work with you to plan an adventure that perfectly suits the two of you.
Your elopement day should be unique, so I’ll help you plan an elopement that’s truly one of a kind. If you’re ready to elope in Olympic National Park, contact me – let’s start dreaming!