glacier national park elopement

Planning a Glacier National Park Elopement: Tips, Advice, & More!

Filed in Elopements — September 10, 2021


If you’re planning a Montana elopement, you haaaave to consider Glacier National Park! In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, especially for elopements. It’s definitely my favorite of the Montana national parks!! There are one million acres and a seriously diverse terrain: alpine tundra, subalpine tundra, forestland, parkland, and grassland. There’s so much variety in the wildlife and views, you guys are almost guaranteed to find your ideal elopement spot!!

Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about planning a Glacier National Park wedding or elopement!

glacier national park elopement

Choosing a Season to Elope at Glacier National Park

The first thing to consider when planning a Glacier National Park elopement is the time of year you wanna go. In different seasons there are certain road closures due to weather, so if there’s a specific part of the park you’re set on, you might need to aim for a certain time of year. 

Most people suggest visiting in late June through mid-September for the most ideal weather! But if your goal is to avoid crowds, aim for mid-September through mid-October. 

I definitely suggest following the Montana National Parks website to see maps and road closure updates.

As for more specific times, consider eloping at sunrise or on a weekday for the most privacy! 

Choose a Location

East Glacier vs. West Glacier

With more than 750 miles of hiking trails in Glacier National Park, choosing a beautiful elopement location can feel overwhelming. The park is split down the middle by the continental divide, giving us two parks: East Glacier + West Glacier. The first step is to choose which one you want to visit because the weather, wildlife, views, & terrain are different on each side. (But if you have time, take two weeks and see both sides before/after your elopement!)

glacier national park elopement

Eloping in East Glacier 

East Glacier is windier, warmer, and generally higher in elevation than West Glacier. There are more bears, so park rangers recommend you always have bear spray with you! While Grizzlies are super cute, I doubt you want them involved in your elopement!

There are plenty of forests in East Glacier, but it’s not as dense as the forests in West Glacier! The further East you travel, the higher the elevation rises. If you’re looking for a climb, the highest peak is Mount Cleveland, where nothing survives at the top – there’s just a tundra!

glacier national park elopement

Hikes with stunning scenery to consider for your Glacier National Park Elopement!

  • Saint Mary Lake – Wild Goose Island
  • Many Glacier Valley
  • Grinnell Glacier – lotssss of wildlife and an iceberg you can walk on!
  • Iceberg Lake, where the icebergs float all summer long!! The hike there includes views of wildflower fields
  • Off the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a trail that takes you to 3 waterfalls in less than 3 miles. You can see Baring Falls, Saint Mary Falls, and Virginia Falls.

Eloping in West Glacier

There are more mountains and much denser forests in West Glacier! While there are fewer bears than in East Glacier, there’s still an abundance of wildlife, especially deer!

In an area called Avalanche you can see an actual rainforest. The NPS has built a walkway through part of it if you want an easy, accessible place for your gorg Montana elopement.

Other fun hikes for your elopement!

  • Sperry Chalet
  • Start at Logan Pass and head west on the Highline Trail
  • Apgar Lookout ends at a lookout over Lake McDonald
  • Bowman Lake, if you want a waterfront view
  • McDonald Creek (great to hike in the off-season too!)

The mountains cause the West side to be wetter, so it’s likely you’ll run into rain. But what’s more romantic than kissing in the rain? I say let’s bundle up and adventure on!

Lodging Near Glacier Lake, Montana

East Glacier

On the east side, the town of St. Mary has plenty of hotels, motels, and cabins right outside of the park. The Duck Lake Lodge can house up to 25 people if any loved ones are coming for your small Montana elopement, or you can rent a room just for the two of you! There’s a restaurant for all your meals and if you’re into fishing, Duck Lake is famous for its massive rainbow trout. Rooms start at $150/night. 

The biggest lodge in the park is Many Glacier Hotel! Some people call this area of the park the Swizerland of North America because of the rugged mountain peaks and clear, blue lakes. Prices start at $500/night and book up years in advance!

For $350/night, you can house 8 people in this beautiful 1906 luxury barn! Perfect if you’re planning a small Montana wedding and want some family to stay together.

glacier national park elopement
Photo by Airbnb

West Glacier

Right outside of the park is Belton Chalet built in 1915, where you can also get dinner. Their honeymoon suite is $175/night. It comes with a clawfoot bathtub and views that can’t be beaten.

Inside the park is Lake McDonald Lodge, built in 1913, with breathtaking views of Lake McDonald and several restaurants. The average cost is about $380/night, and reservations book up years in advance, so I would check that out ASAP!

If the two of you are really into the great outdoors, this yurt is cozy and perfect for soaking in some alone time with your new spouse! Be aware, there’s no cell service, so you’ll need to be okay with roughin’ it a little. But those views!! This off-the-grid yurt is $200/night. 

glacier national park elopement
Photo by Airbnb

If you’re planning a small Glacier National Park wedding, check out the Whistle Stop Retreat only 10 minutes from Glacier National Park! This adorable studio for only two people is $395/night, and there are dozens of other options if any family will be traveling with you. I recommend this because it’s righttt on the lake, which is the ideal place for sippin’ coffee and cuddling your boo in the morning.

glacier national park elopement
Photo by Airbnb

The Best Local Spots

Grab a drink before to loosen up before your elopement or afterwards to celebrate! Whatever you want, this is your day, and yummy local eats can only make it better. I can even come with you to photograph this part of your day so you can remember every little detail!

Breweries & restaurants near Glacier Lake, Montana:

glacier national park elopement

Leave No Trace

Last but certainly not least, minimize your footprint! Check out the NPS website that details their Leave No Trace policy:

  • Plan ahead & prepare
  • Stay on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors
  • Reduce the impact of social media
glacier national park elopement

Overall, follow these guidelines to minimize your footprint and to practice hiking and wildlife safety!

The relationship between you + your person is unique and magical. Your love story deserves to be celebrated however and wherever you want! Glacier National Park is a beautiful place for an elopement and I hope this helps your planning journey. Whether your dream is to get married by a waterfall, on top of a mountain, or while you dance underneath the canopy of a jungle, let’s make it one-of-a-kind. I’m here to capture every moment!

glacier national park elopement
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