What you’ll find in this Olympic National Park elopement guide:
- Why Get Married in Olympic National Park
- Olympic National Park Elopement FAQs
- The Best Time of Year to Elope at the Olympic Peninsula
- Olympic National Park Elopement + Wedding Locations
- What to Do for Your Olympic National Park Elopement
- Wedding Permits + Regulations
- Olympic National Park Elopement Packages
Why Elope in Olympic National Park?
Olympic National Park is very diverse in landscapes, which is part of what makes it such an amazing place to elope. If you’re hoping to experience multiple places and different scenery throughout your wedding day, this could be your park! In just one day, you can stroll on a sandy beach, hike to a roaring waterfall, see snow-capped mountain peaks, and walk beneath towering trees. Amazing!
Olympic National Park is also a great place to elope because you get so much wild beauty within a decent distance from large cities and airports. Drive times vary depending on where you are in the park, but you can expect a two-and-a-half to three hour drive to Seattle, Washington or a three to four-and-a-half hour drive to Portland, Oregon. Because Olympic National Park is a popular destination, you’ll find many options for cabins, campgrounds, lodges, and vacation rental homes to stay at in the area.
And the final reason to elope in Olympic National Park is that there’s something for everyone. The natural beauty of the park can be experienced in a number of ways and levels of accessibility. While there’s plenty of wilderness area if you’re looking for privacy and a more challenging experience, you can also hike easy trails or even see amazing landscapes from the comfort of a vehicle. This is great for couples who are looking for adventure on their elopement day but want to include family who might not be up for much hiking – they can have an experience of their own while still accommodating their guests.
Olympic National Park Elopement + Wedding FAQ:
Where is Olympic National Park?
Olympic National Park is located in the northwest corner of Washington, USA on the Olympic Peninsula. It includes areas along the coast, in the Hoh Rainforest, and the Olympic Mountains.
Can you get married at Olympic National Park?
Yes! Weddings and elopements are allowed in Olympic as long as you follow the guidelines. Read on to find out what those are!
How do you elope in Olympic National Park?
First, find a location you love, then apply for a permit if needed (read more on that below). Learn all that you can about the park before you go so that you have the best experience. Then elope in Olympic National Park and have the best day ever!
Where can I elope in Olympic National Park?
Weddings + elopements are allowed in many areas of Olympic National Park, including the Hoh rainforest, Crescent Lake, Ruby Beach, and Hurricane Ridge. Check out the list of locations below to be inspired!
Can you get married at Hurricane Ridge?
You can get married at Hurricane Ridge! You’ll need to check with the permit ranger to find out if your exact spot is approved for the safety of you, visitors, and the environment. Find out more about locations and park rules below!
When is the Best Time of Year to Elope at Olympic National Park?
Because the park is so diverse in its landscapes, eloping at Olympic is a great option year-round. That’s pretty awesome! The weather, temperatures, and experience will definitely change each season, but there’s truly no “bad” time to visit and elope as long as you know what to expect. If you’re trying to decide when to get married at Olympic National Park or if you have a set date and are looking for a place to elope, decide what kind of scenery you want and what kind of climate you’re okay with. Pair that decision with the seasonal information below, and you’ll get a good picture of when eloping in Olympic National Park is right for you!
Spring Elopement Weddings at Olympic National Park
As with many places, spring is a bit of a transitional and volatile time of year at Olympic National Park. In general, temperatures are warming and rainfall amounts are decreasing, but it’s not uncommon to experience snow and heavy rain up until June. Visitor counts start to rise in May, but are still lower than June through August. If having a relatively private elopement ceremony is important to you, spring may be a good time to elope at Olympic National Park. Increased wildlife sightings are likely as elk and other animals munch on new spring growth, and May is a great time for birders to watch spring migrations. Waterfall levels are also high from the winter rains, so get out there and check them out!
Summer Elopement Weddings at Olympic National Park
Many people will call summer the “best” time to visit and elope because it’s warmer, sunnier, and drier than other seasons in the park. Although you should always expect rain, you’ll be less likely to experience the nearly constant downpours of the winter months. Interestingly, evening fog is what keeps the moisture-loving plants of the Hoh Rainforest hydrated in the dry season. Temperatures are milder as well, with highs in the mid 60s and 70s in the Hoh Rainforest and western coast, and the mountains (Hurricane Ridge) in the 50s.
With all that great weather also comes the highest number of park visitors. June through September is peak season in Olympic National Park, with July and August seeing the highest number of visitors. If you’re planning to explore the wilderness areas or don’t mind potential crowds, the warm and dry weather can be worth eloping in the summer. Just be sure to plan your Olympic National Park elopement far in advance and book your campground or lodging as soon as you can to ensure you snag a spot.
Fall Elopement Weddings at Olympic National Park
Autumn is a magical time of year to elope just about anywhere, but Olympic National Park in the fall is pretty amazing! If you’re wanting gorgeous fall leaves, elope in the Hoh Rainforest. Scattered throughout the mossy forest, Bigleaf Maples put on a beautiful display of giant golden leaves in October. The fall scene is completed by mushrooms of all kinds growing on stumps, the forest floor, and tree trunks along hiking paths sprinkled with colorful fallen leaves.
In Olympic National Park’s mountains at higher elevations, you’ll start to see winter conditions of snow and freezing temperatures. Hurricane Ridge will likely get snow, and the surrounding mountains will be beautifully blanketed. If you want to visit the beaches, bring a jacket to combat the coastal breeze and chilly temperatures.
Speaking of temperature, what can you expect for your fall elopement? It’s going to vary by location, but plan for highs in the 30s in the mountains and a milder range of 40s and 50s for the coast and rainforest. In autumn, expect significantly more rain than during summer months. Average rainfall in the Hoh Rainforest is thirteen inches, eleven inches along the coast, and only two to four inches in the eastern rain-shadowed sections of the park.
Winter Elopement Weddings at Olympic National Park
A winter elopement at Olympic National Park isn’t for everyone, but it can be an amazing experience! If you love snow, consider visiting Hurricane Ridge and enjoy the many winter sports available there. Just be aware that the road is only open on weekends during limited hours and could close at any time due to inclement weather. You’ll also need to bring chains for your vehicle and be prepared to drive in snowy conditions. Bundle up for the below freezing temperatures, and always bring extra layers just in case!
The Hoh Rainforest is at its most vibrant green in the winter months. Rain and melting snow bring the forest its highest amounts of precipitation (often over 20 inches a month) in November, December, and January. I personally think part of the magic of the Olympic Peninsula and its amazing forest scenery is the rain – as long as you bring some great rain gear and realistic expectations for your elopement, it will be fine! You can also take a stroll along the quiet beaches of the Pacific Coast and enjoy seeing the extra large crashing waves.
It’s really important to check weather conditions as well as trail and road closures at the park any time of year, but especially during the winter months. I also highly recommend having a backup plan for your elopement, which is something I do for all of my clients. You never know when your chosen elopement location might get hit with a big snowstorm, flooding, or other unsafe weather. I know all this information could sound like big reasons not to elope in winter, but I promise it can be fun and oh so beautiful! Just be prepared. 🙂
Olympic National Park Elopement + Wedding Locations
Lake Crescent Elopement Weddings
Hoh Rainforest Elopement Weddings
In my opinion, the Hoh Rainforest is quintessential Olympic National Park scenery, and one of the best places to elope! This mossy forest has a magic that you just won’t find anywhere else. It’s an amazing experience to walk beneath the iconic towering trees draped in green mosses. (For you Lord of the Rings fans out there, you will definitely feel like you just stepped foot in Fangorn Forest!) Whether it’s a sunny day with rays of sunshine filtering through the trees or a misty and moody day, you’ll find the Hoh Rainforest to be beautiful!
The most famous of the Hoh Rainforest trails is the Hall of Mosses, but I also really love the neighboring Spruce Nature Trail. At only about a mile long each and with basically no elevation change, these trails are doable for just about any hiker. The scenery here is amazing for elopements – thick forest, giant ferns, an abundance of mushrooms, views of the Hoh River, and even a wetlands area. Because these two trails begin at the Hoh Rainforest Visitor Center and are relatively short and easy, don’t expect to have the paths to yourselves. If you want more privacy on your elopement, I’d suggest going early or late in the day, visiting during the off season, or checking out some of the less frequented trails in the area.
Hurricane Ridge Elopement Weddings
If you’re looking for amazing views on your elopement day, definitely hit Hurricane Ridge! The drive up to the visitor center and parking area is beautiful as it winds through forest and up the mountain. At the top is the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center (open daily in the summer, and on weekends, depending on the weather, in winter) as well as overlooks and numerous hiking trails. In the winter months, this is also a popular starting point for skiing, snowshoeing, and more. The trails can be steep, but are well worth it to go even a short distance to take in the amazing views of nearby mountains. From the visitor center and parking lot, you can see towards Mount Olympus and many other spectacular mountains. Even if you don’t have your elopement ceremony at Hurricane Ridge, it’s worth coming up at some point in your day to witness the beauty of the Olympic mountains!
See what the views are currently like with this Hurricane Ridge webcam from Olympic National Park!
UPDATE: In May 2023, the lodge at Hurricane Ridge burned down completely. Due to debris removal and construction, there’s limited parking on the ridge, although busses are always running. The road is periodically closed as well, so keep this in mind as your plan your Olympic National Park elopement wedding.
Ruby Beach Elopement Weddings
When talking about beautiful beaches in Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach is sure to come up. The towering rock formations jutting out of the water and sand make a striking landscape. Even if you don’t have your elopement ceremony at Ruby Beach, it’s worth coming for a picnic or to enjoy the sunset!
To get to Ruby Beach, you’ll start in a small parking lot (with pit toilets) and walk down an inclined path with brush on either side. When you reach the beach, you’ll see some of the most iconic of the rocks right away, as well as a stream running into the ocean. If you want to head north along the beach, bring rain boots to cross the stream if the water level is high. Ruby Beach is one of the most popular coastal locations in Olympic National Park, so expect to see quite a few people on your elopement day, especially on weekend and at midday.
Waterfall Elopement Weddings at Olympic National Park
Beach Elopement Weddings at Olympic National Park
Olympic Peninsula Wedding Venues
If you’re looking to get married somewhere slightly more traditional, look outside of park at some of the Olympic Peninsula’s beautiful wedding venues. Many venues include a rustic setting in nature while still offering the convenience and comfort of indoor facilities. Here’s a list of some of the best wedding venues on the Olympic Peninsula:
Fern Acres Weddings
If you’re looking to get married in a magical forest wedding venue on the Olympic Peninsula, this is the place! Fern Acres has gorgeous moss-covered ceremony spots and a beautiful garden for outdoor receptions. There’s even a fire pit to enjoy in the evening! Fern Acres is located in Forks, WA (on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula), and accommodates weddings as well as elopements.
1154 Big Burn Place
Forks, WA 98331
Kalaloch Lodge Weddings
Located along Kalaloch Beach, this lodge has beautiful views for your wedding ceremony. Say your vows by cabins, overlooking the ocean, and then host your reception indoors or outdoors. Kalaloch Lodge can accommodate up to 50 wedding guests outdoors or smaller numbers for an indoor celebration.
Forks, WA 98331
Lake Crescent Lodge Weddings
This picturesque lodge on the banks of Lake Crescent is an idyllic place for a small wedding. Located in the northern section of the Olympic Peninsula, it’s less than two hours from Seattle and just outside of Port Angeles. Your guests can stay at your wedding venue in one of the old camp style rooms and cabins at the Lake Crescent Lodge.
416 Lake Crescent Rd
Port Angeles, WA 98363
Also located by Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula, NatureBridge offers beautiful indoor and outdoor venues for your wedding. Choose from a variety of beautiful natural spaces or use the indoor facilities of Rosemary Inn – a turn of the century venue with a library, dinning room, and more – or the more simplistic classroom-style Storm King Hall. You and your wedding guests can also stay on the property in one of the cabins. Choosing this venue comes with an added bonus – you’ll be supporting the mission of NatureBridge as they bring environmental science programs to schools and students.
111 Barnes Point Rd,
Port Angeles, WA 98363
Lake Quinault Lodge Weddings
Another lakeside Olympic Peninsula wedding venue, Lake Quinault Lodge is a lovely historic property. With a large stone fireplace, cedar shake siding, and beautiful grounds, you’ll have picturesque indoor and outdoor options for your ceremony and celebration. Over ninety rooms give you and your guests the option to stay on the property, and Seattle is less than a three hour drive from the lodge.
345 S Shore Rd
Quinault, WA 98575
What to Do for Your Olympic National Park Elopement Wedding
No matter what time of year you’re eloping at Olympic National Park, there are fun activities you can do. I always recommend tailoring your elopement day to fit your personalities and the things you enjoy, which is something I assist couples with planning. Within the park and the surrounding areas, you can find a variety of both adventurous and relaxing things to add to your itinerary.
Activities to Do for Your Olympic National Park Elopement Wedding:
- Watch for whales on a boat tour from Port Angeles or on the Puget Sound
- Water ski on Lake Crescent or Lake Ozette
- Enjoy a picnic on Ruby Beach
- Snowboard or ski down slopes at Hurricane Ridge in the winter
- Paddle through rivers and lakes or sea kayak along the coast
- Backpack along the Hoh Valley or North Coast trails
- Bring your binoculars and watch for birds at the wetlands and coastline
- Fish for trout, salmon, and more in the park’s waters (following regulations)
- Hire a guide and climb Mt Olympus or other nearby peaks
- Soak in the hot springs of Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
- Hike through the magical Hoh Rainforest and its moss-clad trees
- View the stars on a clear night, or through a telescope at a ranger-lead program
- Hunt for sea life in tidal pools
- Munch on s’mores around a campground campfire
- Trek through the snow with cross country skis or snowshoes
- Stamp your National Park Passport at the three park visitor centers
- “Farm-hop” along Sequim’s Lavender Trail
- Roll through the scenery at Spruce Railroad trail on rented bicycles
Olympic National Park Wedding Permits + Regulations
Olympic National Park has pretty relaxed regulations for weddings and elopements, which is great news for couples wanting to elope in the park! That said, it’s very important that you still follow the rules and apply for a permit when necessary so that you can help protect the park and its beauty. If your elopement includes 5 or more people (including you and your partner), you’ll need to apply for a wedding permit. You’ll need to have your date, a time, and a specific location picked out before you apply. Pro elopement photographer tip: if you can, avoid a weekend date for your elopement so that you have more privacy for your ceremony. Once your wedding permit has been issued, you’ll need to pay a $50 fee, which is an absolute bargain to elope in such an incredible location. You’re allowed to have minimal setups for elopement and wedding ceremonies (chairs, etc.), but check with the park to see if what you want to bring is allowed. An additional photography permit is not needed for your elopement photographer if you already have a wedding permit.
I highly recommend talking to the permit manager before you make any concrete plans for your elopement. A phone call is a great way to ask questions and get valuable information, or you can send an email. Once you’re ready to apply for your wedding permit, go to the special use permits page on the park website to download and fill out the application. Please note that the information here about Olympic National Park wedding and elopement permits and rules was gathered directly from the permit manager in October 2021, but could change at any time. Again, please reach out to the park via the special use permits page to get up to date information. 😉
Olympic National Park Elopement Packages
Throw out everything you know about cookie cutter elopement packages and open yourself to a more personalized experience! You deserve an elopement that’s fun, meaningful, and feels 100% you so that you can relax and enjoy the beauty of Olympic National Park. When you work with me, I’ll help you dream up a tailored-to-you elopement, take on the burden of planning the details, and then photograph every amazing moment. My unique elopement packages give you the opportunity to have a personalized wedding day in Olympic National Park without the stress and overwhelm of planning it all on your own.
Olympic National Park Elopement Packages Include:
✓ Half day, full day, and multi-day photography options to cover your day of adventure
✓ Photographer travel to anywhere in the Olympic Peninsula, including multiple locations
✓ A fun photo experience where you feel comfortable, relaxed, and connected
Unlimited planning assistance
✓ Personalized location suggestions + scouting
✓ Guidance with navigating Olympic National Park wedding permits
✓ Creative suggestions on how to personalize your celebration
✓ Custom elopement day timeline planning
✓ Recommendations of the best elopement vendors in the Olympic Peninsula
✓ Coordination before + during your elopement day
✓ Backup plans ready to go for your day
✓ Packing + prep list customized for your adventure
✓ Marriage license advice + witness signature
✓ Assistance with finding travel accommodations in the Olympic National Park area
✓ Access to my stash of adventure gear
✓ Leave No Trace education + eco-friendly tips
Incredible photos to remember your experience
✓ Hand-edited, high-resolution digital files
✓ An online gallery for sharing + downloading photos worldwide
✓ Printing rights to all photos
✓ Professional quality prints, canvases, and albums available for purchase
Olympic National Park elopement photography packages start at $6,500.
Read more (here –>) about elopement packages at Olympic National Park and the kind of elopement planning and photography experience I offer!
Want to Have Your Wedding or Elopement at Olympic National Park?
It’s clear that having your wedding or elopement at Olympic National Park would be an unforgettable experience, and I hope this guide has given you the information you need to make your dream wedding day happen. After all, you deserve an amazing, tailored-to-you elopement day without stressful planning! I’d love to guide you through the elopement planning process and ease that burden with my ideas, experience, and expertise.
▼ Fill out the form below ▼ to get in touch and find out more about packages so we can create your perfect Olympic National Park elopement!