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February 13, 2023

Ultimate Guide to a Hiking Elopement in Washington State

Why should you elope in Washington State? With mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, beaches, waterfalls, snow and more, there is something beautiful here for everyone! Washington State has some of the most incredible National Parks in the country- Mount Rainier, the North Cascades and Olympic National Park- with some of the best hiking in the world! This is the ultimate guide to planning your hiking elopement in Washington State!

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Why You Should Choose A Hiking Elopement in Washington

While there are plenty of easy to access locations for photos, some of the most beautiful spots require a bit of effort to get to! The benefit of this is there are usually less crowds the farther you hike- which means more privacy and intamacy for reading your vows to each other. Really epic things like fire lookouts, alpine lakes, glacial tarns and color-changing larches are only accessible by hiking! You should get to experience some of these incredible places on your elopement- what better way to remember your day than with an amazing adventure! It can definitely be hard work with early mornings or late nights but at the end of the day you will have seen and experienced things with your new spouse that you’ll remember forever!

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Where To Have Your Hiking Elopement In Washington

There are so many incredible places to hike in Washington for your elopement day! These are some of the best hikes with the most amazing views!

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier is the classic location for a hiking elopement in Washington! There is nothing more breathtaking than watching the sunrise or sunset on the mountain. There are tons of options for hikes here ranging from 1 mile to 10+ miles so there’s a hike here for any skill level! And with some of the coolest cabins in Washington State nearby, Mt. Rainier National Park is one of the best places to have your hiking elopement!

hiking elopement at the skyline trail in Mount Rainier National Park

Skyline Trail

The Skyline Trail starts from the Paradise Visitor Center, passes by Myrtle Falls and through some meadows full of wildflowers before starting a series of switchbacks to the top of a ridge! At 5.5 miles and 1450 ft. of elevation gain, its difficult but with lots of diversity in the scenery that makes it worth the climb! You can get classic views of Mt. Rainier in the background here, but the trail can be a bit crowded so I recommend coming during a weekday and at sunrise! Check out this hiking elopement at the Skyline Trail for inspiration!

Couple hiking to Myrtle Falls during their elopement day in Mount Rainier National Park

Tolmie Peak

This is one of my favorite hikes in all of Washington! You get amazing views of Eunice Lake with Mount Rainier in the background- what else could you ask for in a hike? At 7.7 miles and 1100 ft of elevation gain it’s one of the longer hikes in Mt. Rainier National Park but it’s pretty gradual until the last stretch up to the fire lookout.

tolmie peak fire lookout mt rainier national park, washington state

Fremont Fire Lookout

At 5.6 miles and 1200 ft of elevation gain, the trail to Mt. Fremont Fire Lookout is one of the most popular hikes in Mt. Rainier National Park! Located on the Sunrise side of the mountain, this spot has an amazing fire lookout and epic views of the mountain. Definitely recommend coming here at sunrise because the crowds can be insane at sunset during the summer!

Pinnacle Peak

This hidden gem of a hike is short but very steep! Relatively unknown, the Pinnacle Peak Trail leaves from Reflection Lake and you ascend quickly through the trees until you reach a saddle with views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams on a clear day! If you’re up for an adventure there are some secret spots with even better views that involve climbing on scree and are not for beginners!

North Cascades

North Cascades National Park is one of the least visited in the United States- which is just crazy because it has some of the best hiking in the country! This North Cascades is amazing for an elopement because its much less crowded than other parks and has so many options for your hiking elopement in Washington! Check out my guide to eloping in the North Cascades for more inspiration!

Couple hiking during their elopement at Washington Pass Overlook in the North Cascades

Hidden Lake Lookout

One of the coolest places for a hiking elopement in Washington, you can actually spend the night in this fire lookout! It’s first come, first serve at Hidden Lake Lookout but can you imagine watching the sunset over the lake, stargazing at night, and watching the sun come up the next morning! At 8 miles roundtrip and 3000 ft. of elevation gain, this is a difficult day hike but definitely doable in one day!

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Maple Pass Loop

One of the greatest hikes in Washington, Maple Pass Loop has it all! Forests, lakes, mountains and in the fall, spectacular red, orange, and yellow colors! This 7.2 mile loop has 2000 ft. of elevation gain and is perfect for an elopement in late September or early October. With 360 degree mountain views and a lake, this is one of the most incredible places for a hiking elopement!

Blue Lake

One of the easier hikes in the North Cascades, the trail to Blue Lake is 4.4 miles roundtrip with 1000 ft. of elevation gain. This trail has stunning views of an alpine lake and can easily be combined with a stop at Washington Pass Overlook for even more incredible photos!

Olympic National Park

This park has some of the greatest diversity in Washington! You can go from the mountains at sunrise to the beaches for sunset and have an incredible views the entire day! With relatively easier hikes than the other national parks, Olympic National Park is one of the best locations for a beginners hiking elopement in Washington! Check out my guide to eloping in Olympic National Park if you need some more inspiration for your elopement day!

Adventure elopement at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

Mt. Storm King

Easily the best hike in Olympic National Park, the Mt. Storm King Trail is onliy 4 miles roundtrip but with 2000 ft. of elevation gain. The last section of the hike requires ropes to climb up it’s so steep! Watching the sunset over Lake Crescent is an amazing way to end your elopement day (and then there’s the climb back down the ropes for some more adventure)! There are tons of amazing Airbnb’s on Lake Sutherland that are close by- what better way to relax after a day of hiking than to take a swim in an alpine lake?

mt. storm king hike at sunset, olympic national park elopement, washington elopement

Shi Shi Beach

For an epic hike along the coast, nowhere is better than Shi Shi Beach! This 8 mile hike only has 200 ft. of elevation gain and can even be done as a backpacking trip! Much more remote than some of the more popular places on the coast, like Ruby Beach or Rialto Beach, it’s easier to find privacy on your elopement day.

Hurricane Hill

This easy hike along a ridge has incredible views of the mountains and wildflowers in the summer! At only 3.2 miles roundtrip, this hike is perfect for beginners who want amazing scenery without too much effort. It’s even accessible in the winter if you want to go on a snowshoeing adventure!

Couple in their wedding attire hiking at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park

Snoqualmie National Forest

The Snoqualmie National Forest has some of the closest hikes to Seattle for those that don’t want to drive too far! Many hikes in this area are accessible year round and are relatively easy. Because of the close proximity to Seattle, these hikes can be very crowded on weekends in the summer. I recommend these lower elevation hikes in the winter and spring when other mountainous areas are covered in snow!

Couple hiking at the top of Rattlesnake Ledge during their adventure elopement in Washington State

Rattlesnake Ledge

This 4.4 mile roundtrip hike has over 1000 ft. of elevation gain and is definitely a workout! It’s a good location for a sunrise elopement with amazing views over Rattlesnake Lake and mountains in the background. Check out this couples elopement day at Rattlesnake Ledge for inspiration!

Franklin Falls

One of the easiest hikes on the list, Franklin Falls is an awesome waterfall that totally reminds me of Iceland! At only 2 miles roundtrip, this hike is great for beginners! This trail is even accessible in the winter, but when the road is closed it adds on another 4 miles roundtrip. Check out this romantic elopement at Franklin Falls and Gold Creek Pond!

Couple eloping in front of a waterfall in Washington State

Snoqualmie Falls

The hike to the bottom of Snoqualmie Falls is great for beginner hikers! It’s around 2 miles roundtrip and not very steep. We just have to be careful with the wet rocks at the base of the waterfall! To get to this hike, you have to be a member of the Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater (which luckily I am) and because it is private property, you’re very likely to have this waterfall hike all to yourself! Check out Nicole and Bo’s hiking elopement here.

Bride and groom standing next to Snoqualmie Falls on their elopement day in Washington

Central Cascades

With endless mountains and alpine lakes, this is my favorite part of Washington to explore! It rains less on this side of the mountains and can get really warm in the summer!

colchuck lake hike washington

Colchuck Lake

For the ultimate hiking elopement in Washington, you have to explore Colchuck Lake! This 8 mile roundtrip hike has 2300 ft. of elevation gain and can be brutal, but has one of the most beautiful lakes in Washington! It’s located close to Leavenworth, Washington, a small german-themed town that has Oktoberfest in the fall! If you’re feeling extra adventurous you can even hike up Aasgard Pass into the Enchantments! In the fall, this area is full of larches (pine trees that change to yellow and orange) and the cool weather is perfect for the difficult hiking. You can even jump into Colchuck Lake to cool off!

Lake Valhalla

Another epic lake hike near Leavenworth, Lake Valhalla has incredible views and fall colors! This is the perfect hike for a picnic elopement in the fall. At 7 miles roundtrip and only 1500 ft. of elevation gain it’s a moderate hike where you should have plenty of privacy for your elopement!

barclay lake snowshoe washington

Barclay Lake

The hike to Barclay Lake is one of the shortest on this list! At only 4.4 miles and 500 ft. of elevation gain, its pretty flat and has amazing views of the mountains! This hike can be accessible in winter and spring, but you have to be aware of avalanche risks!

When To Have Your Hiking Elopement In Washington


Summers in Washington are short but incredible! Some years snow won’t melt in the mountains until after the 4th of July, but all of these hikes should be accessible in July and August! Wildflower season starts in the mountains at the beginning of August and is an amazing time to elope at Mt. Rainier! Swimming in alpine lakes, kayaking, and paddleboarding are possible activities to add to your hiking elopement! The one downside to summer is it can be very crowded in the national parks; to get around this you should choose a weekday to elope and consider a sunrise elopement!

Bride and groom surrounded by wildflowers during their elopement at Mount Rainier National Park


September and October might be the best time of year for a hiking elopement in Washington! The summer crowds have gone home and the cooler weather is more comfortable for hiking. Many locations are even better with fall colors; depending on the year and elevation, colors start changing midway through September. Snow is possible in October but depends on the year.

bride and groom walking through the Hoh Rainforest during their fall elopement day


Winter in Washington involves a lot of rain and snow. The mountains will be covered in snow, and many roads will be closed – but there are lots of places where you can snowshoe, resorts where you can ski, and tons of winter wonderland to explore! Lower elevation areas and places near the coast don’t get a ton of snow, but they will likely be rainy – but bring some waterproof boots and enjoy the moody views!


Spring can be a great time to elope in Washington state, as the snow starts to melt and the weather warms up. Mountains will still be covered in snow, but you can start exploring lower elevation areas. It’s also a great time to see waterfalls in full force, and to spot some wildlife. Late spring is one of the best times to tie the knot – the summer crowds haven’t arrived yet, but the weather is often pretty nice. It can be a bit unpredictable, so be prepared for anything, but the good news is that when it rains, it’s usually just a light drizzle!

Couples elopement on a rainy day in Washington State with umbrellas and a mountain in the background

What To Pack For Your Hiking Elopement In Washington

Hiking on your elopement day comes with some logistical challenges- when you’re on top of a mountain you can’t just head back to your hotel room if you forget something! That’s why its so important to be prepared for anything when we head out for your elopement day hike! These are some of the best things to pack for your hiking elopement in Washington

  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking attire
  • Elopement attire
  • Bouquet
  • Vow books
  • Rings
  • Marriage License and pen
  • Backpack
  • Warm layers
  • Extra socks
  • Down jacket
  • Raincoat and/or umbrellas
  • Hat and gloves
  • Headlamps
  • Snacks
  • WATER!
  • Picnic blanket
  • Bug spray
  • First Aid Kit
  • Signs, lanterns and other accessories
Couple wearing hiking boots during their adventure elopement in Washington State

How To Plan Your Hiking Elopement in Washington

1. Envision your perfect day

Your elopement day should be the perfect adventure for you- whether that means hiking two miles or ten! There are so many amazing things to do in Washington it can be hard to narrow it down! Would you rather get married surrounded by wildflowers in the mountains or in front of a waterfall? Do you want to end the day in a hot tub at your Airbnb or stay out all night taking star photos? Do you want to have a picnic next to an alpine lake or hang out at a brewery after a long hike? Think about what activities you want to do, what kind of scenery you want to say your vows in front of, where you will have your first dance, and if you need help coming up with ideas for your elopement day, your photographer can help you!

Summer elopement with wildflowers at Mount Rainier National Park

2. Hire your photographer

Your photographer will be able to help you plan out your best day ever! You should choose someone who is an expert in Washington locations and has lots of hiking experience! You’re going to be spending one of the most important days of your lives with this person so make sure you find someone who loves nature and adventure just as much as you do!

Bride and groom in front of the Red Top Fire Lookout near Leavenworth, Washington

3. Choose a date and location

When choosing a date for your hiking elopement in Washington, make sure you consider the what kind of weather you’re likely to encounter and what scenery you want on your elopement day. If you want to elope in the mountains, summer or fall are when they’re most accessible and you’ll have a better chance of good weather. If you want to elope on the coast, it’s always accessible but it can rain year round. Waterfalls can be best during the spring when they’re full of snow melt. Also think about what kind of scenery you want to spend your day hiking in and how far you’re willing to hike. It’s better to be conservative with how far you want to hike to make sure you have a great day and don’t get too tired!

Couple kissing at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park during their elopement day

4. Come up with a plan

Your photographer will help you come up with a timeline for your day that’s filled with your dream locations and activities! This takes away all the stress of planning by leaving it to an expert! From permits to packing checklists, your photographer will make the day as easy as possible for you while you focus on enjoying your time together as a newly married couple!

Couple walking across a bridge at Myrtle Falls with views of Mount Rainier in the background during their wedding day in Washington State

5. Have the best day ever!

Once everything is planned, you’ll be so ready to have the perfect elopement day! Whether you’re going on a two day backpacking elopement to a fire lookout or spending the day having a picnic in front of a waterfall, its going to be an incredible experience! And you’ll have epic photos to look back on and remember your day forever!

Couple holding hands at the top of the mountain during their hiking elopement at Rattlesnake Ledge in Washington State

Need Help Planning Your Hiking Elopement in Washington?

That’s what I’m here for! I am an elopement photographer based in Washington State and an expert in hiking elopements! If you’re looking for the adventure elopement of a lifetime, let’s chat! I would love to plan and capture your dream hiking elopement in Washington!

  1. […] kind of scenery makes your heart beat faster? And speaking of elevated heart rates, do you want to hike a lot, a little, or not at all? Do you want to kayak, ski, helicopter, soak in a hot spring, have a […]

  2. […] you’re looking for a long hike or something easily accessible with just as beautiful of a background, Mount Rainier has plenty of […]

  3. […] You arrive at the trailhead for Shi Shi Beach, lace up your hiking boots, and start hiking through the forest, taking in the views along the […]

  4. […] summer is going to be the best time to elope in the North Cascades, especially if you want to hike. Snow sticks around for a while in the mountains, so the hiking season usually begins in mid-July, […]

  5. […] hike into a backpacking trip and get to even more spectacular locations! Check out this guide to a hiking elopement for more […]

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