Olympic National Park Wedding | What You Need to Know 

An Olympic National Park wedding or elopement is perfect for couples is perfect for couples that want a wedding location that allows them to experience multiple landscapes, encounter wildlife, and lean into the adventures that the Olympic Peninsula has to offer.

Olympic National Park is one of our faves, so much so that we spent a year living next door to the Hoh Rainforest when we first started exploring the PNW in our RV. We fell in love with the moody weather in off-season, the mountains that appeared to rise up from the ocean, and the emerald rainforests nestled inland from the rocky coast. 

Olympic National Park offers up just about every type of scenery you could hope for and an even more incredible experience. 

Literally everything you need to know to plan a unique wedding day that absolutely rules

  • Lord of the Rings type forests
  • Moody, rocky beaches 
  • Snowy mountains 
  • Gushing waterfalls
  • Striking, crystal clear lakes

It truly feels like you’ve just walked into a different world. We’re talking:

Eloping in Olympic National Park?
Here's what you can look forward to

As your Washington elopement photographers that specialize in Olympic National Park weddings and elopements, we’re here to break down the steps to planning a day full of intention, ease, and adventure. This piece of content is...robust and we can pinky promise that you'll have allll the info you need to curate a damn good day. 

But Don't let the details get ya down

With the most diverse scenery in a National Park, the Olympics will have you questioning if you just walked into a fairytale. 

Not only does this park check pretty much all the scenery boxes, but it’s also packed with adventure opportunities and incredible opportunities to view wildlife like elk, bald eagles, bears, and whales (eeep!! a personal fave).  

with mountains born from the depths of the ocean, formed from the eruption of underwater volcanoes, and basalt sculpted by ages erosion – well, there are few other places like it in the United States.

With all of these truly incredible aspects, there are some big logistics to consider and decide if it’s the right place for your elopement and how to make the day you envision a reality. We know there's a lot to consider.


Planning your olympic national park wedding in a nutshell

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Step Four

Step Five

Pick your date

Pick your location

Assemble your team

Take care of the legal stuff

Don't forget the details

5. Taking Care of the Details
  • Getting around Olympic National Park
  • Unique lodging + Camping  
  • Building a timeline 
  • Best time of day 
  • Timeline examples
  • Bad weather backup plan
  • Packing list for your Olympic National Park elopement
  • Olympic National Park Elopement Packages




2. Olympic National Park Elopement Locations
  • Mountains 
  • Backpacking 
  • Coast 
  • Lakes 
  • Waterfalls 
  • Olympic National Park Wedding Venues 



1. Picking Your Date
  • The best season
  • The best days/times to avoid crowds 



3. Assembling Your Team
  • Defining Your budget 
  • Choosing Your Olympic National Park Elopement Photographers 
  • Olympic National Park Wedding Vendors 



4. Taking Care of the Legal Stuff
  • Olympic National Park wedding permit 
  • Olympic National Park wedding guests  
  • Bringing your dog to Olympic National Park
  • Practicing Leave No Trace during your Olympic National Park wedding
  • Washington marriage license 




Here's what we're breaking down:

- Apply for your Olympic National Park Wedding Permit HERE

- Get your National Park Pass or a day pass HERE

- Stay up to date with trail conditions HERE

- Check road closures HERE

- Contact Your Washington elopement photographers about your Olympic National Park elopement HERE




As you're planning your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement, you'll want to have access to some of the resources and we've put together some of the most important ones for you to access easily!

Quick Links for your Olympic national park wedding 

Step One: Choose your date for your Olympic National Park elopement 

That leaves a HUGE portion of the over 900,000 acres of Olympic National Park open for adventures even in the coldest months. You'll still have access to mountains, waterfalls, moody beaches, and stunning lakes year-round. 

Hurricane Ridge Road: Leads to Hurricane Ridge ski area and typically closes in Mid October to vehicles. It remains open to cross country skiers and snowshoeing.

Obstruction Point Road: Usually closed November-May this road accesses high backcountry camping in the olympic wilderness and hiking trails. 

Hoh Road: This usually stays open year-round, but it experiences SOOO MUCH rain during the winter months that it can close suddenly because of landslides and fallen trees.

Let’s break down choosing the best date for your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement. There are a few things you’ll want to consider: 

1. The vibe you're after.

2. The views you want. 

3. What you want to prioritize on your wedding day (like privacy, ease, or predictable weather).

Every couple is different and with each season that provides an aspect that you want, there will usually be *something* that you’ll need to consider and determine if it’s worth it, because mother nature can be a doozy sometimes.  

Olympic National Park is open year-round, though some areas are closed during the winter months, such as:

The Best Season for Your Olympic National Park Wedding


If you’re hoping for more privacy during your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement, you may want to avoid Late June-August. This is when Olympic National Park sees the most visitors.

Pro Tip

Challenges

  • Less crowds
  • Wildflowers in lower elevations
  • The waterfalls pop off
  • More opportunities to spot wildlife



Pros

  • Unpredictable weather
  • You'll want to bring layers + clear umbrellas  
  • Higher elevation trails and areas may still be closed




SPRING:

Challenges

  • The weather is more predictable 
  • Trails and higher elevation areas are open
  • Unlimited adventure activities 




Pros

  • The crowds are pretty intense 
  • Lodging and campsites swiped up FAST





SUMMER:

  • Occasional showers - bring your clear umbrellas!
  • Cooler temps, so bring those layers! 






  • Fall colors go off
  • Best time to catch the PNW✨MOOD✨
  • Less crowds 





Pros

Challenges

FALL:

WINTER:

Challenges

Pros

  • Snowy landscapes and dramatic lighting
  • Less crowds
  • Backcountry winter sports 






  • Road + trail closures in higher elevations
  • Weather is definitely on the moody side
  • Rain is common in lower elevations







While each season has plenty of considerations, based on our experience, early fall is our absolute favorite time of the year in Olympic National Park. While the weather can be on the moodier side, and slightly unpredictable, embracing it is part of the magic.

We love the moodiness of the fall season and the colors changing is truly something to behold. You can still access the Hurricane Ridge area in early fall and may even get some snow which is pretty damn magical. 

Each season comes with a unique set of challenges and opportunities for your Olympic National Park wedding. As you're planning your day, knowing what your experience will be like throughout the year can be mega helpful, especially if you're not settled on a set date. 

Here’s what you can expect from each season for your Olympic National Park Wedding:

The Best Day for Your Olympic National Park Wedding

When planning your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement, we HIGHLY recommend opting for a weekday. Specifically, Tuesday - Thursday. This is especially true during the busiest months July-August. 

When eloping in the shoulder seasons (fall/spring) you will see significantly less crowds, but weekends can see an influx, especially in the fall when fishing season really picks up. 

If you absolutely have to have your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement on a weekend, then our best advice is to opt for sunrise during the summer months, or sunset. 

Ready to plan your dream day?

Sat + Sun

Tues - Thurs

Mon + Fri

Tuesday through Thursday are the best days for couples that prefer more privacy. You'll see less crowds and have more flexibility. In the fall, campsites become first come first serve and these are the best days to snag one!

You'll likely see less folks than the weekends, but TBH Monday and Friday can be just as packed as the weekends, ESPECIALLY during summer months. Give yourselves more time than you think you need in case you have to wait for crowds.

NGL the weekends see a lot of folks! During peak season (summer), the crowds can be a lil' crazy. If you're eloping during peak season and are committed to a Saturday/Sunday, opt to celebrate around sunrise and sunset. Build in plenty of time into your elopement timeline so that traffic and entry lines don't throw your whole day and vibe off.

Need Some help planning your dream day?

download our choose your own adventure guide

Step Two: Pick Your location for your olympic national park elopement

The Best Locations for Your Olympic National Park Wedding

We know we’ve gassed up the views at Olympic National Park, but having lived down the road from the heart of the park, we can pinky-promise that it definitely lives up to the hype. 

Olympic National park is super diverse, and you could absolutely plan to explore multiple landscapes on your wedding day. In fact, we'd encourage it! Soak up as much scenery as you possibly can and center each piece of your day in a new location.  

Let us paint a picture for ya...

  • You wake up and get ready in your cozy lil’ cabin nestled in the woods.  

  • You drive up to the mountains and have a first look and exchange vows as the sun rises.

  • You stop in Port Angeles and get coffee and Pancakes.  

  • You head to the woods, and find a cozy spot next to a rushing river to hang your hammock.

  • You take a sweet lil nap or chill sesh deep in the forest listening to the rushing Sol Duc river beside you. 

  • You wake up and have a picnic by Lake Crescent where you read letters from your loved ones.

  • You walk through an ancient rainforest stopping to admire waterfalls and giant trees.

  • Head further west, and have your first dance on a rocky beach as the sun dips behind the ocean.

  • Stargaze as you eat a catered dinner and end the best day ever.

Want more info on how to craft an epic day? Check out this resource!

Waterfalls

There are so many incredible ecosystems to explore during your Olympic National Park elopement and we’ll share some of the more well known options here. 

Beaches

You’ll find waterfalls all over the park, but two of the most popular, Sol Duc Falls and Marymere falls can be found in the Sol Duc and Lake Crescent areas. Both locations require about 2 miles of hiking and are considered easy.


The rugged coastline of the Olympic Peninsula is hard to beat and the sunsets are magical. Ruby Beach + Kalaloch are some of the most popular. There are tons of beaches that see significantly less traffic (if you're down for a little hiking) that we love sharing with our couples.

Lakes

Lake Crescent + Lake Cushman are probs the most popular lakes in Olympic National park. They're stunning, easy to access, and is so clear, you can see about 60 feet below the water's surface. There are a ton of other lakes that don’t see quite as much traffic and offer up similar views. Most lakes are super easy to access by vehicle
If you’re up for an adventure, we have some stellar ones to fit in along a backpacking route.




Mountains

Hurricane Ridge is for sure the most popular mountain location. The views are insane and so crazy stunning. 
Mount Storm King gives you incredible mountain views. There are plenty of other trails and 4x4 roads that will give you incredible views with way less crowds. 
Hurricane Ridge is a drive up location, so super accessible. Mount Storm King does require a hike, but the views are worth it! Other locations may require a hike, or 4x4 vehicle.


Rainforests

Wilderness

Olympic National Park is home to some of the most incredible and diverse rainforests. The most popular being the Hoh Rain Forest, known for its lush canopy and thick coats of hanging moss. 
If you’re wanting a vibe similar to the Hoh Rainforest but want to avoid the thousands of visitors this proportion of the park sees during peak season, there are plenty of other forests to choose from. 
The Hoh Rainforest can be easily explored. Its trails are flat and could be considered as more of a jaunt through the forest rather than a hike.
The same can be said for similar locations. These will be in lower elevations areas of the park and are all easy to access.


Olympic National park is a backpackers paradise (speaking from experience). You can experience every landscape in a multi day trip. We love backpacking here in our downtime and LOVE suggesting routes for our couples. 
You can also plan a route through the coastline of the olympic Peninsula to explore the moody beach scenery. 
Wilderness locations will require some skill and experience. If you want to experience backpacking through the wilderness of Olympic National Park (if that's your wedding day jam), but don’t have experience backpacking, don’t stress! You can absolutely hire a guide that will help you plan, prepare, and have an incredible time. 



How to choose your location for your olympic national park wedding

This is a BIG piece of the puzzle and one that many couples need a little guidance with. That's just one reason why working with a Washington elopement photographer that is familiar with the area is super important. When deciding on where you want to elope in Olympic National Park, think about the landscapes that really inspire you and get you super stoked. We've got some ideas to get you started on narrowing it down, below.

Choosing where you want to get married means really checking in with yourself and what you want your wedding day to feel like. 

Q's to ask yourself

  • What views excite you + your partner the most?

  • How accessible do you want your location to be?

  • How much privacy are you hoping for?

  • How do you want to access your location?

  • If guests are joining you, what kind of accessibility do they need?

The Best Venues for Your Olympic National Park Wedding

Let's be real, if you have more than roughly 20 guests joining you for your Olympic National Park wedding, you may want to consider booking a wedding venue on the Olympic Peninsula. 

here's why

  • Larger guest counts put a strain on park resources, and you already know that's not the vibe 'round here. 

  • It is more difficult to implement leave no trace practices in this delicate landscape when you have a larger group. And we def want to make sure we're being good stewards of the land.

  • Logistics moving through the park can be a pain. Trust, you don't want that stress. 

  • You’ll want to stick to locations that can accommodate your group size, which become limited when you have folks joining ya.

  • A private venue will guarantee privacy for your ceremony, will be able to easily accommodate your group, and we can help you plan a "just us" adventure elsewhere in the park. You can have it all. 

There are some absolutely incredible venues located near the park, so you’ll be able to have the best of both worlds. 

Split your Olympic National Park wedding into two days. Spend one with your guests at a nearby venue and spend another exploring Olympic National Park together (in full wedding attire, obvi). 

Prioritizing sustainability, and finding a venue that can accommodate your group size not only protects these public lands, but will also make the logistics of your day all the easier. 

Pro Tip

Trying to decide between a wedding or an elopement? We got ya covered. Check out this blog on an elopement vs. wedding and this one on how to get married without a wedding.

Fern Acres

Located in Forks, Washington in the heart of the Olympic Peninsula, this enchanting forested venue is the perfect place for your to celebrate with your closest friends and fam. Elopements with 15 guests or less may be booked throughout the year.

Nature Bridge

Beautiful outdoor locations on the shores of Lake Crescent. The Nature Bridge focuses on bringing environmental programs to schools

Park Lodges

The lodges inside Olympic National Park make for some sweet elopement venues and the best part is, they're in the heart of the park!

Agate Beach Lodge

A private beach, gorgeous lodge, towering trees, multiple locations for a ceremony, and an indoor event space...Say less, this place is PERFECT for couples wanting an intimate space to host their celebration and have access to some STUNNING scenery. 

Step Three: Assemble your team for your olympic national park elopement

Budgeting for your Olympic National Park Elopement 

Even an elopement that spares no expense will cost SIGNIFICANTLY less than a traditional wedding. It’s estimated that on average, a traditional wedding will cost roughly 30k. The largest percentage of those costs go towards wedding aspects that focus on guests. 

There’s a lot of talk that couples choosing to elope don’t want to spend their hard earned money on a traditional wedding, that they don’t value their wedding day. This is something that we heard a lot when we decided to elope.

The rumors are true...kind of

Speaking from experience, eloping couples value the hell out of their wedding day, and put so much care and intention into each element. Their wedding day values are simply different, an incredible experience that focuses on and celebrates them is simply more in alignment with their story. 

Stepping on our soapbox for a sec.

Please, do not think for one second that because you are choosing to do your wedding day differently that it is somehow not as important, or worthy of being celebrated as a traditional wedding. 

Getting married is a big freaking deal and whether you want an Olympic National Park elopement that is stripped down and simple, or you wanna go all out and have a luxurious experience, You deserve a day that celebrates the unique story that brought you here, and to be able to relive each moment for decades to come. 

There's no other day like this one.  

Your wedding day is about celebrating what you’ve built and setting intentions for this new chapter. Please, do not pass up on going all out because you think you can’t — And, please do not feel like you have to make your wedding day look a certain way because of what you see on social media. 

Here’s what you need to do before you budget

  • What is the most important part of your wedding day? Is it documentation of each moment? Is it the food you eat, or the clothes you wear?

  • How do you want to express yourselves on your wedding day? Is it through your attire? Maybe it’s in floral designs or hair and makeup?

  • What experiences are really important for you to have on your wedding day?

  • What are some things that bring you joy and make you feel pampered? How do you want to incorporate that into your wedding day?

  • How important is a certain type of lodging? 

  • What are some of the logistical costs that need to be considered? Like your marriage license and permit?

Ask yourselves these questions:

Defining your priorities first will give you the strongest foundation for building a budget for your Olympic National Park elopement or wedding. 

Photography 

Attire
 
Florals
 
Catering
 
Officiant

Hair + Makeup

Travel + Lodging 

Permit 

Marriage license 


$6,500 

$1,500
 
$500
 
$500
 
$350

$500

$2,000

$100

$69


Total Cost $ 12,019

Customize this budget to fit your vision

This budget is based on a couple celebrating their Olympic National Park elopement, just the two of them! 

*Some of these calculations are based on factors that have different variables (like travel + attire), and the permit you’ll need. Take these numbers and adjust them according to your needs!

Not bad for an epic wedding day and adventure that celebrates the two of you and gives a pretty incredible start to this new chapter! 


*Soapbox* It’s not that we love adventure elopements because they’re less expensive than a traditional wedding, it’s because that money is spent on folks getting married the way they want, not spending a hefty amount on guests or traditions they don’t feel connected to. 

Spend your money on what you value. If that’s an adventure, go all out. If it’s a wedding day that you celebrate with your nearest and dearest, do it up as big as you want!

See more of what we offer

Olympic National Park Wedding Vendors

The folks you hire will be your biggest cheerleaders for your Olympic National Park elopement or wedding. They’ll be there with the knowledge and know how to make your day go off without a hitch. 

Here are some Olympic National Park elopement vendors you may want to consider and how they can enhance your wedding day:

Hair + Makeup Artists

Officiants

Having an artist for your hair and makeup can take out the stress of getting ready. You'll want to find a HAMUA that'll help lock in your look no matter the adventures you'll going on during your wedding day.

Having an officiant to work closely with you as you build your ceremony and support you as you apply for your license is awesome. If you're wanting someone to lead your ceremony, hiring an officiant that's down to explore is the way to go. 

FLORISTS

NOURISHMENT

Just because you're eloping doesn't mean you can't incorporate beautiful florals into your day. Gorgeous arrangements serve as a big storytelling component of your day and are the perfect element to use to make your day unique and showcase your personalities.

Hiring a private chef for the day, or for one meal can be such an incredible experience to share on your day. You're not having to pay for dinner, drinks, and dessert for 100+ guests - so go on and treat yourselves! You can also opt to have a catered picnic with a beautiful, lux charcuterie board. 

Hire your Washington elopement photographers that specialize in Olympic national Park elopements first. Trust us when we say this will make the rest of the planning process 1,000% easier. 

Pro Tip 

Olympic National Park Elopement Photographers

We know that may seem a little weird, but deciding to elope in the great outdoors throws the typical “wedding planning structure” out the window. Hiring an Olympic National Park elopement photographer (that's us) will make a huge difference into how easy the planning process is and make a big impact on your elopement day. 

It’s important to make sure that you consider the following when deciding on your Washington elopement photographers

Q: Do you vibe with them?

Your Olympic National park elopement photographers will likely be the only folks that witness your vows. They will be with you the entire day and you are entrusting them with the only documentation of this experience. It is beyond important that you feel comfortable with them. This aspect of hiring an Adventure elopement photographer is so important that it’s one of the biggest reasons we hop on a call with each couple that reaches out to us. We want to make sure that we’re the right fit for your adventure elopement and what you envision for your wedding day. Contact us to schedule a call.

Q: Are they familiar with Olympic National Park and can confidently support you as you plan?

Having an Olympic National Park elopement photographer that is super familiar with the ins and outs of the park makes a huge difference. Having a familiarity with the park means that your Olympic National Park elopement photographer can suggest locations for you to consider based on what you’re envisioning for your day, locations you're drawn to, and the pieces of your experience you want to prioritize.


Q: Do they have the knowledge and experience to help you with big picture elements of your day?

Many couples come to us without a set date or specific location. Based on our knowledge of Olympic National Park, we’re able to support them and weigh their options to meet their priorities, and create resources to help other couples at the very beginning of their elopement journey.

Q: Are they familiar with the permit process?

The permit process and qualifications for National Parks can be a little nuanced and can be a bit of a pain to navigate if you’re not familiar with it. This is why you’ll want to ensure that your Olympic National Park Photographer is well-versed on what is required from Olympic National Park for special use permits.

Q: Are they familiar with Leave No Trace Principles?

Y'all know we're big on being the best stewards of the land we can be. Having a photographer that prioritizes sustainability of public lands is extremely important and can save you a lot of stress on, and before your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement.

We send out a Leave No Trace resource to our couples to help them and any guests joining them to be prepared. In our location suggestions, we detail out Leave No Trace considerations for each location to help couples as they choose where they want to elope. We also help our couples share this information with their guests to make practicing Leave No Trace simple for the whole group. We love public lands and want to make sure folks can exchange vows on them for a long time, so continuing to do our best is a biggie for us. 

Q: How will your Olympic National Park elopement photographer support you during the planning process? 

Not every photographer offers the same support when working with you. Some photographers may not suggest locations, some only offer help building a timeline, others may choose not to be part of the planning process at all and are simply there to document the agreed upon hours and deliver edited images. This is totally fine and there’s nothing wrong with hiring a photographer to show up and shoot. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how much support you need as you plan your Olympic National Park elopement. The way we do things around here is a little more comprehensive. Supporting our couples as they plan, sharing our knowledge, crafting resources, and building a relationship is how we create our best work. At the end of the day, ensuring you’ve had an incredible experience is the most important thing to us. Years of doing this have taught us that an incredible experience is the foundation for incredible photos. So, find out what type of experience your Olympic National Park elopement photographer offers.

Ready to make this happen?

Step four: take care of the legal stuff for your olympic national park elopement

Can’t decide if you want to bring guests along or not? Split your celebration into two days. This will help give you the best of both and allow you to be fully present with your guests on one day and then spend the next just you and your partner. 

Give yourself at least 4 weeks from your elopement day to apply for your permit. 

Pro Tip

Pro Tip

Ok, time to tackle the paperwork! Granted this piece of planning is significantly less exciting and doesn’t offer the same dopamine rush as planning your locations and details, but it is no less super important! There are two super important documents that you may need for your Olympic National Park Wedding: Your marriage license and your Olympic National Park wedding permit. 

Olympic National Park Wedding Permit

As we mentioned before, your Olympic National Park wedding may require a special use permit to legally take place in the park. 

Think of a special use permit like an agreement with a wedding venue: It details out what you can/can’t do, where you can do it, and how to keep the impact of your Olympic National Park minimal. The costs and qualifications of a special use permit vary from park to park, so it’s important to know if/when one is required. Skipping on applying for a permit can lead to a hefty fine and a stressful wedding day.

However, If you have 5 or less folks joining you (including your vendors), it’s likely that a permit won’t be required!

To apply for an Olympic National Park wedding permit, you’ll want to visit the special use permit section of the park website. You’ll be able to read the qualifications and apply for your permit here. But before you apply for your permit, you’ll need to have the following figured out:

  1. The date for your Olympic National Park wedding 
  2. Your location and backup locations for your ceremony
  3. Your guest count (including vendors that will be there with you, like your photographers)
  4. Estimated number of vehicles 

how to apply for your Olympic national park wedding permit

Step 1: Choose your location 

Step 2: Fill out your permit application. You can find it here.

Step 3: Email your finished permit to OLYM_Permits@nps.gov

Step 4: After the office has it, you’ll be sent a link to pay your $50 application fee

Step 5: Print your permit out and bring it with you on your wedding day 


Including Guests in Your Olympic National Park Elopement

You can absolutely include guests in your Olympic National Park elopement. As you begin assembling your guest lists, keep sustainability in mind. Here are some tips and considerations for including your guests in your Olympic National Park elopement: 

If you have folks that you cannot imagine getting married without, you should absolutely include them in your wedding day. There are plenty of locations to accommodate a small guest count and nearby venues that are perfect for larger groups.  

Tip #1 Keep it small: 

The maximum number of guests that join you varies depending on your chosen location. If you have a group of 12 or less (this includes vendors joining you), you’ll have most park locations and trails available to you, but more than that and you’ll need to use the parks designated ceremony locations. 

Tip #2 Keep Accessibility in mind:

When including guests in your Olympic National Park elopement, you’ll want to keep their accessibility and needs in mind.  


Tip #3 Prep you guests:
 
Keep everyone that’s joining you in the loop about your day of plans. We’ll give you plenty of help and support with this. You’ll want to make sure that everyone is well-prepared and that expectations are super clear.

Tip #4 Carpool: 

Carpooling and choosing a less popular day/season can help prevent putting any unnecessary strain on park resources.  


Tip #5 Leave No Trace:

Prepare your guests to Leave No Trace. We’ll provide information and resources for this as well, but ensuring that your guests understand the importance of practicing LNT will help make sure your day is stress-free. 


Including your dog in your Olympic national park elopement

You can add this to the list of reasons we love Olympic National Park: While most National Parks only allow paws on paved areas, Olympic National Park has multiple areas and trails that allow pups to explore. According to the ONP site, your pups are welcome here:

  • Peabody Creek Trail: Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles

  • Rialto Beach: From the parking lot to Ellen Creek (1/2 mile)

  • Certain Beaches: Between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations (Kalaloch)

  • Madison Falls Trail: Elwha area

  • Spruce Railroad Trail: North shore of Lake Crescent

  • July Creek Loop Trail: North shore of Lake Quinault

  • Dogs are also allowed in Drive in Campgrounds, on paved or dirt roads, and picnic areas

When including your pups in your Olympic National Park elopement, follow the B.A.R.K. Guidelines

B | Bag your pets poop: This is pretty obvious, but super important 

A | Always wear a leash: Dogs must be on a leash when in the park

R | Respect wildlife: Keep your pups from interacting with wildlife

K | Know where you can go: Make sure your location is dog friendly 


Your Olympic National Park Elopement + Leave No Trace


Been wondering what the heck we're talking about when we bring up Leave No Trace? We'll break it down here! Let’s chat about how you can incorporate sustainability into your Olympic National Park Elopement. Remember, we want our public lands to be accessible to eloping couples for decades to come, and doing our best to keep our impact low is key to making that happen. Here’s what practicing Leave No Trace looks like for your Olympic National Park wedding.

#1 Plan ahead + Prepare:

  • Familiarize yourself with the park, selected trails/area, and nearby facilities.

  • Download important maps.

  • Obtain any necessary permits.

  • Bring weather necessities + appropriate footwear.

#2 Travel + Camp on durable surfaces:

  • Stick to designated trails.

  • Don’t walk through meadows. 

  • Camp only in designated areas. 

  • Stand on durable surfaces like rocks. 


#3 Dispose of waste properly:

  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.

  • Have a potty plan! Here’s what ONP advises if a toilet is not available: walk at least 200 feet (about 70 adult paces) from water, camp, and trails. With a small garden trowel, dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.



#4 Leave what you find:

  • Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them (don’t worry we’ll snap pics of everything).

#5 Minimize campfire impact: 

  • Know if there are any county fire restrictions in your lodging area.

  • Keep fire in designated rings.

  • Make sure your fires are fully extinguished.



#6 Respect wildlife:

  • Don’t approach or feed wildlife.

  • Research and familiarize yourself with dangerous wildlife in Olympic National Park and what the safety procedures are.

  • When camping, follow park regulations for food storage and use a bear can. 



#7 Be considerate of other visitors: 

  • Respect other wilderness visitors and their experience.


Get Your Washington Marriage License

For your Olympic National Park elopement, you have a few options:

Option 1: Get your marriage license taken care of before your elopement so the legal paperwork is out of the way. A few of our couples have opted to do this for logistics and if the date on your marriage license isn’t super important, then getting your marriage license before traveling for your elopement can be a great option. 

Option 2: Get your marriage license in Washington. You can absolutely pick up your marriage license before your Olympic National Park elopement. This would mean that the date and location of your elopement would be reflected in your marriage license. 

Here are some things to know about getting your Washington marriage license


#1 There's a waiting period 

  • Washington requires a three day waiting period. For example, if you apply on Monday, the earliest you could have your ceremony would be Thursday.


#2 It's valid in the whole state

  • Your Washington Marriage license is valid anywhere in the state of Washington. It is not mandatory that you get married in the county your license is issued in.


#3 There's a license Fee 

  • Fees vary by county typically they fall between $69 - $72


#4 There are some ceremony requirements 

  • For your ceremony, you’ll need an officiant + 2 witnesses. If you want a friend or family member to serve as your officiant, they can become ordained here. It’s super easy and free. Sam is also ordained, so she can serve as an officiant. We’re also always thrilled to sign as witnesses


#5 Here's where you can get it

  • You can pick up your marriage license at any county clerk's office. You’ll want to make an appointment and fill out any paperwork ahead of time. If you’re staying near Olympic, you can apply for and pick up your marriage license at the County Clerk's Office in Port Angeles here


Step five: the details for your olympic national park elopement

Getting around during your Olympic National Park elopement

We’ve probably established that Olympic National Park is pretty dang big, so let’s break down the different areas to give you a sense of where you want to go. If you want to explore all of these areas (which we highly recommend), give yourselves about a week to see everything you want to without feeling rushed. 

Plan on driving quite a bit when exploring different areas. This massively diverse park can take a few hours to get from one end to the other. 

There are other areas of the park that aren’t as popular and some pretty stellar spots in Olympic National Forest. We’re listing out the 4 main/most popular areas here: 

coastline

Access to:

  • Ruby Beach 
  • Kalaloch Beach 
  • Shi Shi
  • La Push  
  • Rialto 
  • Cape flattery

Where to stay:

  • Forks

Park Entrance(s):

  • Ozette Entrance 
  • Quinault

Western

Access to:

  • Lake Crescent 
  • Marymere falls 
  • Sol Duc

Where to stay:

  • Port Angeles 

Park Entrance(s):

  • Lake Crescent

southwest

Access to:

  • Hoh rainforest 
  • Hall of mosses

Where to stay:

  • Forks 

Park Entrance(s):

  • Hoh

Northeast

Access to:

  • Hurricane Ridge 
  • Obstruction road

Where to stay:

  • Port Angeles

Park Entrance(s):

  • Hurricane Ridge

Nearest airports to fly into for your Olympic National Park Elopement


SEATAC (Seattle)

  • About two hours East from Olympic National Park





PDX (Portland)

  • Around three hours South of Olympic National Park 




Lodging for your Olympic National Park Elopement

Booking your lodging is a big detail and you’ll want to prioritize finding the perfect spot. This is where you’ll likely get ready, finish writing your vows, maybe eat your first meal as a married couple, where you may see each other in your wedding attire for the first time. 

#1: Olympic is obvi huge and you’ll want to book lodging as close to where you want to explore on your elopement day.

This can save you hours of drive time on your elopement day.


You’ll want to consider a few things for your lodging in Olympic National Park

#2: There aren't a ton of amenities. The biggest towns with more lodging options are Port Angeles + Forks.

Staying in one of these towns will give you quicker access to certain locations and will give you more dining options. 


#3: Book your lodging ASAP. Lodging books up FAST in these parts. You’ll want to decide on your location, then book your lodging shortly after.

We’re listing some stays in this section to get you started!


WHERE TO STAY NEAR FORKS FOR YOUR OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK ELOPEMENT

Distance from Hurricane Ridge: About 2 hours 

Distance from Lake Crescent: About 40 minutes

Distance from Hoh: About 45 minutes

Distance from coast: About 30 minutes depending on the beach

A unique riverside cabin

  • Tons of natural light 
  • Located on the Bogachiel River 
  • Short drive to La Push and Rialto
  • Remote, off-grid property

Check it out here

Tiny home on the Sol Duc River

  • Hot tub 
  • Lots of natural light 
  • Right on the sol duc river 
  • Pets allowed

Check it out here

A cottage on the Hoh River

  • Sleeps up to 7 guests 
  • Plenty of natural light 
  • In a beautiful location
  • Pet friendly 

Check it out here

Where to stay near Port Angeles for your Olympic National Park elopement

Distance from Hurricane Ridge: About 40 minutes

Distance from Lake Crescent: About 30 minutes

Distance from Hoh: About 2 hours

Distance from coast: About 1.5 hours depending on the beach

A cottage near Lake Crescent

  • Right on lake Crescent 
  • Nestled in a little forest cove
  • Rental Season - May 21st to September 8th

Check it out here

A riverfront cabin

  • Hot tub
  • Right in between lake Crescent and the Hoh 
  • Tons of natural light  

Check it out here

Lake Sutherland cabin

  • Lakefront cabin with private dock 
  • Pet friendly 
  • 1 bedroom 1 bath

Check it out here

Where to stay in Olympic National Park 

There are plenty of options to stay inside Olympic National Park as well. These campsites and lodges book up quickly, so snag 'em quick!

  • Located on the coast near Kalaloch beach
  • Offers a few different types of lodging including cabins, main lodge, seacrest house
  • Located on Lake Crescent
  • Offers cabins, rooms, and cottages
  • Located on Lake Crescent
  • Offers cabins, rooms, and cottages
  • Located in the Sol Duc area
  • Offers up access to the resort style Sol Duc hot springs
  • Offers up riverside rooms and cabins

Lodging in olympic national park

Campsites in olympic national park

Near Lake Crescent with some lakeside sites to choose from.
Campsites aren’t right on the beach, but they have beach access.
2 miles from Rialto. Snuggled in the coastal forest and on the shores of the Quillayute River.

Campground is on the Sol Duc river in the heart of an old growth forest. Both tent and RV sites are available
Located in the temperate rainforest and alongside the Hoh River

Looking for something a lil' different for your Olympic National Park Elopement or wedding? Check out these super unique stays!

  • This awesome Treehouse 

  • This glamping village 

  • This bluff of stacked a-frame shelters

  • This off-grid cabin with an insane view


UNIQUE PLACES TO STAY FOR YOUR OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK ELOPEMENT

Build a timeline for your Olympic National Park Elopement

WOOHOO it’s time to start thinking about your timeline! An elopement timeline is wayyy different than a wedding timeline. In fact, it's probably one of the biggest differences between an elopement vs weddings. Remember, you've decided to get married without a wedding, and that means your timeline can be super chill.

Questions to ask yourself for building your Olympic National Park elopement timeline:

#1: What kind of pace do we want for our elopement day? Do we want a relaxed, super chill timeline, or do we prefer things to be at a more exciting pace, or a mixture of both. 




#2: How much driving time are we comfortable with to get the experience we want? Remember, driving to different locations in the Olympic Peninsula can take some time. Be super honest with how much drive time you’re comfy with in one day. This can also be a good indicator if a two-day experience is more aligned with your vision.




#3: If guests are joining your Olympic national Park wedding, consider how much time you want to spend with them vs just you and your partner. You can split your day up to give yourselves some time just the two of you. 




Best time of day for your Olympic National Park elopement

Your elopement deserves the same amount of documentation as a traditional wedding day, so don't be concerned about only sticking to golden hour for your photos. We’ll break down the lighting throughout the day and what element of your Olympic National Park elopement may pair best with them.


A.M. Blue Hour

  • Happens the hour before sunrise

  • This light makes for some moody images 

  • Ideal for a morning hike, or getting ready for a sunrise ceremony in your cabin

A.M. Golden  Hour

  • Happens the hour after sunrise 

  • This light is soft, golden, and is super flattering 

  • Ideal for a morning hike, or getting ready for a sunrise ceremony in your cabin

Mid-day

  • Between the hours after sunrise and before sunset 

  • Tends to be harsher and changes with the movement of the sun. 

  • Ideal for adventures 
  • Great for indoor elements of your day, like getting ready
  • Activities with guests 
  • Ceremony as you move into the later afternoon and early evening

P.M. Golden Hour

  • Happens the hour before sunset 

  • Golden, directional light. Similar to the a.m. golden hour, but you can expect it to be more directional and have a more golden color to it.


  • Portraits 
  • Dances 
  • Activities + adventures 

P.M. Blue Hour

  • Happens the hour after sunset 

  • This light makes for some moody,sweet, and creative images.


  • Campfire photos 
  • Candle lit dinner 
  • Star photos as the you get further into the night

Wanna know more?

Sunrise Schedule

5:00 | Meet at cabin + get ready 
5:30 | Leave for adventure location
6:30 | Hike 
7:00 | Explore trail and viewpoints 
8:00 | Coffee with mountain views 
8:30 | Hike back
9:00 | Head back to cabin 

- Take a break
- take a nap
- soak in the hot tub 

Sunset Schedule

2:00 | Get ready
3:30 | First look at the lake   
4:00 | Head to the coast 
5:30 | Arrive 
6:00 | Ceremony on the beach 
6:30 | Catered picnic dinner
7:00 | Fun Portraits 
8:00 | Sunset + coverage ends 


Sunrise + Sunset 

12:00 | Meet at cabin
1:00  | Start getting ready 
2:30  | First look by the river 
3:00  | Drive to location 
4:30  | Explore
5:00  | Ceremony + celebration
5:30  | First dance 
6:00  | Explore trails + viewpoints 
7:00  | Mountaintop picnic during sunset
8:00  | Coverage ends


Mountain Top Elopement | Full Day

6:00 am  | Meet at the trailhead 
6:30 am  | Get ready as the sun rises
7:00 am  | First look in the forest 
8:30 am  | Ceremony 
9:00 am  | Hike back + explore
10:00 am | Coverage ends


Sunrise Waterfall Elopement | Half Day

Here are a few Olympic National Park elopement timelines to help you envision what your day could look like. Building a timeline for your Olympic National Park elopement or wedding looks a lot different than a traditional wedding timeline. We build timelines for all of our couples and take into consideration their desired pace, chosen adventures, best light, and all the travel logistics. For a deep dive into building a timeline, check out our post on building the perfect elopement timeline

Timeline examples for your Olympic National Park Elopement

Additionally, stay up to date on predicted weather, closed trails, and snowpack on the park website.

#1: Clear umbrellas can come in super handy. Pack a few with you just in case!

#2: Pack waterproof layers + shoes

#3: Bring some hand + body warmers with you to help you stay warm.


But, you already know we're to drop some tips to help you embrace the weather:

Even in the summer months, rain happens in the PNW, it’s part of the charm. Having a backup plan, or being prepared for rainy weather, will help you enjoy your day no matter what mother natch throws at ya!

Bad Weather During Your Olympic National Park Elopement 

Packing list for your Olympic National Park Elopement

What kinda buddies would we be if we didn't tell you what to bring to your Olympic National Park wedding or elopement?!

Here’s a quick, basic packing list for your Olympic National Park Elopement:

Wedding attire

Adventure shoes

Rings

Marriage license
 
Waterproof jacket
 
Clear umbrellas

Park Pass 

Downloaded maps 

Snacks

Bear spray

Sunscreen 

Sunglasses 

Headlamps 

Bug Spray

Vows

Permit

Warm layers

Hand Warmers 


Olympic National Park Elopement Packages 

Our Olympic National Park elopement packages are crafted to blend a mixture of adventure and luxury for our couples, allowing you to celebrate in beautiful locations and curate a bespoke experience.

Curated location suggestions

Here's what all our Olympic National Park elopement packages include:

Local adventures and experiences 

Unlimited planning calls + support

Access to our planning resources + guides

Vendor recommendations

Permit navigation

Timeline curation

All travel

Beautiful images + printing rights

"Sam and Kyle are not just photographers. They really help construct a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They created a day for us that was beyond magical. It was a day of intention, thoughtfulness, presence and all good energy and that was 100% because of them and their planning and preparation. They put a lot of work into understanding who me and my partner were to ensure a day that was right for us and what we wanted." -A&R

In our opinion the pros of an Olympic National Park wedding far outweigh any challenges that come with eloping in the great outdoors. With some expert planning and support from your Olympic National Park elopement photographers (hiiii!) you’ll be able to have the day of your dreams. We can pinky promise you, that planning an adventure you’re stoked on feels a heck of a lot more exciting than planning a traditional wedding you don’t feel connected to. Want More Washington elopement locations? Check out this guide to your Mount Rainier Elopement and our guide on How to Elope in Washington State

And for more PNW elopement inspo, check out these resources and real elopements:

So what are you waiting for? Let’s do this!

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