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As the least visited national park in Washington, North Cascades National Park’s remote, rugged, mountain peaks make for an incredible elopement location. The serene alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, and snow capped summits are the perfect backdrop for any couple looking for a wedding day that’s a little outside the box – so if a traditional shindig isn’t your jam, consider a North Cascades elopement!
To help you plan, this guide will tell you everything you need to know to plan an elopement in North Cascades National Park.
Here’s what you’ll find in this North Cascades elopement guide:
The mountainous landscape of the North Cascades often means dramatic weather – so the time of year you elope will have a major effect on the wedding experience you have! Before you set a date for your elopement, here’s what you can expect throughout the year.
Of course, the best weather is going to depend on what you want to do and what you’re planning for your elopement! But for most couples, summer brings the best weather to elope in the North Cascades – July and August are the warmest months, and the weather is perfect for hiking. Most trails in high elevations will be snow free, and everything is open!
Early fall is usually pretty idyllic as well – September is warm and sunny, but snow usually begins to accumulate around mid October, and weather can be a little unpredictable. North Cascades National Park is also one of the best places to spot the fall foliage – larches turn a bright yellow color, decorating the mountains with their vibrant needles!
One of the best tips that I have for avoiding crowds during your elopement is to find a location that’s lesser known! This can be easier said than done, so as a North Cascades elopement photographer, a huge part of my job is creating custom location lists for my couples – they’re full of hidden gem recommendations personalized for you.
Here are some of the more popular spots, and some ideas for places to elope in North Cascades National Park.
If you want to put in some trail miles on your wedding day, what better way to celebrate tying the knot than by hiking to a gorgeous ceremony location?!
With over 400 miles of hiking trails, you’ve got plenty of options! From short walks to backpacking treks, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect spot. One of the best hikes in the North Cascades is the Heather-Maple Pass Loop, and as an added bonus, it’s one of the few dog friendly trails!
If you don’t feel like breaking a sweat on your wedding day, don’t worry! You still have tons of options for ceremony spots and views that are low effort, high reward. One of the best places to elope in North Cascades National Park is the Washington Pass Overlook, a gorgeous, ADA accessible viewpoint with insane mountain views!
If you want to elope in the North Cascades, but aren’t set on being inside the national park, there’s also Artist Point – one of the most amazing views in Washington, with scenery beginning right from the parking lot.
One thing to note about your elopement day is that Diablo Lake used to be a popular spot for photos – but this overlook is no longer open for elopements, and you won’t be able to have your ceremony here!
Nestled in the North Cascades is Stehekin – a truly remote town that can only be reached by boat, plane, or on foot! Eloping here means absolutely unbelievable scenery, countless hikes, peaks, and waterfalls, and a one of a kind wedding day experience.
To tie the knot at North Cascades National Park, you’ll need a permit to have your ceremony, and a marriage license to get legally married.
A North Cascades National Park wedding permit, also called a special use permit, is required for any ceremony in the park – yes, even if it’s just the two of you!
To get the permit application, you’ll need to email the park office – which can be done here. It costs $50, and you can apply up to a year in advance, so I recommend doing this as soon as you decide on an elopement date!
To get legally married during your North Cascades elopement, you’ll need a marriage license. This can be done at any county clerk’s office in Washington, but I recommend King County, as you can complete the entire process online and get your marriage license in the mail! The marriage license costs $69, and once you get it, there’s a 3 day waiting period – but it does expire after 60 days.
An officiant and two witnesses will need to sign the marriage license, and the officiant will mail it back to the county clerk – once they receive it, you’re legally married!
For every elopement, I create a timeline for my couples. Your elopement is about the experience, so the timeline is created with you in mind – I’ll give you recommendations for things to do, send you a questionnaire to help me get an idea of what your vision for your day looks like, and put together a timeline of the day! We’ll work together to add final touches or make adjustments, so you can relax on the big day, knowing that while there is a plan, there’s also plenty of extra time just in case, and plenty of room for spontaneity.
Here are some examples of North Cascades elopement timelines!
12:00 Hair and makeup begins
12:30 I arrive at the Airbnb – detail photos of rings, accessories, etc
1:00 Getting ready photos
2:00 Put on wedding attire
2:30 First look outside the cabin, a few couple’s photos after
3:30 Drive to Artist Point
5:00 Meet up with family, short hike to overlook
6:00 Family photos
6:30 Sunset photos with couple, family goes back to cabin
8:00 Drive back for dinner/cake with family
9:00 Hair and makeup begins
10:00 I arrive at the Airbnb – detail photos of rings, accessories, etc
10:30 Getting ready photos
11:00 Drive to trailhead
12:00 Begin hiking
2:00 Picnic at the summit
3:00 Change into wedding attire
3:30 First look & couple’s photos
5:00 Couple’s photos
6:30 Hike back down
I’m all about making your life easier – because eloping is all about cutting out the stress! My North Cascades elopement packages include everything you need to elope.
Elopement packages start at $4,000, and include:
I’ve been exploring the North Cascades, for work and just for kicks, for years – and I’m invested in making sure you have a wedding day experience you’re stoked about. Let’s get to know each other – I’ll go first.