Pacific Northwest Elopement Destination Guide
If you’re looking for the top elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest, read on! I have been lucky enough to photograph so many incredible elopements in this part of the world, and I firmly believe that the natural beauty here is beyond compare. With soaring mountains, stunning glaciers, deep forests, rugged coastline, lush rainforest, huge lakes, even high desert – we have it all! So if you’re on the fence about whether or not you should elope in the PNW, let me tell you now that you won’t find any better scenery for your love. Let this guide to my favorite elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest convince you!
Best Elopement Destinations in the Pacific Northwest
Eloping in Washington
This state is full of life, with multiple active volcanoes, glaciers, and grand mountain ranges. You’ll find giant snow-capped peaks all over the state that are full of hikes for all skill levels. In the west, you’ll see stunningly dramatic coastal cliffs and be blown away by the vibrant, deep greens of abundant evergreens. It’s here too, that you’ll behold lush temperate rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula. The east has a different kind of beauty! Its dry, high desert landscape shows basalt towers and rolling hills that burst into abundant wildflowers in the spring.
Best Times of Year: Jun-Oct
The best time of year for an elopement here is between June and October, before the rains and snows of winter really settle in. These months are most popular for Washington’s mild temperatures in the summer and early fall. When Summer hits, wildflowers bring vibrant color to every mountain meadow. Likewise, the changing trees and vegetation radiate yellow in the fall. Although the winter months can be less ideal with their lower temperatures and rain, there are still incredible places for your elopement year-round in this glorious state.
My Favorite Places
These are some of the most stunning elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest! Take a look at my detailed guide on the 5 Top Elopement Destinations in Washington State for more information.
1. The North Cascades: these mountains take my breath away every time. Check out this gorgeous session at Diablo Lake.
2. Olympic National Park: take a glimpse at this Olympic National Park elopement – we had an amazing time in the forest!
3. Mount Rainier: this is such a vibrant, lush place, perfect for a cabin elopement.
4. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest: home to an active volcano, luscious forests, and sparkling alpine lakes!
Idaho is a completely underrated state! It’s one of the best-kept secrets, but if you know, you know this is home to some of the most striking elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest. One of the most glorious things about the Idaho landscape is the big, open skies. They’ll give you unbeatable colorful sunsets! The state has a dryer climate with various humbling landscapes. These include numerous hot springs, giant stretching mountain ranges, winding rivers, rolling hills, powerful waterfalls, and valleys of granite towers perfect for climbers.
Best Times of Year: April-Oct
With a slightly milder climate than some of the elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest, you can elope in the the early springtime here before much of the snow has melted in other states! The temperatures will warm and the ground will burst forth with green as early as April. While the mountains remain a bit milder in the summer, the rest of the state will remain at 90-100 degree days. I recommend a late Spring or Early Fall Elopement, so you can steer clear of the harsh summer heat & wild winters.
My Favorite Places
1. Sawtooth Wilderness: a stunning landscape of hundreds of jagged peaks and deep, intimate ravines and valleys, all cloaked in pine forests and shining alpine lakes.
2. Boise National Forest: hot springs, rushing rivers, blooming wildflowers, and lush meadows in the midst of forest glens.
3. City of Rocks: this dramatic wonderland of natural granite spires is a marvel.
Eloping in Oregon
Oregon also has extremely diverse landscapes that make for perfect Pacific Northwest elopement locations. Although its weather is consistently rainy and unpredictable, the Oregon coast holds some of the states most iconic beauty. On the coast you’ll see deep redwood forests, tall cliffs that jut out into the ocean, giant sand dunes, and tidal pools. More inland, there are incredible active volcanoes with large, snowy peaks, such as Mt Hood and the Twin Sisters! In fact Oregon’s rich volcanic history is the source of the unique red soil that blankets much of the state. Its other distinct landscapes include various out-of-this-world deserts & rock formations, massive waterfalls, and the flood-scoured Columbia River Gorge.
Best Times of Year: April – Nov
Late Fall through early Spring will hold Oregon’s most rainy days, however, the movement of thick fog on the Oregon Coast is one of my favorite winter occurrences, so it all depends on the experience you’re looking for. More pleasant weather will fall from Spring to Fall, making more of the snowy wilderness of the mountains more accessible for your elopement.
My Favorite Places
1. The Southern Coast: the rugged coastline here is legendary, specifically the Samuel H. Boardman corridor.
2. Alvord Desert: the cracked bed of what once was a lake, this desert is striking and dramatic, nestled in the Steens Mountains near gorgeous hot springs.
3. Painted Hills: a change of pace from all the other elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest, this is a geological wonder of pastel rocks and sand.
4. Smith Rock State Park: A rugged landscape with a violent geologic past – this climber’s paradise makes an incredible elopement destination.
5. Mount Hood Wilderness: home of Oregon’s highest summit, crowned with glittering glaciers.
Montana is known for its vibrant mountain ranges, epic open skies, fields of wildflowers, meadows of lush grass, and vast lakes filled with colorful pebbles. This is by far the most rugged Pacific Northwest elopement destination. Montana’s landscape is filled with very active wildlife, so if you’re planning a visit you must prepare accordingly. Bring bear-spray, check trail reports for current wildlife sightings, don’t hike alone, etc. Because of its wild terrain, it makes for some of the most incredible memories & adventurous elopement experiences.
Best Times of Year: July – Sep
The best time of year to elope in Montana is between July and September. Many of the trafficked mountainous areas remain snowy and inaccessible until late Spring. In Addition, Winter hits early in the mountains, so I recommend aiming your visit for before the fall. I photographed an intimate micro-wedding in Montana in the middle of July and the weather was perfect.
My Favorite Places
1. Glacier National Park: crystalline rivers, the Hidden Lake, and peaks and valleys carved by the glaciers that give the park its name. Have a look at the gorgeous portrait session I did here!
2.The Bitterroot Range: enormous masses of granitic rock that stretch almost unbroken along the western border of Montana.
3. Jewel Basin: a mountain area with a glittering network of alpine lakes.
Eloping in Wyoming
Drama is the hallmark of the elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and Wyoming is no different. There is so much to behold with stretches of the Rocky Mountains, geysers and springs of Yellowstone, soaring rock towers and rolling hills united among rushing rivers, and to the east, plains and uninterrupted views with miles of grassland. Technically speaking, Wyoming is not part of the Pacific Northwest. However, the Tetons, which rest on the states westernmost border, often are lumped into the most acclaimed PNW destinations.
Best Times of Year: June – Aug
As with most places in the Pacific Northwest, the best times to visit are Spring and Summer, especially if you want to make use of this states incredible mountain scenery. The fields amidst the Tetons will be in full bloom, its epic hiking will be most accessible, and the weather will be most reliable for your elopement adventures!
My Favorite Places
1. Jackson Hole: a valley nestled in the Grand Teton mountain range with world-class skiing.
2. Grand Tetons: these peaks really are show-stopping. The dramatic silhouettes are instantly recognizable and the beauty of their slopes rivals anything on this list.
3. Devils Tower: this is one of the most unique elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest – it’s an unforgettable tower of rock, with naturally occurring ridges and columns, soaring 1,267 feet above the landscape below.
Elopement Destinations in the Pacific Northwest
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to elopement destinations in the Pacific Northwest – this part of the world is just piled with treasures.
I hope this guide has helped you imagine what your own elopement could look like – and if you want more information or advice on tying the knot with a PNW elopement, just get in touch! I’d love to talk.