September 26, 2022 /

Montana Elopement Planning Guide + Locations


Couple smiling at each other as they share an embrace during their shoot with Alexa Ann; image overlaid with text that reads Montana Elopement Planning Guide + Locations


Montana Elopement Guide

Considering a Montana elopement and not sure where to start? I believe the state holds potential for some of your greatest adventures with all of its dynamic landscapes. Montana is covered in beauty, and it can feel daunting to know where to begin, so I’ve made this guide to help you craft the perfect Montana elopement.

When to Elope in Montana

The weather in Montana is almost as wild as its landscapes with its harsh winters and fast-changing conditions. When planning a Montana elopement, this is an important consideration for a successful one. The most enjoyable time for you to have your Montana elopement will be from mid-July to early October. During this time, most of the winter snow will have melted, giving you full access to adventure and the state’s numerous scenic views. Also, I always recommend couples plan their Montana elopement celebration around a weekday, so you’ll avoid the high crowds of tourist season. If you’re picking one of the more popular places to elope in Montana, such as Glacier National Park, I highly encourage you to consider a sunrise Montana elopement, as you’ll get to beat the crowds to the beauty and retain some privacy. Plus, golden hour provides warm, vibrant lighting for the photos. 

Places to Elope in Montana

1. Glacier National Park

2. Flathead National Forest

3. The Bitterroot Range

4. Bozeman & Big Sky


Montana Elopement Planning Guide and Locations. Couple holding hands while walking with mountain view behind them

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a popular Montana elopement location for several reasons. Its vast expanse of forests, lakes, waterfalls, meadows, and towering mountain ranges are among them. Each draws in so many visitors to admire their beauty. Some of my favorite elements include the rainbow rocks carpeting the bottom of the lakes, the vibrant valleys carved by glacial moraines, and the abundant wildlife.  If you’re looking for places to elope in Montana that will align with your desire for adventure, Glacier National Park is a good place to start.


Favorite Hikes in Glacier National Park

Looking for some trails for your Montana elopement? Here are a few options: 

Sun Point Nature Trail: An easy 2-mile out & back trail with lake vistas.

Hidden Lake Trail: A moderate 5-mile out & back trail with some of the most amazing nearby peaks.

Avalanche Lake Trail: A moderate 6-mile out & back trail near Lake McDonald

Haystack Butte Trail: A moderate 8-mile loop showing off Glacier at higher elevations.


Groom plants a kiss on bride's cheek during their wedding shoot with PNW elopement photographer Alexa Ann


Flathead National Forest

Flathead National Forest is another magnificent choice for your Montana elopement. This vast evergreen forest and spread of nature has several features that make it worthy of an elopement. For example, the Jewel Basin is a popular hiking area, and one of the best places to elope in Montana because of the abundance of mountain peaks, sweeping greenery, and crystal, clear waters. Furthermore, Flathead Lake makes for an incredible location. This natural freshwater lake is the largest in the west and is listed as the prettiest lake in Montana. Flathead Lake is a winner for those looking for an unforgettable elopement location.


Favorite Hikes in Flathead National Forest

If you’re interested in some hiking in Flathead National Forest during your Montana elopement, here are some options you might like:

Flathead Lookout: A relatively easy 2.4-mile out & back trail with incredible views.

Birch Lake Trail: A moderate 6-mile out & back along the mountain edge, with long views out over Flathead Valley

Doris Mountain: Challenging but quieter 6-mile out & back trail that leads up to a 360-degree vantage point at the peak. 

Mount Aeneas: This challenging 6-mile loop takes you up the ridge to the summit of Mount Aeneas and then down past the Picnic Lakes.



The Bitterroot Range

The Bitterroot Range may be less heard of, but is glorious all the same. This mountain range on the border of Montana and Idaho offers a plethora of spreading mountain peaks cutting into the sky, acres and acres of wilderness lying in their shadows, and plenty of views for those willing to earn them. Its rugged beauty offers so many opportunities for your adventure elopement in montana.

Favorite Hikes in the Bitterroot Range

Here are some options for hiking during your Montana elopement in the Bitterroot Range:

Bodgett Canyon Overlook: A 1.5-mile trail near Hamilton that showcases the impressive ridge views of Blodgett Canyon.

Bear Creek Overlook: A moderate 4.5-mile in and out trail with amazing views of the Bitterroot Range.

Bear Creek Trail: An easier hiking route in the Bitterroot Valley that follows Bear Creek 1.5 miles up to the falls.

Saint Mary Peak Trail: Just under 6-mile in and out trail in the Bitterroot Mountains that offers great views.


Bride standing with her back to the camera with her cathedral length veil during Montana elopement


Bozeman & Big Sky

Bozeman is a unique city and one you’re not likely to come across again. It was voted the most beautiful city in Montana and has become a haven for travelers. A mix of the modern, classic, and natural, Bozeman draws in a wide variety of people, and offers a nice contrast to the raw beauty Montana otherwise showcases. Big Sky is just as charming, with its renowned downhill ski and mountain bike trails. Nestled in the mountains, these towns make for the perfect home base with their convenient outdoor access for your Montana elopement.

Favorite Hikes in Bozeman & Big Sky

Here are some hiking options in these two locations:

Palisade Falls: A relatively easy paved 1.2-mile hike to Palisade Falls with impressive views.

Fairy Lake: A popular short hike considered an easy route that’s great for beginners.

Ousel Falls Park Trail: A beautiful 1.7-mile out and back trail in the heart of Big Sky.

Beehive Basin Trail: A moderately challenging 7-mile hike with breathtaking views.


Airbnbs can make such a lovely basecamp during your Montana elopement travels and can even make great ceremony spots! Here is a list of my favorite for each area:

Glacier National Park

Flathead National Forest

Bitterroot Range

Bozeman & Big Sky

Montana Elopement Planning Guide and Locations: View of lodging from outside with groom standing at entrance

Final Thoughts: Montana Elopement Planning Guide + Locations

A Montana elopement is more than just an elopement. It’s as much about connecting with nature as it is with the one you love. It’s about sharing that connection with each other and giving it back to the land that helped you build that connection in the first place. 

I hope you’ll consider a Montana elopement. When you do, let’s meet and start talking about how to best capture that experience so you can hold onto it forever.




Bride and groom smiling as they lean in for a kiss during their shoot with Alexa Ann; image overlaid with text that reads Montana Elopement Planning Guide + Locations

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