If you’re one of the growing number of couples who value the benefits of an intimate elopement ceremony, and you have an adventurous spirit and affinity for the outdoors to match, a national park may be the perfect place for you to elope. With a variety of stunning geological features to explore, national parks have a lot to offer when it comes to adventure and romance.
If you’re craving the awe-inspiring power of mountains and the calm tranquility of water features, the good news is you can have it both ways. We’ve put together some of the best national park elopement locations for couples who want the ultimate scenic backdrops for their big day.
Olympic National Park
Located in Washington State, Olympic National Park’s mountain views and dramatic ocean cliff sides make it a fantastic place for your elopement. The park is known for its diverse settings — including a rainforest — so you have your pick of spots to choose from. Some highlights include Marymere Falls, Hurricane Ridge and La Push Beach.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is another prime location for an elopement. It offers a beautiful simplicity but certainly doesn’t lack in views. Take in the Great Smoky Mountains from the Foothills Parkway, step out into the fields and streams of Cades Cove, or enjoy the coziness of Spence Cabin on the banks of the Little River.
Big Bend National Park
When you think of Texas, mountains might not be the first thing to come to your mind. The Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park stretch 20 miles long and are fully contained within the park. A bit of hiking will reward you with beautiful open spaces for your elopement photos, or you can head into the Santa Elena Canyon to discover the majestic Rio Grande.
Glacier National Park
As its name suggests, Glacier National Park offers unbeatable glacier views and scenic lake vistas. You can choose your own adventure because there are no assigned ceremony spots.
Whether you hike the long Iceberg trail, stick to the shores of West Glacier and Lake McDonald, or explore Running Eagle Falls, you’re bound to see some wildlife during your elopement.
Channel Islands National Park
If an ocean paradise is calling to you, but the plane ticket to Hawaii is not, we recommend eloping at Channel Islands National Park in California. Here, you’ll find just as much natural beauty with fewer crowds. Take the East Anacapa Trail for the best view of this chain of islands. Alternatively, the Lobo Canyon Trail will give you stunning views of the mountain ridge.
Mount Rainier National Park
With over 150 waterfalls, Mount Rainier National Park is the place to go for these towering water features. This park is also home to the gorgeous Tipsoo Lake, which has a view of Mount Rainier in the background on a clear day. This park is one of our top picks for couples who want mountains and water to be part of their elopement.
Crater Lake National Park
If you’re looking for a calm, serene elopement, we recommend Crater Lake National Park. Encircled by mountains in southern Oregon, Crater Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the world, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an uninspiring view from anywhere along the rim. The lake’s blue hue looks almost magical — especially at sunset.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park inspires visitors with its romantic — and impressive — mountains and lakes. You’ll have a view of the mountains almost anywhere you go, and you’ll have your choice of water features too. Popular ceremony destinations include Snake River, String Lake, Hidden Falls, Jackson Lake Lodge and Schwabacher Landing.
Haleakalā National Park
An elopement Haleakalā National Park can only be described as otherworldly and very special. It’s easy to feel like the only two people in the world when you’re standing thousands of feet above the ocean among volcanoes in the clouds of Hawaii. Haleakalā Crater and Waimoku Falls, which is an impressive 400 feet tall, are two must-see spots.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular national park elopement destinations. Its granite cliffs, beautiful lakes, and epic waterfalls make for an ideal location for an intimate ceremony. Cathedral Beach, Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls stand out to us as great places to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and the water.
Please note: The Yosemite National Park wedding calendar books up fast, so we recommend applying for your special use permit several months in advance.
Kenai Fjords National Park
Couples who elope at Kenai Fjords National Park are in for a jaw-dropping ceremony framed by the soaring fjords, hanging glaciers and secluded coves. Book a boat tour out of the port of Seward to round out the day with glacier hopping and whale watching, or hire a guide to take you kayaking through the fjords. The park is also known for Harding Icefield, which has over 40 glaciers.
Looking for an elopement team for your national park wedding?
Skyewater Photo + Film is a photography and videography team that specializes in destination weddings and adventure elopements all over the US. We’re also very familiar with eloping in national parks, and know of some other hidden gem locations not mentioned here.
Whether you’re looking for a meaningful wedding video or an adventurous elopement photographer, contact Skyewater Photo + Film for your big day!