lassen volcanic national park elopement guide

California should be at the top of your elopement destination list if you want truly gorgeous natural landscapes. With more national parks and state parks than any other state, there’s a huge variety of backdrops to choose from for saying your “I do’s”.

Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Redwood are probably the first places that pop into your mind when you think of California national parks, but we believe Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the most underrated beauties — and a great spot to elope.

If you’re curious about this stunning location, we’ve put together the complete guide for eloping in Lassen Volcanic National Park to help you get started.

Reasons to Elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park

With so many other options for elopement locations in California, you may be wondering why we recommend considering Lassen Volcanic National Park. Here are some of our favorite things about this unsung gem:

  • Maybe the biggest draw: fewer crowds. Lassen Volcanic National Park is relatively remote and not as popular. This means you can have incredible views all to yourselves for a more intimate experience.
  • Geology lovers rejoice! The park has a ton of hydrothermal features to explore, including bubbling lakes and fumaroles.
  • There’s something for everyone at Lassen Volcanic — whether you like colorful wildflowers, alpine lakes and streams, jagged volcanos, stunning waterfalls, or peaceful forests, you will find it in the park.
  • It’s just as beautiful in the dark as it is during the day. It’s a great place for stargazing while soaking in the magic of your special day.
night sky photos lassen volcanic national park

Best Places to Elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park

If you’re wondering what’s the best spot to elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park, it’s really hard to go wrong with any location. We do have some favorites though:

Manzanita Lake

Enjoy dramatic views of Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags from across the water of Manzanita Lake. Located a short distance from the nearby parking lot, this spot is great for couples who’d rather save their big hikes for before or after their elopement. The entire loop around the lake is just under 2 miles, and there is minimal elevation change.

It’s one of the park’s most photographed lakes for a reason, and beyond being a perfect backdrop, it offers a variety of activities too. If you and your partner are into swimming, fishing, or kayaking, you can do it all here.

Upper Kings Creek Meadow

Like something out of a fairytale, Upper Kings Creek Meadow is almost too picturesque to be believed. Wildflowers paint the area different colors, black-tailed deer are known to graze, and snow-fed Kings Creek winds through the meadow. There’s even a picnic area to enjoy a meal together as newlyweds and soak in the sunset and stars.

The nearby Kings Creek Falls trail is 3 miles round-trip and climbs up to the cascading waterfall dotted with ferns. It’s a popular hike, so if you want to have the place to yourselves (and get parking), go early!

Summit Lake

Another scenic lake with two nearby campgrounds, Summit Lake is a wonderful place to elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park. A bit smaller than Manzanita Lake, it’s located in the heart of the park and surrounded by towering pines. After your elopement, you can go for a swim or just relax and enjoy the view.

Lake Helen

If eloping on the shores of a brilliant sapphire blue glacial lake sounds appealing, Lake Helen may be your ideal elopement location in Lassen National Park. The lake stays frozen and covered in deep snow most of the year because it sits at such a high altitude, but August and September offer the best chances to see the ethereal, 110-feet-deep body of water. Lupines can be found around the perimeter too!

If you luck out on your elopement day and there isn’t much wind, you’ll be treated to a near-perfect reflection of Lassen Peak on the lake. You can catch an amazing sunset view from a small pullout area just above Lake Helen.

lassen volcanic national park elopement guide

How to Elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park

  1. Select a date. If you’re wanting the option to explore more parts of the park, summer will be your best bet, but Lassen Volcanic has some beautiful views and winter activities as well.
  2. Obtain any necessary permits or other reservations. Most parks will require you to pay a site fee and apply for a Special Use Permit to elope. The earlier you do this, the better. Learn more about the permits you need to elope in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
  3. Find your vendors. Our team has experience hiking and working in national parks all over the country, and we’ve already hiked a few trails in Lassen Volcanic NP ourselves so we’d love to go back! For other vendors like hair and makeup artists and officiants, there are plenty of great options to choose from in nearby Sacramento or San Francisco.
  4. Book your lodging. If you’re an adventurous couple, Lassen Volcanic National Park has several campsites you can stay at before and after your elopement. They also have camping cabins and a more hotel-like lodge. Book early! Or search online through VRBO for private rentals.
  5. Get your marriage license. You’ll want to pick up this important document from one of the surrounding County Clerk’s offices, like Shasta, Lassen, Plumas, or Tehama County.
  6. Plan your activities! There’s no shortage of exciting things to do inside and outside Lassen Volcanic National Park. We’d recommend booking some extra time to get photos of you in multiple locations. For some inspiration, scroll down to “What to do in Lassen Volcanic National Park.”

When to Visit Lassen Volcanic National Park

The park highway opens up to through traffic in July and remains open through October. We recommend coming during the summer so that you can see all of the different areas that make the park so unique. The temperatures stay pretty mild due to the elevation, but morning or evening ceremonies are best to avoid any heat (and crowds). You can even see wildflowers in higher elevations.

The winter is significantly colder, and there are certain sections of the park that are only accessible by snowshoe or cross-country skiing. That’s not to say it isn’t just as beautiful — the snow-capped peaks are otherworldly. And certain areas of the park, like Manzanita Lake, the Southwest Area, and the Sulphur Works Hydrothermal Area remain open during this time.

Wedding Venues Near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Want to celebrate your elopement with friends and family? There are a few locations near Lassen Volcanic National Park that make for a perfect gathering place after tying the knot:

Highlands Ranch Resort

Mill Creek Resort

Lassen Meadows Ranch

How to Get to Lassen Volcanic National Park

Eloping in Lassen Volcanic National Park will require a bit of a drive, but we guarantee that it’s worth it. Here are some of the nearest major airports you can fly into:

  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport (2.5 hours away)
  • Sacramento International Airport (2.5 hours away)
  • San Francisco International Airport (4.5 hours away)

You may also be able to find flights that land in regional airports, which may be a bit closer (Redding, for example).

Transportation Options in Lassen Volcanic National Park

You’ll mostly be exploring Lassen Volcanic National Park by car or on foot. There is a park highway and several roads that will get you to the main attractions, and of course, there are plenty of hiking options too. Here are some more tips for getting around the park.

What to Do in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of those places you’ll want to visit over and over again because there’s just so much to do! Here are some of our recommendations if you’re there:

  • Go boating or fishing on one of the lakes.
  • Take a swim in the cool, alpine waters.
  • Hike or backpack on one of the many trails — you may even have to hike over some lingering snow patches, even in the summer.
  • Drive through the scenic park highway and take in all of the different habitats and views of the park.
  • Bike through the mountainous terrain.
  • Ski, snowboard, sled, or snowshoe your way through the park if you’re there in the winter.
  • Stargaze, see a clear view of the milky way, and maybe even catch a glimpse of the northern lights.

Where to Stay in and Around Lassen Volcanic National Park

We mentioned before that this is a great elopement destination for people who like to camp. Lassen Volcanic National Park has a great resource for planning your camping trip if that’s the way you want to go. Here’s a list of all of the different sites:

  • Manzanita Lake Campground (also has camping cabins)
  • Summit Lake Campground
  • Butte Campground
  • Juniper Campground
  • Warner Valley
  • Lost Creek Group
  • Southwest Walk-in

The Drakesbad Guest Ranch is the only hotel-like lodging in the park. For other options, you can always check out VRBO accommodations in the nearby towns of Burney, Redding, Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, Chester/Lake Almanor, and Susanville.

burney falls california state park
Burney Falls State Park

Nearby Alternatives to Eloping in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Love the thought of eloping in Lassen Volcanic National Park but not fully committed yet? Here are some equally amazing elopement locations nearby:

Need a Photo + Video Team for your Lassen Volcanic National Park Elopement?

The Skyewater Photo + Film team is based in Washington and specializes in adventure elopements and destination weddings all over the US. We love National Park elopements and can even help you plan, book your dream location, and find the perfect vendors for you. Let’s make your elopement day the best one ever.

Reach out to our elopement photography and videography team today to get more info!

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