BEST PLACES TO ELOPE IN WASHINGTON
An Olympic National Park elopement captures the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It's hard to capture images that aren't absolutely stunning. Nicole and Zack enjoyed their first look photos at Madison Falls. From there, we wandered to the waterfall for secluded romantic portraits. The couple held their elopement ceremony on the road to Hurricane Ridge. They exchanged wedding rings and said their vows at 5,000 feet. Hurricane Ridge is a magical spot for an elopement! After their first kiss, we hiked along some trails and enjoyed the sweeping views across the Olympic Mountains.
Olympic National Park consistently ranks as one of America's most-visited national parks. It's easy to see why. Towering snowcapped peaks. Rain-soaked forests. Majestic ocean beaches. And you can easily visit all three distinct landscapes. We put together this guide to eloping in Olympic National Park and nearby locations on the Olympic Peninsula. You'll quickly see why this special section of America creates absolutely wonderful venues for romantic and unforgettable weddings and elopements.
Storytelling lasts forever.
You'll need to arrange an Olympic National Park wedding permit. It's easy to get permission for your elopement. As your elopement photographer, we're happy to help you! The National Park Service explains the process to get a wedding permit on its website. It's called a special use permit. Couples should contact the park rangers 3 to 4 weeks before their elopement or wedding. Couples tell us the process is simply and easy.
Where should we even start listing Olympic National Park elopement locations? The park is known for its extraordinary diversity. In a single day, you can travel between soaking rainforests, sandy ocean beaches and sweeping alpine mountains. Couples sometimes prefer one location for their elopement. Others travel between two or more places within the park. As a result, you can enjoy different kinds of elopement photography. The options are endless!
Hurricane Ridge is the most famous location to elope in Olympic National Park. You can reach the summit of Hurricane Ridge after a short drive from Port Angeles, Washington. Hurricane Ridge Road is suitable for all vehicles. Even in the winter, park rangers plow the road on weekends. During the short drive, you feel the air changing as your elevation increases. You start to enjoy views across the Strait. You can even see Victoria, British Columbia! The best time for a Hurricane Ridge elopement is one hour before sunset. Couples can walk along the pathways for fabulous photography opportunities. You see sweeping mountain ranges behind you. Your elopement ceremony backdrop includes mountains, valleys and even the river thousands of feet below. Hurricane Ridge is famous for its changing weather. Clouds roll in. Sunlight disappears. And suddenly your romantic pictures with mountains become impossible. That's why elopement photographers suggest monitoring the park's webcams. You can see how quickly the conditions change!
A Ruby Beach elopement captures ocean beauty. This stretch of coastline earns its name from the polished rocks. They are smooth and shiny like rubies. Ruby Beach is the most well-known beach in Olympic National Park. It's also very easy to access from Highway 101. Ruby Beach is famous for its prominent sea-stacks rising from the ocean. Even large trees grow on these rock outcroppings. They make splendid backdrops for romantic couples portraits.
Prepare to get wet during a Hoh Rainforest elopement! The Hoh Rainforest can feel like an eerie and spooky place. It's wet. It's damp. It's dark. The thick tree canopy provides all-year cover from the sunshine, which hardly ever reaches this remote pocket of land. But it still feels awesome! The lush green makes for wonderful photos. A white wedding dress combines so perfectly with the rich green color of ferns, ivy and moss. The Hoh Rain forest gets about 14 feet of rain each year. Wow! Compare that to nearby Seattle's 36 inches. We should also be on the lookout for the resident herd of elk! The Hoh Rainforest has also been listed as one of the seven wonders of Washington.
Sol Duc Falls is a "triple watefall" located near Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park. Your elopement photographer will help you pick the best time of day. The waterfall is under a canopy of trees. As a result, you can usually take good pictures during the day. Couples love standing on the wooden bridge over the falls. You can reach the waterfall after a short 1.6 mile hike. You can park at the Sol Duc Hot Springs and Resort. While you're there, maybe swing by the hot springs for some soaking and relaxing? Not quite a honeymoon, but it's close, right?
Your Lake Crescent elopement photos will showcase mesmerizing blue water. Lake Crescent is stunningly clear. The National Park Service says that's because the lake has very low levels of nitrogen. You can see the bottom very clearly for a long distance. But Lake Crescent is also very deep. Most couples plan their elopement along the shores of Lake Crescent near Lake Crescent Lodge. From there, you can take romantic photos on the long wooden pier. Your elopement photorgapher will also show you other locations for couples portraits. The sandy beaches look great. Your wedding ceremony can take place along the pebble beaches with soaring mountains and fir trees as a backdrop. The Outdoor Project touts five great reasons to trek to Lake Crescent. We couldn't agree more!
The Salt Creek Recreation Area is not technically within Olympic National Park. It's actually a county park. But it should be a national park, at least if amazing scenery is your guide. Salt Creek is about 20 minutes from downtown Port Angeles. It's very easy to get to. Once there, you enjoy rocky outcroppings just as magical and prominent as Ruby Beach or any of the other ocean beach elopement locations. Salt Lake is on the strait, so you're also more shielded from heavy waves and winds. We absolutely love exploring the nooks and crannies of Salt Creek. That's where Nicole and Zack held the first dance after getting married at Hurricane Ridge!
Madison Falls is a wonderful little waterfall near the Elwah River section of Olympic National Park. You hike a very flat 1-mile trail to arrive at a glorious waterfall. It feels secluded. You might almost think you discovered this little part of paradise. The waterfall itself is tall enough for epic photos of your elopement or even engagement. Some couples have their first look at Madison Falls.
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Picking the right Olympic National Park elopement photographer is an important decision. You should find someone with experience at the park. Sound Originals is very familiar with the different places to elope in Olympic National Park. We love exploring the hidden gems, as well as the famous landmarks! Your photographer will be by your side the whole day. Many couples want getting ready photos while they put on makeup and do their hair. They want photos of their first look, elopement ceremony, reception, dances and toasts. Of course, some elopements are very simple affairs. We love intimate elopements! Your elopement photographer can help you make the most of your time.
Elopements are so exciting that you'll find yourself very tired at the end of the big day. Many couples like to kick up their feet and relax after spending a day taking epic photographs throughout the peninsula. Here some ideas for hotels, lodges and places to stay.
Lake Crescent Lodge is located on the shores of Lake Crescent. You'll find an elegant dining room along with cabins and cottages. It's usually crowded and lively in the summer months. Families and children play on the beach or rent paddle boards. The lodge also hosts weddings and special events in the nearby meadow.
Kalaloch Lodge is perched on a small cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It's the closest lodge and hotel to Ruby Beach and the other ocean elopement locations. We love staying in the cozy cabins. They're private and secluded, cozy and comfortable. Be sure to head into the restaurant for a delicious meal! There's also a small general store with provisions along with great coffee for your morning routine.
Lake Quinault Lodge is a stately resort on the south side of the Olympic Mountains. When you imagine a classic national park inn, this is what probably comes to mind. Lake Quinault Lodge has a well-maintained grassy meadow complete with lawn chairs and a view of the lake. There's also a small swimming area. The restaurant serves delicious meals. Lake Quinault Lodge is the closest hotel to the Hoh Rainforest.
We absolutely adore a Ruby Beach elopement. This is a magical and enchanting place. It's located on the west side of the Olympic Mountains.
NatureBridge is located on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. It's about 20 minutes from Port Angeles, Washington. The event venue offers reception and ceremony spaces on the lakeshore. Couples can choose from indoor or outdoor spaces.
Washington State elopement locations span everything from rugged mountains to lush gardens. No matter what style of wedding you prefer, you can find it in Washington. Be sure to check out our guide to stunning places to elope near Seattle.
Sound Originals is proud to be more than just a wedding photographer. We're your guide. We're your storytelling partner. We're here to help with anything you need to plan your perfect marriage.
You can elope almost anywhere within Olympic National Park! Our guide to elopement locations includes ocean beaches, alpine mountains and a very soggy rain forest. Choose your climate. You can find anything in Olympic National Park. Be sure to get a special use permit ahead of time and you're good to go! Congratulations on your marriage! We love Ruby Beach, Hurricane Ridge and the Hoh Rainforest.
Yes, you can hold a wedding ceremony in Olympic National Park. Any wedding in Washington State requires an officiant and two witnesses. Some couples planning intimate elopements will ask their photographer to be one of the witnessess.
Hurricane Ridge is one of the highest accessible points in Olympic National Park. The visitor center towers over the valley below at more than 5,000 feet. Even with such a high altitude, it's very easy to get to Hurricane Ridge. You'll need to start at Port Angeles. That's a small town at sea level. You can get to Port Angeles by taking the Washington State Ferries on the Seattle or Edmonds route to the peninsula. After the ferry, drive along Highway 101 to Port Angeles. Follow the signs to Hurricane Ridge Road. The road is suitable for all vehicles and is maintained even during the winter on weekends.
Yes, you need a permit for Olympic National Park. If you're planning to visit or go camping, you'll need a pass. You can purchase a short-term pass at the visitor center or the entrance station. You can also use a yearly national land pass that allows you to use national forest lands as well. Weddings, elopements and other special events require a special use permit. This is separate from a regular pass to get into the national park.
No, we don't think the road to Hurricane Ridge is scary! It's a well-maintained two lane road. There are tunnels and tight turns. There are also drop-offs. However, it's a safe road for any driver who is paying attention. It's not especially narrow or steep.
The best time of year to visit Olympic National Park depends on your weather preferences. The ocean beaches and rain forest are wet and soggy in the winter, spring and fall. Forks, Washington happens to be the rainiest town in the United States! The summer months are the driest season in the park. As a result, you'll find gorgeous meadows, wildflowers and plenty of green lush trees. Summer can also bring warm weather at the beach and higher elevations like Hurricane Ridge. Spring and fall can be very pleasant times of year. The Pacific Northwest is notoriously unpredictable when it comes to rain. In other words, you should always plan for rain!