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Mt Rainier Elopement Guide

Eloping amidst the majestic beauty of Mount Rainier in Washington State gives couples one of the best elopement experiences in the PNW. What’s more iconic than the silhouette of Mount Rainier surrounded by alpine landscapes and winding forests? One of the best places to elope in Washington State, for sure! Imagine exchanging vows in the shadow of this majestic peak, the air filled with the crisp scent of evergreen trees and the soothing sound of glacial streams. Planning a Mt. Rainier elopement offers diverse settings, from alpine lakes to ancient forests, giving couples a range of breathtaking locations to explore.

We’ll break down everything you need to know to have an epic wedding day at Mt. Rainier. We will discuss places to elope in Mt. Rainier, the best time and season to plan your elopement, marriage license and permit information, and our awesome featured vendors who specialize in Mt. Rainier elopements and intimate weddings!

How to Elope in Mount Rainier National Park

  1. Pick a place to elope in Mt Rainier
  2. Choose the best time and season to elope in Mt Rainier
  3. Get your marriage license and permit
  4. Hire a Mt Rainier elopement photographer
  5. Decide where you’re staying near Mt Rainier

Check out this Magical Wildflower Elopement at Mount Rainier National Park below.

Pick a Place to Elope in Mount Rainier

Mt. Rainier is a pretty big park! We love that several major cities in Washington state (Seattle, Tacoma, Yakima…) are within 200 miles of the park, making this a great national park to explore if you’re traveling to and from your accommodation with family and friends. There are four entrances to Mount Rainier National Park. Some of these entrances close for parts of the year, so please double-check before heading over to your desired location:

Nisqually (Southwest Entrance): Open year-round and also the most popular.

Carbon River (Northwest Entrance): Open year-round. This is home to the “rainforest” area.

Stevens Canyon (Southeast Entrance): Located east of Packwood, WA. Opened from late May to early October.

White River (Northeast Entrance): Close to popular trails and White River Campground. This entrance is 14 miles from Sunrise. However, the road to Sunrise is closed from mid-October to early July.

The park itself is gorgeous and there are over 150 trails to explore and 400 lakes to admire as you explore. With this in mind, we are going to share our top places to elope in Mount Rainier, but we always recommend checking in with your elopement vendor for more remote locations within the park not many tourists may know about.


One of the most iconic views of Mount Rainer and probably the most popular. There are rolling green hills filled with wildflowers during the summer here. Myrtle Falls is near here if you’re thinking about adding a waterfall to your adventure.

Sunrise Point

As the name suggests, it’s a great spot for sunrise ceremonies with breathtaking views. This is the highest elevation in the park and it’s surrounded by the most magnificent views. If you don’t want to hike to this location, it’s accessible by car too!

Reflection Lakes

Mt. Rainier has a running theme to name its iconic spots exactly what they are. Reflection Lake is one of the more popular lakes in the park, offering reflecting mountain peaks on its crystal waters. Plan ahead and plan during the week because this location does get crowded during peak season.

Tipsoo Lake

Another popular and accessible ceremony site is Tipsoo Lake. This alpine lake is easy to find and features a small loop where you can appreciate different views of Mt. Rainier. It’s an amazing location, but it does get crowded.

Silver Falls

This is a 2-mile loop, which is a good option for couples looking for a more accessible elopement location. You’ll see the falls, wildflowers during the summer, and gorgeous pine trees on the forest trail.

Fire Lookouts

There are four fire towers that can be found in Mt. Rainier, one in each corner of the park. These lookout towers don’t accept reservations and there are no overnight visits or camping allowed at these towers, but you still get an amazing view, making for a unique elopement experience.

Elope in the Forest

Did you know that Mt. Rainier has some of the oldest pines? These giant trees reach over 200 feet in the air, leaving slivers of windows for sunshine to poke through, creating a magical atmosphere for your wedding day. There are plenty of trails that explore these forests, just ask your photographer/videographer for their recommendations based on your hiking skill.

Alpine Lakes

As we mentioned before, Mount Rainier has a bunch of alpine lakes to explore. They are scattered throughout the park, within different winding trails. Some of these alpine lakes are more accessible than others. Some are completely remote, and you’ll need the help of a professional elopement vendor to navigate your way to it. We love elopements with a lake view because you get to see those epic mountain peaks reflecting in the water.

Pick an Overlook With a View

Mt. Rainier is filled with overlook points that are magical and easily accessible. It’s the perfect option if you have a small group with you and want an easy ceremony destination. Just be aware the more accessible overlooks will be crowded, especially during the weekend. Opt for a more remote spot or elope during the weekday.

Choose the Best Time and Season to Elope in Mt Rainier

Mt. Rainier has year-round access, making this a good national park for couples open to all seasons. According to the national park’s website, the easiest weather to navigate is usually between mid-Jun and late-September. We prefer Fall elopements here. Summers are great, but they are more crowded. If you’re ok planning a weekday and sunrise elopement, you should be fine! The peak season is in July and August when the weather is warm and dry, and wildflowers are blooming.

You’ll want to prepare for rain because it’s common, especially wind. If you’re planning a winter elopement in Mt. Rainier, then expect heavy snow and rain. Our best advice is to pack in lots of layers (there can even be some snow in July at some of the highest trails), and to double-check with the park’s website for any updates on trail closures.

Summers in Mt. Rainier

Warmer weather, most of the snow has melted and gone by mid-July, and wildflowers in the mountains. You can also appreciate clear views of Mt. Rainier, despite the peak visitation season. According to the park’s website, “On a sunny summer weekend, it can be difficult or impossible to find parking at Paradise, Sunrise, Grove of the Patriarchs, and at the trailheads between Longmire and Paradise.”

Planning a wildflower elopement: Mount Rainier National Park is known for its famous wildflowers scattered across the park. These wildflowers are only in season from the last week in July until mid-August. If you’re planning a wildflower elopement day, please follow all Leave No Trace principles. Please don’t go running through wildflowers (as much as you want to), picking wildflowers, or laying down in wildflower fields. Please respect the area and keep it better than how you found it so future couples can continue to elope there too.

Fall in Mt. Rainier

Changing leaves and snow begin to fall, comfortable weather for layers to explore. Road closures can occur at higher elevations since snow has already started.

Spring in Mt. Rainier

Unpredictable. It can rain or snow. For the most part, lower-elevation trails will be clear of snow. Still beautiful, but prepare for a potentially muddy elopement and pack in lots of layers. The waterfalls are gorgeous during this time of year!

Winter in Mt Rainier

Lots of snow and cold. Great for winter wonderland vibes. The higher elevation trails do usually close during the winter. The road to paradise closes nightly during winter, and all cars are required to carry tire chains.

Sunrise Elopements in Mt. Rainier


  • Unique Atmosphere: The soft morning light can create a tranquil and magical setting for your ceremony.
  • The symbolism of New Beginnings: Sunrise symbolizes new beginnings, making it a meaningful choice for couples looking to start their married life in a unique way.
  • Fewer Crowds: Generally, fewer people are present during sunrise, allowing for a more intimate and private ceremony.
  • Milder Temperatures: Morning temperatures may be cooler than midday, providing more comfort for you and your guests, especially during warmer months.


  • Early Start: Getting married at sunrise means an early start to the day. This might be challenging for you both if you’re not early risers or if you have guests joining you.
  • Weather Uncertainty: Morning weather can be unpredictable, and there may be a risk of fog or overcast conditions, potentially affecting visibility if you’re planning a high-altitude hike.

Sunset Elopements in Mt Rainier


  • Warm and Romantic Lighting: Sunsets offer warm and romantic lighting with vibrant colors.
  • Popular Timing: Sunset weddings are a popular choice for outdoor events. The warm hues and the gradual fading of light make it a picturesque and visually appealing time.
  • Comfortable Temperatures: Evening temperatures are often more comfortable, making it enjoyable for both the couple and guests. This can be crucial, especially in warmer months.


  • Crowded Locations: Popular spots within the park might be busier during sunset, as it is a preferred time for visitors. This could impact the privacy of your ceremony.
  • Weather Uncertainty: Like sunrise, sunset weather can be unpredictable. There may be a risk of sudden temperature drops or unexpected weather conditions.

We love both sunrise and sunset elopements at Mt. Rainier, BUT we recommend ensuring your photographer has experience in the location and time of day you want to elope. With mountains, it’s important to know which way the sun will hit to avoid crazy shadows or extreme sunlight.

WA Marriage License, Special Use Permits, and Leaving No Trace at Mt Rainier

It’s important to stay up to date with the latest permit information from the park. It’s important to note that while we try to provide the most up-to-date information, permits are subject to change at any time. Locations that were once allowed to visit and take elopement photos can also become unavailable at a moment’s notice. Please be prepared to pivot and change plans if this does happen to you. This is why it’s so important to work with a professional elopement vendor in the area.

How to get your special use permit for Mt. Rainier

If you’re planning to elope in Mount Rainier National Park, then you’ll need to apply for a special use permit on the park’s website if you want to elope first. You’ll need to apply at least four weeks before your requested wedding date. The permit fee to get married in Mt. Rainier is $175.

It’s important to note that your wedding size determines which locations you can plan your actual ceremony.

Keep this in mind:

  • 1-12 participants: may use certain pre-determined locations, which may include select trails, picnic areas, roadside locations, and campground amphitheaters.
  • 13-24 participants: may use certain pre-determined locations, which may include picnic areas, roadside locations, and campground amphitheaters.
  • 25-60 participants: may use certain pre-determined locations, which may include roadside locations and campground amphitheaters.
  • 60 + participants: may use campground amphitheaters.

If you’re not planning a “just us” wedding day, then keep in mind that if you have more than 12 guests, weddings at Paradise, Sunrise, and Tipsoo Lake may not take place between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on weekends. Additional restrictions of location may apply, so please double-check with the park to avoid last-minute changes on your adventure.

Leaving No Trace During Your Wedding Day in Mt Rainier

Obtaining your permit is not the only thing you need to consider. You’ll also want to remember to leave no trace and leave the area even better than you found it. Leaving no trace during your elopement ensures other couples and visitors can explore national parks in the future without any issues.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Stay only on trails, going off trail will hurt the delicate ecosystem. This includes not going through meadows, especially when wildflowers are in bloom (as tempting as it might sound).
  • Mt. Rainier does not allow pets (only service animals) on trails, in wilderness, and/or off-trail areas, in amphitheaters, or on roads…so please pick a different place to elope in Washington State if you want to bring your furry friends.
  • Pack extra trash bags to pick up after yourselves.
  • Make sure not to have your wedding guests throw any confetti, rice, etc.
  • Modest decorations may be allowed, but do require additional permission. Please inquire about this in your application.
  • Chairs, tents, and awnings are not allowed.

Obtaining a Marriage License in Washington

If you’re planning to have a legal wedding ceremony at Mount Rainier National Park, then remember to apply for your marriage license! The license itself is about $69.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Washington has a three-day waiting period, so you can’t get married the same day you get your license.
  • You have 60 days to use your license.
  • You can apply for a marriage license in any county of Washington State and use it anywhere within WA. However, you’ll need to return it to the same county you first applied.
  • You’ll need an officiant and two witnesses to make your wedding ceremony official. Some elopement photographers double as an officiant, and you can always ask some hikers passing by to be witnesses if you want a just-us wedding day.

Hire a Mt. Rainier Elopement Photographer

As you put your Mt. Rainier elopement package together, the best advice we can give you is to team up with someone who has experience planning and documenting elopements at this National Park. These featured vendors below are the perfect resource when it comes to remote elopement locations and epic portrait locations in Mt. Rainier. They are the best people to ask what you should pack, what time and season are best for your specific vision, and provide example timelines with any must-have activities you want in there.

What should you do now? Put together a rough draft of how you want your elopement to look in the Pacific Northwest, including the information we provided you with here. Once you connect with one of our awesome vendors below, you can present them with your “vision” and any concerns you may have. They’ll be happy to help, and can’t wait to go adventuring with you!

Decide Where You’re Staying Near Mt. Rainier

Once you have everything figured out for your elopement adventure, it’s time to secure an epic spot to get ready and rest! You can either stay in a cozy PNW a-frame Airbnb, hotel, or campsite. The options are endless, but keep in mind the distance to and from your ceremony location.

Here are some locations to check out:

White River Campground
Cougar Rock Campground
Copper Creek Inn, Cabins, and Restaurant
Crystal Mountain Resort
Packwood Lodge

Check out more lodging locations here.

Magical Wildflower Elopement at Mount Rainier National Park

For Lily and Chris, this Mount Rainier elopement was the perfect homage to their love story.

The couple’s romance withstood years of long distance, cultivated by adventurous rendezvous and hiking expeditions throughout Europe. With her British groom arriving in the U.S. at long last, Lily sought a landscape that would successfully pay tribute to their travels. The Pacific Northwest fits the bill perfectly!

Photographers Gabi and Brandon Fox had the honor of documenting the day, and together they captured the most stunning images. “[Chris and Lily] were the perfect example of the kind of couple an elopement is perfect for,” they share. “They just wanted to be out experiencing a beautiful place together… Their ceremony was so incredibly heartfelt and got us choked up! Our favorite part was listening to them read letters that their parents had written to them… even though their family was far away, it felt like they were transported there for those moments… Easily right at the top of the list for best ceremonies we’ve ever witnessed.”

An emotional ceremony, a romantic picnic, and epic mountain wildflower views make for an elopement that can only be described as magical!

Photography by The Foxes Photography


“My husband is British, and we did long distance for two years before getting engaged… once we got into the swing of planning a big traditional wedding, we were completely overwhelmed by how stressful it was, especially being thousands of miles apart… it completely sucked having to visit all the wedding venues without Chris being there with me. Eventually, we were just like ‘screw it!’ and decided to get hitched once Chris flew over on his visa… being avid hikers already, I thought it would be a totally unique idea to just elope in the mountains. Little did I know there was a huge community of people who did [adventurous] elopements, and it just made sense for us from there on.”

[Lily, the bride]

“This was a perfectly classic Mt. Rainier elopement. Just the couple plus an officiant, a picnic, an epic view of Mt. Rainier, and a glorious sunset to cap off the day! We spent pretty much the whole day just hanging out and exploring one trail, though we had planned to hike another. It was just so beautiful and enjoyable out there that we all decided not to rush ourselves and just let the day progress naturally.”

[Gabi & Brandon Fox, Photographers]


“…when we did long distance, we would meet each other in Norway or Sweden or Ireland to go hiking, and I wanted our wedding to be just like those: a lovers’ meeting in a totally foreign place… being from the east coast and about to move to California shortly after, I figured the most epic place that would also be the least familiar to us would be the PNW… we didn’t really choose Mt. Rainier National Park as the spot for our ceremony, because we actually planned to hike for an entire week and get married in the middle of it. So because we wanted to start from Olympia and end at Baker, Rainier just happened to be in the middle!”



“The planning was pretty simple… First we prioritized what we both found to be important. For me, it was a damn good photographer – I got TWO – for Chris, he wanted a professional officiant instead of a friend or family member – he didn’t want to play favorites. So we made sure those were ticked off first, and the rest honestly just fell into place naturally. Also we might have just not planned that much at all for the sake of spontaneity.”


mount rainier washington pacific northwest pnw mountain elopement wedding

Officiant | Emily Sterling of Rooted & Wild

Thank you to The Foxes Photography for sharing this session, and congratulations to Lily + Chris!

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