If you’re considering having a Glacier National Park Elopement then I’m here to cheer you on and let you know what an incredible location decision you’ve made! Glacier National Park is one of the most incredible national parks in the United States! The glacier mountains that tower over valleys and lakes are truly stunning. There’s hiking trails for everyone and even roads that lead directly to incredible locations that don’t require hiking. One of the best parts about eloping in Glacier National Park is that unlike many other national parks they don’t have specific locations for your ceremony! You can get married literally anywhere you want creating endless possibilities for your elopement! I’ve picked out some of the best hikes for your Glacier National Park Elopement and will go over some tips and advice for you as you start to plan out the most incredible day of your life!
Glacier National Park Elopement Guide
1. Hire Your Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer
The very first thing you should do is hire your elopement photographer! Bringing on an experienced elopement photographer early in the process will help make your life so much easier! I personally work very closely with my couples to help them plan out their elopement from beginning to end.
I’ll help you pick out the perfect location for you to say your vows, help plan out all your activities throughout the day and give you lots of ideas, create a timeline (more of a guideline really!), recommend any additional vendors, etc. I basically double as a coordinator for you!!
So, as you can see having someone who’s experienced in planning and documenting elopements will help keep you stress-free and make it an easy and fun process!!
2. Glacier National Park Elopement Locations
The next step in the process is to pick out your location for your elopement!
As I mentioned above if you have an elopement photographer who helps with planning they’ll be able to help you with all of this, but here are some ideas to help you get started. I keep all of my secret locations for couples I work with and tailor each location list specific to the couples I work with based on what they’re looking for!
Also, you can check out this nifty map that has driving times to and from popular locations!
Hidden Lake Lookout
This is one of the best hikes in the park! Why you ask? I say this because it is an easy hike, very easy to access and ends in an incredible view!! The best time to hike is at sunset which is when wildlife starts to come out and the trail gets less busy. In order to reach the Hidden Lake Lookout Trailhead, you’ll need to drive on the Going-To-The-Sun Road. This road does close at certain times during the year so make sure you stay updated on it.
They also don’t allow ceremonies to be held here due to it being so popular, but it’s a great place to go explore after your ceremony or even the following day for a sunrise adventure!
Distance: 2.7 Miles Out-And-Back
Elevation Gain: 540 Feet
Location: Logan Pass Area
Going to the Sun Road
This is a beautiful mountain pass road! If you don’t want to hike this would be a great adventurous drive to hit up multiple locations and see many views on your adventure!
However, in order to drive the Going-To-The-Sun Road, your vehicle must:
- be under 21 feet length
- be under 8 feet wide, and
- be less than 10 feet tall
Avalanche Lake Trail is one of the more popular hikes in Glacier National Park because it’s one of the closest locations to towns like Kalispell, Whitefish, and Columbia Falls. These towns are typically where people will stay when visiting the national park! It’s also a fairly easy hike making it great for families. This is another location I would recommend hiking at sunrise or late sunset.
The Lake makes for the perfect backdrop for your vows as the lake sits between the mountains Little Matterhorn Mountain, Bearhat Mountain, and Mount Brown! If you have your ceremony early in the morning you’ll be able to catch the beautiful reflections on the lake, too!
Distance: 4.5 miles out-and-back
Elevation Gain: 730 Feet
Location: Lake McDonald Area
Trail of the Cedars
The Trail of Cedars is a flat and wheelchair accessible hike. So, if you have a family member or friend you want to include during your elopement that needs a wheelchair-accessible location this would be a fantastic option!
This trailhead shares the same parking lot for Avalanche Lake Trail. So, be sure to have a sunrise or sunset elopement, which I would suggest anyways, to make sure you’re able to get a parking spot!
Distance: 1-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 60 feet
Location: Lake McDonald Area
Sun Point Nature Trail
This trail is called sun point for a reason! There’s not much shade or tree coverage on the trail so the sun is shining down for most of the day. The view you get once you reach the lake is absolutely gorgeous! You’ll see St. Mary Lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. It makes for the perfect place to say your vows.
There are actually two places that you can use to reach this spot. One is from Sun Point Parking Lot making the trail a 0.1-mile out-and-back stop. This is perfect if you want a beautiful view without a crazy long hike–especially if you elope during the warmer months! The second way to reach this point is from Sunrift Gorge Parking Lot, making the Sun Point Nature Trail a total of 1.7-miles out and back.
Distance: 1.7 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 213 feet
Location: St Mary/Rising Sun Area
If you’re looking for a longer trail for an all-day hiking elopement then this is your best choice! While this trail is longer it’s still a pretty easy hike for beginners and throughout this trail, you’ll come across jaw-dropping views of glacier mountains!
Once you reach the lake you’ll be greeted with a beautiful lake surrounded by glaciers!
Distance: 9.7 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 1275 feet
Location: Many Glacier Area
Highline Trail to Haystack Butte
This is another amazing all-day hike that will have your jaw on the ground! The well-known Highline trail is much longer, but cutting the trail down to Haystack Butte is a fantastic intermediate hike! You’ll be sure to find privacy and stunning views for your backdrop.
Distance: 8.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1690 feet
Location: Going-to-the-Sun-Road/East Glacier
3. Apply for your Glacier National Park Elopement Permit
Once your location has been nailed down it’s time to apply for your permit to elope in Glacier National Park. You’ll need to apply for a special use permit through the official website. You’ll have to fill out the application and pay a fee of $100.
When filling out the permit you’ll have you put in your first choice of ceremony location as well as two alternate location options. You’ll also have to fill out what time you plan to have your ceremony – be sure you discuss this with your photographer ahead of time! The permit office prefers that you fill out your permit application, send it in and then follow up with them via phone call or wait for them to contact you so they have your application in hand while granting that permit.
4. What type of weather do you want for your Glacier National Park Elopement?
Before you pick a date be sure to think about the type of weather that you would love to have on your elopement day! If you want to sunshine then opt for a summer date for your Glacier National Park Elopement! July and August are definitely the busiest months to visit the park, but it’s for a good reason. The temperatures are most ideal, flowers will be blooming and the Going-the-Sun-Road will be fully open!
May and June are also beautiful and the springtime flowers will be blooming. While spring does have cooler temperature the park will be way less crowded and the mountain peaks will still be covered in snow creating gorgeous mountain backdrops! However, the downside is that the Going to the Sun Road typically doesn’t fully open till July, but there are plenty of other incredible locations to elope in Glacier National Park that don’t involve taking this highway!
The fall time in Glacier National Park is overloaded with stunning fall colors! If you want mountain backdrops with beautiful oranges, reds and yellows all around then take advantage of this gorgeous time of year! The park is much less crowded during the fall as well.
Then, there’s winter! If you want snow and love this time of year, then choosing to have your winter elopement in this park would be a fantastic choice. It’s cold, but it’s absolutely beautiful and the crowds will be gone! Not too many locations will be open, but West Glacier is still open and only a short drive from Whitefish.
You should definitely try to plan your elopement around sunset! We have the most gorgeous late-night sunsets in the park. Sunsets can last way past 9:30 or 10:00 during the longest summer days! Another great option is to plan around sunrise if one of the trails you want to hike is a bit more popular.
Pro Tip: No matter what season you want to elope in be sure to choose a weekday. The trails will be less busy and won’t have to run into as many people as you would on the weekend!
5.What to wear for your Glacier National Park Elopement
When you start your search for your elopement dress and outfits, keep in mind that when eloping outdoors there tends to be a decent amount of wind to have fun with! So, opt for a flowy dress that will look gorgeous in pictures and keep you comfortable throughout your day.
For a shorter hike, you’ll most likely wear your dress and hiking boots, but for a longer hike, you’ll probably tuck it away in your backpack and change once you reach your location. Another big reason to opt for a flowy dress is that you’ll be able to wear base layers under your dress to keep yourself warm if you’re eloping in one of the cooler seasons.
For the grooms out there this could look like wearing a suit or a more casual outfit versus wearing a tux. When you go to pick out your clothes try to get materials that have some stretch to them and are breathable. You’ll thank me later!!
6. Where to Stay
There are loads of places to stay just outside the entrance to Glacier National Park. All it takes is a quick search on Airbnb or VRBO and start searching away! Here are a few lodges and places to check out to help you get started! You can view more over on How to Plan an Airbnb Elopement, too!
This cabin has 365 degree views and is very private and secluded! It’s perfect for staying at for your elopement and can fit up to 8 people. It’s only 15 minutes from Glacier National Park entrance, too!! What better way to end your evening under the stars, sipping a drink and enjoy the hot tub. It doesn’t get much better than that!
The lodge sits right on Many Glacier Lake and is fairly remote. There are loads of trails and epic views right outside the doorstep! There’s also a restaurant and bar located inside which is very convenient. This lodge sits right on near east glacier!
This lodge definitely has a more tourist vibe. It is located only 5 minutes from downtown Whitefish and is 27 minutes from Glacier National Park entrance. Whitefish has a bunch of shops and lots of restaurants to choose from!
If you’re looking for a place that is unique and special be sure to check this place out! It is located about 21 miles from the West Glacier entrance. This place is completely surrounded by trees so privacy is all yours!
Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer
If you’re looking for someone to document your Glacier National Park Elopement and to help guide you through the whole process I would be so stoked to hear from you!
It’s extremely important to me to get to know you so that I can help craft the entire elopement experience around you and to make sure we’re a great fit for each other! I’m here to help you plan all the logistics and details of your elopement day so that you won’t be overwhelmed or confused. I’ll help you pick out the perfect spot, plan out all the details and activities, and keep your elopement day relaxed and fun!
You can contact me >HERE< and I look forwarding to hearing all about your vision for your elopement day!
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