Glacier National Park Elopement Guide - Courtney Lynn

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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 Guidebride and groom eloping in Glacier National Park

 

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

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

Iceberg Trail

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

adventure couple says their vows during their glacier national park elopement

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!bride and groom elope in the mountains at sunset

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!

Honeymoon Cabin & Hot Tub Views

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!

Many Glacier Lodge

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!

The Lodge at Whitefish Lake

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!

The Montana Treehouse

adventurous elopement at lake mcdonald in glacier national park

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Okay, can we take a moment to appreciate that epic pink sunset in Glacier National Park?!

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!

Come check out these related articles!

11 Most Common Questions About Eloping Answered!

A Complete Guide for Eloping in Washington State

Best Places to Elope in Utah

What to Do After Eloping

How Much Does it Cost to Elope?

Ultimate How to Elope GuideHow to Elope in Glacier National Park | Courtney Lynn

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Courtney made the process SO easy! She does more than just photograph your day. She cares about you having the BEST elopement experience possible! I'll never be able to thank Courtney enough for making our dream day happen!

Contact me about your Elopement!

You probably have a million thoughts running through your head making you a bit overwhelmed.

How does this work? What can I do during my elopement? How do I choose my location? Is the ceremony legal? Can I elope with family?

One of the reasons you're probably eloping is because you want to have a stress-free day, but with so much uncertainty on how to plan an elopement how is it even possible?!

No need to stress, you're in the right place! This is where I come in and do the heavy lifting for you.

I'm Courtney, and I specialize in documenting adventurous elopements for couples who love the outdoors, but role is so much more than just an elopement photographer.

I'm here to guide you through every single step of planning your elopement and to give you a clear path tossing that stress out the window!

So, if you're ready to have a unique elopement experience that's actually focused on you, then let's friggin' do this!!


You know you want to elope,

and you know you want it to be meaningful and adventurous, but where do you start?!

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"When my now husband and I started planning our elopement, we were confused to the max. We didn’t know where to start or how to go about planning anything. 

COURTNEY MADE THE PROCESS SO EASY! She is organized, professional, sweet, and so so funny!! She does more than just photograph your day, she cares about you having the BEST elopement experience possible!

She helped us plan EVERYTHING! Even down to the little details! She helped us narrow down where, giving us her informative opinions on each of our options! She gave us cool ideas that we could incorporate into our special day. No idea was too big! When the day came, we had the absolute best time exploring and getting married!

Our elopement was an absolute DREAM COME TRUE! I will never be able to thank Courtney enough for making our dream day happen. 

So, for anyone on the fence, swaying back and forth about whether or not work with Courtney, SWAY NO MORE! You’ve found your person!! My day couldn’t have been any better and my pictures are beautiful and capture the fun we had!!! I can’t wait to work with her again!"

Taylor & andrew

"Planning for our day and the day itself would have been completely different without Courtney. We only knew that we wanted to share our vows in the Tuscan countryside and have beautiful photos, and Courtney planned the perfect agenda for that to happen.

She coordinated our timing around sunset, and not only were the photos breathtaking, but the actual evening was too. I remember looking out over the vineyards as the sun set, the view becoming more and more stunning by the minute. There were no moments that felt forced or posed, every shot was comfortable and fun and full of love.

Courtney is such a sweet, kind, fun person and we truly enjoyed spending the day with her. Courtney helped us to turn our dreams into reality, and we hardly had to do a thing. She allowed us to be in control of our day but gently took all of our wants and needs into consideration while making everything happen. Lastly, our pictures are just magical. Courtney is an incredibly talented photographer, and I feel so lucky that we were able to work with her. I would recommend her over and over again to anyone eloping."

Ellie & Zac

"Let. Me. Tell. You. It's not the technical aspects of photography that are the most difficult. It's the human aspect. Remembering that as a Photographer, you may be behind the lens but you are still a human, in front of other humans, in some of the most raw and intimate of moments.

Courtney balances both of these necessities (but rarities) with poise, great direction, and an overall kind calmness that just makes you breathe a sigh of relief. If you've come across Courtney's page and see what you like already, BOOK HER NOW. Don't spend another second looking for another Photographer that doesn't bring anywhere near the amazing light and spirit that this girl brings right here. Thank you again Courtney for allowing my husband and I to marry each other all over again! The images are stunning and I can't wait to blow them up and hang them in our home."

Shannon & Brandon

"Working with Courtney was an extremely easy experience, seamless, positive and obviously fun. My wife and I went on our honeymoon and wanted to surprise her with a surprise honeymoon adventure session.

Courtney worked with me to make that dream gift for my wife a reality. Meeting and posing for a photographer for the first time can be intimidating, but with Courtney it was anything but that.

Courtney is extremely positive and helpful and made us feel very comfortable in front of the camera. She played some of our favorite songs and before we knew we were just having fun and she was catching them every second. Perhaps the best part of our session was that Courtney knew all the characteristic and peaceful places of where we were, which made our photos even more extraordinary.

She kept the focus on my wife and me. When we shared our images with friends and relatives, everyone complimented on Courtney's aesthetics and the emotion she was able to capture. I can't thank Courtney enough for exceeding all our expectations with this photo shoot!!"

NINA & JASON

"Pick her -- she's the best! Courtney is amazing! Seriously! If you're thinking about eloping you should snatch her up to capture your day. She makes the entire experience fun and relaxed plus the pictures just blew us away. I will never forget our magical time in Venice and I'm obsessed with the gorgeous photos Courtney took of us. She's so so good!"

Jami & Tim

Courtney is not only a talented photographer, but she makes you feel so comfortable even though being in front of the camera can be nerve-wracking! She did such an amazing job with our day and if I had to pick my favorite photo it would take FOREVER, because I love so many! Definitely consider her if you want adventurous and beautiful photos coupled with an amazing experience!

walker & mac
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Don't just take it from me, Take it from my past couples!

You’re in the right place!

I’m here to guide you through EVERY. SINGLE. STEP.

Let’s toss that’s confusion out the window and focus on how you want to get married!

Let me relieve those feelings of being lost, save you time, tell the story of your day and let’s get started creating a day that you’ll never forget!

So, if you know you want to elope,
but feel unsure on where to start, 

contact me & let's get starting creating your dream elopement!

...and you want an amazing storyteller to document your day

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