May 7, 2022
On the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, there’s a place where you’ll find flowing waterfalls, towering evergreens, and rocky beaches – Olympic National Park! Whether you want to take a walk on the beach or have a picnic in a field of wildflowers, you’ll find whatever you need for your perfect Pacific Northwest elopement. In this Olympic National Park elopement guide, you’ll learn everything you’ll need to know about planning a wedding on the Olympic Peninsula in 2022!
Olympic National Park is huge! From mountains to beaches and everything in between, you’ll get lots of different climates throughout the year. Like most places in the Pacific Northwest, the Olympic Peninsula gets a lot of rain for most of the year, and the weather is a bit unpredictable, so it’s important to layer up and prepare for a little bit of rain regardless of which season you elope in.
While the Pacific Northwest is pretty all year round, between you and me, I think the best time to elope in Olympic National Park is early fall! The weather is still warm, the rain hasn’t started pouring, and the crowds start to die down after Labor Day.
Olympic National Park sees an average of 140 inches of rain per year – the majority of the rain falls between the months of November and April. In lower elevations of the park, the weather is cold and very wet, but it doesn’t usually drop below freezing.
In higher elevations, the snow is more consistent – mountainous regions like Hurricane Ridge get a lot of snow each winter! Snow can fall as early as the end of September, and as late as June in the mountains.
It doesn’t always rain, though! Summer is the driest season, generally peaking at about 75 degrees during the day, making it a great time for an Olympic National Park elopement. Hikes are comfortable, but it’s also a really popular time of year. If you want to avoid the crowds, plan for a mid-week elopement or have your ceremony at sunrise or sunset.
There are so many places to get married in Olympic National Park! You can say your vows on the rocky beaches of the coast, at the base of a rushing waterfall, or in an incredible old growth rainforest. Each location offers a unique experience, and these places are all within a few hours from each other!
In the foothills of the Olympic Mountains lies a crystal clear, glacier carved lake that makes for the perfect backdrop for any Olympic National Park wedding. With plenty of activities to do at Lake Crescent, you’ll definitely be able to have a fun-filled day! You can give back with a wedding weekend at Naturebridge, have your ceremony overlooking Lake Crescent atop Mount Storm King, or say “I do” beneath the rushing Marymere Falls.
Towering above Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge has spectacular views all around! With comfortable, accessible picnic areas and activities for all seasons, it’s easy to see why Hurricane Ridge elopements are popular! It’s one of the most easily accessible locations in Olympic National Park, but it gets a lot of snow in the winter – so sometimes the road is inaccessible. For those who want to hike, there are tons of fun trails that start at Hurricane Ridge, like the Hurricane Hill Trail or the Klahhane Ridge Trail. In the spring, you can have a picnic enjoying the colorful wildflowers that are scattered through the mountains.
Feel the ocean breeze as you say your vows on the rocky coast of Washington – giant sea stacks dot the shoreline and the low tide reveals lively tide pools to explore! Some beaches, like Shi Shi Beach, require a little bit of hiking to get to, but the views are amazing and you can even camp on the beach. Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach are more easily accessible, usually with plenty of parking, and just off the road!
Seeing the sun shine through the Hall of Mosses on a cool foggy morning is one of the coolest experiences you can have in Olympic National Park. The Hoh Rainforest is a temperate rainforest, so while you won’t see toucans and monkeys, the old forest growth is full of life – shades of green and brown surround you, from the ferns on the forest floor to the cozy canopy of the trees!
There are tons of hikes throughout, like the Hoh River trail and there’s even a few ADA accessible trails, like the Hoh Rainforest Loop. If you want to learn more about how to plan an ADA accessible elopement, check out this guide – it’s about Oregon elopements, but the scenery can be similar to Olympic National Park!
Sol Duc Valley has lots to do and tons of beautiful places to see! For waterfall views, there’s an easy trail to Sol Duc Falls – but it’s a popular hike, so if you want to avoid the crowds, there are several options to extend the trail and get away from the hustle and bustle. After your elopement, you can even go for a romantic soak at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort – who doesn’t like a natural hot tub?
If your ceremony is less than 5 people total (including your photographer), I have some good news for you! There will be a lot more flexibility for your Olympic National Park elopement, and you likely won’t need a permit for your ceremony! If you plan on having more than 10 people at your wedding, you’ll need to get a permit for one of the pre-approved ceremony locations. You can find some information on their website, but you’ll need to email the park for these locations. But, I’ve got you covered!
As your Olympic National Park elopement photographer, I’ll help you figure out all the details of what permits to get and when. I’ll make sure you get the most up-to-date information about permitting in Olympic National Park, since these rules and regulations can change. I always recommend inquiring with the Park’s permit office (regardless of group size) to make sure your plans are in compliance with the latest’s policies, plus staff might have some helpful info in case of any trail closures or events happening.
Part of enjoying nature is making sure you leave it how you found it! LNT (Leave No Trace) is a set of 7 principles that were created to help us humans reduce the impact that we have on the outdoors – because even if we don’t realize it, we do have an impact! Things we think of as small – such as taking a rock or bringing foreign flowers in your bouquet – can damage the environment more than we think.
Here are the 7 principles, and what they mean for elopements:
Your wedding day should be all about you! A day to celebrate your love for each other in a way that represents who you are – whether that looks like hiking to the coolest waterfall or cozying up by a warm fire.
As an Olympic National Park elopement photographer, it’s my job to capture each special moment so that you can relive how you felt on your wedding day. Plus, as someone who chose to elope herself, I want to make sure your wedding day is an experience to remember! From location recommendations and getting your permits to timeline planning, I’ll be there every step of the way to make sure that your wedding experience honors your unique love story.
If you’re ready to learn more about my Olympic National Park elopement packages, contact me, and let’s start planning your day!