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How to Plan an Epic Mount Rainier Elopement

mount rainier wedding

Post Summary: Interested in a Mount Rainer Elopement? Lucky for you, it’s one of my favorite locations of all time to bring my couples to! Below, you’ll find all the information you need to plan an epic Mount Rainier elopement, from the best spots in the park to wedding permits & more. Get ready to fall in love with one of the most beautiful places in Washington state!

I’ll say it again and again: you cannot beat Mount Rainier National Park when it comes to beautiful places to elope in the Pacific Northwest. Packed with stunning wildflowers, alpine meadows, trails galore, and breathtaking mountain views everywhere you look, it truly is the dream location for any couple looking to have an adventurous Washington elopement! Plus, it’s only about a 2-hour drive from Seattle, making it an easily accessible location from most of the state!

And if you’re dreaming of having a hiking elopement, Mount Rainier will be a dream come true for you! With over 260 trails of various lengths, skill levels & abilities, you have endless options for beautiful hikes & incredible views, whether you want to find a 10-mile hike or a 1-mile walk. Fun fact - it’s also one of the most popular places to summit a 14er using traditional mountaineering equipment!

hare all my best tips and advice on eloping here. Click through the table of contents below to find exactly what you’re looking for, or read the whole shebang to find out everything you need to know to plan your Mount Rainier adventure elopement!

mount rainier elopement

Best Places to Elope in Mount Rainier National Park

Truth be told, it’s incredibly hard to narrow down the “best” locations within the park - there are too many to count! This park has it all: waterfalls, alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, fire lookouts, and views of the expansive Tatoosh Mountain Range that surrounds Mount Rainier. Everywhere you look there’s a jaw-dropping backdrop, which means you have no shortage of location options for your elopement!

We’ll keep it simple for now: the two most popular areas of the park are Sunrise and Paradise. 

Mount Rainier: Sunrise

Sunrise is the highest point you can get to in the park by vehicle and provides absolutely insane views of Rainier and Emmons Glacier. Turn around and you’ll see endless tree-filled valleys surrounding you, and sneak a peek at other volcanoes in the Cascades, too! This side of the park offers stunning alpine tundra landscapes and slightly more barren land than the Paradise side of the park.

Sunrise is 60 miles northeast of the Nisqually Entrance (the entrance with that famous “Mount Rainier National Park” sign you’ve probably seen!), and is packed with hiking opportunities from 1-mile hikes such as the trail to Emmons Vista Overlooks, up to 7-mile treks, like the Palisades Lake Trail. No matter what skill level or desire to hike you bring with you, you’ll be able to find beautiful spots in the Sunrise area!

mt rainier elopement

Mount Rainier: Paradise

Paradise is well-named for its literal wildflower paradise! Visiting Paradise in the summer is an experience like no other: wildflower meadows everywhere you look, bright green valleys, and obviously amazing views. Located on the south side of the park, it’s just 19 miles east of the Nisqually Entrance, and offers just as many amazing hikes as Sunrise! 

For awesome views of Mount Rainier by way of a paved road (wheelchair accessible!), take the 1-mile Skyline Trail to Myrtle Falls. Or if you’re looking for something longer, check out the 5.5-mile Skyline Trail that takes you through views of Mount Rainier, glaciers, & the Tatoosh Range!

mt rainier elopement

And there are SO many more locations besides the main areas of Paradise & Sunrise! I like to keep other spots a little hush-hush so they’re exclusively for my booked couples, and to avoid causing heavy traffic to otherwise in-tact, well-taken-care-of trails.

As you can see, the possibilities here are truly endless, so whether you want to go on an overnight backpacking trip or a quick, easy-peasy hike for your elopement day, Mount Rainier National Park has it all! Depending on your vision for your day, I’ll offer my best advice & recommendations, as well as provide custom guides to help you have the most epic Mount Rainier wedding ever.

When to Elope at Mount Rainier

As much as I wish you could elope ANYTIME at Mount Rainier because it’s a mountain in the PNW it does have some limitations as far as climate goes. Not only do we want to ensure you’re able to enjoy your elopement day without worrying about being freezing cold, but we also want to make sure you’re 100% safe at every location we go to!

If you’re wondering when you should elope at Mount Rainier National Park, here’s the short answer: July-August!

mt rainier elopement

These summer months are when the roads are all open, wildflowers are blooming, and you’ll have the highest chance of getting a sunny day. For example, the road between Longmire and Paradise is a plowed road, but closes at night during the winter because of cold temperatures & snowfall. And the Sunrise Road (to take you to - you guessed it - Sunrise!) typically opens in late June + closes in late September/early October depending on weather. The park is really great about making sure visitors are kept safe, so it’s important to follow rules & prepare ahead of time for road conditions!

The best way to prepare & plan ahead is to keep an eye on Mount Rainier Emergency Alerts & Conditions and Road Statuses in the weeks leading up to your elopement. Watch for any new conditions that may impact your elopement, and have backup plans + locations in place just in case of any last minute changes. Especially during the early spring & late fall when weather can change pretty quickly in the mountains, causing roads and trails to close!

Mount Rainier Wedding Permits + Fees

Before I talk specifically about wedding permits, don’t forget about the Mount Rainier park entrance fee of $30 per vehicle that you’ll have to pay to get into the park! If you plan on visiting the park more than once a year, definitely opt for the $55 Mount Rainier annual pass instead.

To get married at Mount Rainier, you’ll need to obtain a Special Use Permit. If you’re not familiar with why it’s so important to get a permit for your elopement, go check out my article on How to Get Permits for Your Washington State Elopement before you continue reading here!

At Mount Rainier National Park, the size of your party determines which locations you’re allowed to use for your elopement ceremony. (Your party size includes all of your guests, you two, and all of your vendors!) However, unless you’re having 60+ total participants, you won’t need to worry too much about this - only when your party size hits that number do you have more restrictions! I do suggest reaching out to the park office and asking specifically if your party size will fit with your desired location, just to be sure.

Here’s what’s NOT allowed for a wedding ceremony at Mount Rainier:

  • Anything that impedes the activities of other park visitors
  • Roping off or blocking areas to the general public
  • Large decorations
  • Chairs, tents, awnings, tables, etc.
  • Throwing of rice, confetti, etc.

You’ll need to apply for your permit at least four weeks before your desired elopement date - but I recommend doing it as early as possible to give the park office plenty of time to get it to you! Here’s how to get your permit:

  1. Complete this application form
  2. Email your completed application to mora_special_use@nps.gov
  3. Once your application is received, they’ll give you a Permit Application Number + instructions on how to pay your non-refundable $60 application fee online.
  4. After paying, if your request is approved, you’ll receive a permit. 
  5. Sign this permit & return to the park office for final approval

If you have any questions about the process, reach out to the Special Use Permit Coordinator at mora_special_use@nps.gov and they’ll be able to give you specific guidance based on the details of your elopement!

mt rainier elopement

Where to Stay Near Mount Rainier

Scandinavian-Inspired A-Frame

As the Airbnb listing says, “Step into this sun-drenched, custom-designed Scandinavian A-Frame Cabin nestled in the trees of Packwood, WA.” Is this or is it not something straight out of a fairytale?!

This cabin is a mixture of comfort, modern, and luxury, just MINUTES from an entrance into Mount Rainier National Park. It’s full of windows bringing in tons of natural light, modern amenities, and plenty of space to host your friends & family who you’re celebrating with!!

Plus, it has a hot tub for you to relax in at the end of your elopement day, wi-fi so you can Facetime loved ones who couldn’t be there, and countless areas to relax (or party!). This truly is a dream come true if you’re looking for a luxurious cabin in the woods near Mount Rainier!

Guest Capacity: 10
Bedrooms: 3
Beds: 6
Baths: 2
Cost: $385/night

Heartwood Cabin

Another absolutely stunning A-frame cabin coming at ya! This is a brand new A-frame located just off the Cowlitz River. This isn’t your typical cabin in the woods - like the Airbnb above, this place is full of luxurious, modern amenities, natural light GALORE, a freaking wooden hot tub to soak in, and beautiful wood textures everywhere. 

Just imagine starting your elopement day off with a soak in the hot tub, then getting ready by the windows, light shining on your face as you get on your elopement attire. Head out to Mount Rainier National Park for your ceremony, or say your vows right on the balcony of this cabin, then head to the park for sunset portraits! The options are ENDLESS with this gorgeous Airbnb, which also has plenty of room to host a few of your closest loved ones.

Guest Capacity: 5
Bedrooms: 1
Beds: 3
Baths: 1.5
Cost: $315/night

Chateau Marmot // Little Owl Cabin // Ohana Hot Springs Cabin

I’ve listed these next three Airbnb’s together because they’re all owned by the same company, and are pretty similar places! Each cabin is packed with modern amenities, the most freaking GORGEOUS cedar soaking hot tubs (a literal dream come true - right in the middle of the forest), balconies with chairs to relax on, and they’re all dog-friendly as well!

Chateau Marmot - Photo by Airbnb
Guest Capacity: 
  • Ohana Hot Springs Cabin: 4
  • Chateau Marmot: 5
  • Little Owl Cabin: 4
Beds:
  • Ohana Hot Springs Cabin: 2
  • Chateau Marmot: 7
  • Little Owl Cabin: 4
Cost: 
  • Chateau Marmot / Little Owl Cabin: starting at $179/night
  • Ohana Hot Springs Cabin: starting at $229/night
The Little Owl Cabin - Photo by Airbnb

Chalet at Rainier

If you’re looking for an Airbnb that’s slightly less cabin-y and a little more modern, check out this beautiful chalet! With a sleek design, this remodeled ski chalet offers amazing views of Mount Rainier, with sooo much room to celebrate with your BFF’s. The windows provide tons of natural light and gorgeous views of the sunset over Tatoosh & Rainier, which you can also enjoy while relaxing in the in-deck hot tub. Or, if you’d rather, sit around the outdoor firepit and drink some champagne + make s’mores!

Guest Capacity: 13
Bedrooms: 3
Beds: 10
Baths: 2
Cost: $236/night

Mount Rainier Elopement Packages

Have I convinced you yet that a Mount Rainier adventure elopement is just what you need?! Amazing🙌🏼 If you need a photographer/guide/travel buddy, let’s talk! 

Head to my Pricing Page to find my elopement packages & prices, and inquire here so we can start talking deets! I can’t wait to help you plan the most epic Mount Rainier elopement ever!

Mount Rainier Elopement Vendors

Now it’s time for you to start building your dream team of Mount Rainier wedding vendors! Here are a few awesome vendors in the area for you to look into:

mount rainier wedding

WHEW that was a long one! I hope that by now, you’ve learned all about why I’m absolutely in love with Mount Rainier, and why a lot of my couples are too! There’s SO much to do in this park that you’ll never feel bored: backpacking, hiking, mountain climbing, biking, fishing, horseback riding, camping. . . and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

If you’re ready to start planning your epic Mount Rainier National Park elopement, let’s start talkin’!

More Washington Elopement Resources

18 ADA-Accessible Elopement Locations in Washington

How to Plan an Epic North Cascades Elopement 2022

Ultimate Guide to Planning an Olympic National Park Elopement

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In order to make your dream elopement day happen, it's super important that we connect and that you feel comfortable with me! The best way to do this is to reach out and schedule a call so you can learn more about me and I can learn about you two so i can document what's real + the most important to you.

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