10 of the Best Trails in Washington State for a Hiking Elopement

Washington is literally filled to the brim with incredible hiking trails, which is AMAZING but also can make it hard to decide where to go!! Lucky for ya, I’ve narrowed down 10 of my favorite trails in Washington state for a hiking elopement. Whether you want to hike 8 miles to the top of a mountain or you’d rather just pull off the side of the road + hike a quick 0.25 miles, I’ve got different options for ya in the North Cascades, at Mount Rainier, & at a couple different waterfalls. Happy hiking!!

hiking elopement

Table of Contents:


hiking elopement

Trails in North Cascades National Park

1. Winchester Lookout

Location: North Cascades

Trail Length: 3.4 miles

Trail Type: Out & back

Elevation Gain: 1,300 ft

Difficulty: Moderate

Average Completion Time: 2 hours

Dog-Friendly? Yes, on leash

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: Northwest Forest Pass

hiking elopement

Other important things to note:

  • Campsites available
  • Vault toilet available

Jared & Cameron chose Winchester Lookout as their elopement ceremony location and you guys, it was SO STUNNING!! Check out their mountaintop elopement here for real Winchester Lookout elopement inspo!!

hiking elopement

I also hiked up to Winchester Lookout with Christine + Gary for some gorge couples portraits and we got such amazing views of the mountains that day!

hiking elopement

2. Chain Lakes Loop Trail

Location: North Cascades

Trail Length: 6.5 miles

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft

Difficulty: Moderate

Average Completion Time: Just under 4 hours

Terrain: Flat rocks, stone bridge, paved

Dog-Friendly? Yes, on leash

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: Northwest Forest Pass

hiking elopement

Other important things to note:

  • There are two loop options – 1 starting at Artist Point, and 1 starting from Austin Pass/Heather Meadows! You can also start from the Bagley Lakes trailhead.
  • Vehicle access is limited during the winter season

Shira & Dakota eloped at the Chain Lakes & had a super foggy day, but the trees & mountains looked sooo magical in the fog. It felt super enchanting and kinda like a fairytale!

hiking elopement

Marissa & Stanley also hiked the Chain Lakes loop for their elopement, and it was cloudy still but a much clearer day to see the water.

hiking elopement

3. Heather-Maple Pass Loop

Location: North Cascades (Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest)

Trail Length: 7.2 miles

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 2000 ft

Difficulty: Hard

Average Completion Time: 4 hrs

Dog-Friendly? Yes, on leash

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: Northwest Forest Pass

hiking wedding

Other important things to note:

  • The North Cascades Highway often closes at certain mileposts for the winter season
  • You can hike this loop either clockwise (steep part of the trail comes first, gradual descent) or counterclockwise (dramatic views as you climb to the pass)

Maddie & Madi hiked the 8 miles up Heather-Maple Pass Loop for their elopement, and let me tell you it was SO worth it. See their full mountain elopement ceremony here!!

hiking wedding

4. Washington Pass Overlook Trail

Location: North Cascades Highway

Trail Length: 0.25 miles

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 60 ft

Difficulty: Easy

Average Completion Time: 10 min

Terrain: Paved

Dog-Friendly? Yes

Wheelchair-Friendly? Yes

Permits/Passes Needed: None

hiking wedding

Other important things to note:

  • The North Cascades Highway often closes at certain mileposts for the winter season

Sarah + Daniel chose the Washington Pass Overlook Trail for their elopement ceremony and, as you can see below, got THE most stunning views of the Cascades. Just look at those jagged mountain peaks in the background!!

hiking wedding

5. Thunder Knob Trail

Location: North Cascades (Diablo Lake)

Trail Length: 3.6 miles

Trail Type: Out & back

Elevation Gain: 700 ft

Difficulty: Moderate

Average Completion Time: 1.5 hrs

Terrain: Rock-lined path, moss

Dog-Friendly? Yes, on leash

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: National Park Pass

Other important things to note:

  • This trail is one of the only permitted trails for elopements & photoshoots at Diablo Lake. The popular cliff overlook spot where most elopements were held & photos were taken is now off-limits even to park permit holders, so please take this trail instead – you’ll still get amazing views of the lake!!

Trails in Mount Rainier National Park

6. Skyline Trail Loop

Location: Mount Rainier National Park (Southwest; Longmire/Paradise)

Trail Length: 5.5 miles

Trail Type: Loop

Elevation Gain: 1450 ft

Difficulty: Hard

Average Completion Time: 3 hrs

Dog-Friendly? No

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: National Park Pass

places to elope in washington

Other important things to note:

  • Bathrooms available at the Paradise visitor center & the Guest Service building
  • The trail can be hiked either clockwise (pretty views, quicker) or counter clockwise (more peaceful beginning & lower initial elevation gain)

Sheetal + Hersch hiked the Skyline Trail Loop for some bridal portraits together, and we were gifted with a stunning golden hour and sunset to end the evening! The snow-capped peaks in the background of these two running in the meadows was to die for.

places to elope in washington

7. Pinnacle Peak Saddle

Location: Mount Rainier National Park (Southeast; Cayuse Pass/Stevens Canyon)

Trail Length: 2.5 miles

Trail Type: Out & back

Elevation Gain: 1000 ft

Difficulty: Moderate

Average Completion Time: Just under 2 hours

Dog-Friendly? No

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: National Park Pass

places to elope in washington

Other important things to note:

  • Stevens Canyon Road closes for the winter season

I explored the Pinnacle Peak Saddle Trail with Raven + Vent and we got the most stunningggg mountain elopement photos out of our time there. Seriously just look at that sunshine glowing on their faces and setting over the mountains – talk about an alpenglow dream!!

places to elope in washington

8. Tolmie Peak Lookout

Location: Mount Rainier National Park (Northwest; Carbon River/Mowich)

Trail Length: 5.6 miles

Trail Type: Out & back

Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft

Difficulty: Moderate

Average Completion Time: 3 hrs

Dog-Friendly? No

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: National Park Pass

places to elope in washington

Other important things to note:

  • Roads leading to this trailhead often close for the winter season

Rebecca + Ryan ventured to Tolmie Peak Lookout at Mount Rainier for some bridal portraits and we got soo much beautiful sunshine + clear skies. The reflections of the mountain & the trees in the alpine lake were so freaking gorgeous, with the golden sun showering these two cuties in glowing light!

hiking wedding

If you’ve decided to elope at Mount Rainier, be sure to pop on over to my Ultimate Guide to Eloping at Mount Rainier in 2022!


Waterfall Trails in Washington

9. Panther Creek Falls

Location: Columbia River Gorge (Skamania County; Gifford Pinchot National Forest)

Trail Length: 0.3 miles

Trail Type: Out & back

Elevation Gain: 100 ft

Difficulty: Easy

Average Completion Time: 10 min

Dog-Friendly? Yes, on leash

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: None

hiking wedding

Other important things to note:

  • There are 2 tiers of waterfalls, the lower falls & upper falls

Trinh + Hung chose Panther Creek Falls for their Washington waterfall elopement and boyyy did they make the right choice. The sun rays GLEAMED through the trees like a freaking fairytale, with the falls flowing in the background surrounded by moss-covered rock formations. I will never get over the insane lighting we got in the forest!

hiking wedding

Lexi + Dalton had a cloudier day, but honestly, a cloudy day in the PNW forest is one of my fave atmospheres to photograph in. The moss was SO vibrantly green and it was just straight-up moody goodness the whole time.

hiking wedding

10. Snoqualmie Falls

Location: Snoqualmie Region (North Bend)

Trail Length: 1.4 miles

Trail Type: Out & back

Elevation Gain: 250 ft

Difficulty: Easy

Average Completion Time: 45 min

Terrain: partially paved

Dog-Friendly? Yes, on leash

Wheelchair-Friendly? No

Permits/Passes Needed: None

hiking wedding

Other important things to note:

  • The main parking area is a fee lot, but there are free parking areas in the upper & lower lots

One of my FAVORITE shoots ever took place at Snoqualmie Falls with Ana + Delaney, where they literally painted on a canvas in front of the falls and look like they belong in a freaking fairytale. I mean just look at that DRESS, that collared shirt & trousers, and those drone shots. Insane!!

hiking wedding

I also took couples portraits of Jessica + AJ at Snoqualmie Falls, and we got a little rainbow over the water that looked sooo so beautiful in the sunshine!! Jessica’s dress was FLAWLESS and made her look like a Disney princess in front of the falls. 

hiking wedding

More Epic Pacific Northwest Elopement Resources

If you’re lookin’ for more good info like this, check out a few of my fav blog posts below for all sorts of PNW elopement planning tips + real-life inspo!!

13 Best Places to Elope in Oregon

Washington National Park Elopement Guide

The 5 Best Airbnb’s in Washington State for Airbnb Elopements

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