12 Best Waterfall Elopement Locations in the Pacific Northwest

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Waterfalls are one of the most epic backdrops possible for an adventure elopement, especially waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest!! We have sooo many incredible waterfalls in Washington & Oregon that offer stunning views of magical waterfalls, surrounded by lush greenery, epic cliffs, and basalt columns. If you want to elope at a waterfall, here are 12 of the best waterfall elopement locations in the Pacific Northwest that you should def consider!

couple standing in front of waterfall

Best Waterfall Elopement Locations in Washington

We’ll start off with the best waterfalls in Washington for an elopement.

1. Panther Creek Falls | Columbia River Gorge, WA

Panther Creek falls is a freaking gorge (pun fully intended) waterfall on the Columbia River Gorge, in Skamania County, WA. It’s actually not 1, but 2 tiers of waterfalls that flow into the same basin, and are surrounded by the most beautiful green forest. I love Panther Creek falls because it’s sooo easy to access and is so close to many other stunning spots along the Columbia River Gorge that make for beautiful elopement locations!

Distance to falls: 0.15 mi

Total hike length: 0.30 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 121 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Not available online

Permits needed: None

Parking pass needed: None

Entry fee: None

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leash

Restrooms available? No

Best time of year to visit: April-October

2. Snoqualmie Falls | Snoqualmie, WA

Snoqualmie Falls is an iconic waterfall that all Washingtonians are familiar with, and one that’s actually been a filming location for multiple movies & TV shows (like Twin Peaks). It’s located in Snoqualmie (hence the super creative name), and is a pretty easy route to take. Just be aware that you won’t be the only visitors – there will be plenty of others around you taking the same route, so if you really want a super private elopement this might not be the place for you! 

Distance to falls: 0.70 mi

Total hike length: 1.4 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 334 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Partially paved

Permits needed: None

Parking pass needed: None

Entry fee: None

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leash

Restrooms available? Yes

Best time of year to visit: May-October

3. Franklin Falls | Snoqualmie Pass, WA

Franklin Falls is one of the best waterfalls for elopements that involve family members & children, as it’s an easy hike featuring a paved road that’s great for kids to walk along. Parking typically fills up quickly due to the popularity of the falls, so make sure to arrive early in the day if you can, and elope there on a weekday if you’re able to! Franklin Falls is a great spot for a swim on a hot day so don’t forget your bathing suits.

Distance to falls: 1 mi

Total hike length: 2 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 364 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Not available online

Permits needed: Northwest Forest Pass

Permit fee: $5 per day, or $30 annually

Parking fee: Yes, if you don’t have a Northwest Forest Pass

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leash

Restrooms available? Yes

Best time of year to visit: May-October

Bonus tips: During the winter you’ll have to park about 2 miles away from the trailhead, so be prepared for an extra 4 miles of hiking if you choose to elope here in the chillier season!

4. Marymere Falls | Olympic National Park, WA

Olympic National Park seriously has EVERY type of landscape you could ask for, includinggg waterfalls – one of my faves being Marymere Falls! The trailhead is located right on the shores of Lake Crescent and takes you through a luscious green forest to get to the falls. It’s super beautiful at any time of the year and you can even continue further on to the Barnes Creek Trail if you want a much longer hike.

Distance to falls: 0.84 mi

Total hike length: 1.7 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 298 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Paved, dirt, natural surfaces

Entry fee: Olympic National Park entrance fee

Entry cost: $30/car for 7 days, or $55 annually

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? No

Restrooms available? Yes

Best time of year to visit: May-October

Looking for more stunning spots to visit in Olympic NP? Check out my guide to the Best Places in Olympic National Park for Your Elopement!

5. Myrtle Falls | Mount Rainier National Park, WA

If you’re eloping on the Paradise side of Mount Rainier then Myrtle Falls is a must. It’s super quick & easy to get to via a brief, less-than-a-mile round trip trail and barely any incline. You’ll die as you walk through the beautiful trees and onto the boardwalk viewing platform that crosses over the top of the falls!

Distance to falls: 0.4 mi

Total hike length: 0.8 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 150 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Paved asphalt, boardwalk platform

Entry pass: Mount Rainier National Park Entrance Pass

Entry cost: $30/car for 7 days, or $55 annually

ADA-accessible? Yes, wheelchair-friendly except for the final few stairs near the falls

Dogs allowed? No

Restrooms available? Yes, at Paradise visitors area

Best time of year to visit: June-October

Mount Rainier NP is one of my fav places in all of Washington State, full of stunning scenery and iconic landscapes. Here’s your Ultimate Guide to Having a Mount Rainier Elopement!

couple on bridge above myrtle falls

6. Christine Falls | Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Another beautiful waterfall in Mount Rainier NP, Christine Falls can be seen from the road to Paradise or via a quick trail to the lower viewpoint. I’d recommend parking at the pullout on either side of the bridge, then walking down the quick path below the bridge to take in the falls – unless you’re visiting in the winter, when the path can get a bit slippery! The rocky cliffs around the waterfall are sooo beautiful to witness and it’s a pretty unique waterfall to witness, compared to many of the others on this list.

Distance to falls: Minimal

Terrain/trail type: Paved path

Entry pass: Mount Rainier National Park Entrance Pass

Entry cost: $30/car for 7 days, or $55 annually

ADA-accessible? 

Dogs allowed? No

Restrooms available? Yes

Best time of year to visit: May-October

Bonus tips: To access Christine Falls, you can park in one of the pullouts just past the Comet Falls parking area, about 4.5 miles east of Longmire. Then take the short path down to the overlook to get a great view of the falls! Also make sure to be careful in the winter, as the path can get pretty icy and dangerous.

couple in front of christine falls

Best Waterfall Elopement Locations in Oregon

Down south into Oregon we go!

7. Hug Point | Arch Cape, OR

Hug Point is actually a beach super close to Cannon Beach, and is one of my all-time fav beaches to take couples to. It’s SO easy to get to just by walking down a rock staircase + wooden staircase from the parking lot, and has some of the most beautiful scenery with not just a beautiful beach landscape, but also dramatic cliffs, green trees, & dark caves. There’s also even a gorgeous little waterfall on the other side of the cliff that you see when you first arrive at the beach! I looove this waterfall because you can easily stand under it or in front of it and get epic, wide photos of the stunning scenery.

Distance to falls: 0.34 mi

Total hike length: 0.67 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 141 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Sand, rocks

Permits needed: None

Parking pass needed: None

Entry fee: None

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes

Restrooms available? Yes, in parking lot

Best time of year to visit: Any season, at low tide

(See Oregon Coast Tide Tables here)

Bonus tips: If you don’t visit Hug Point at low tide, you won’t be able to access the waterfall! It’s around the corner from a big cliff that just out into the ocean, and the tide has to be low enough for you to walk around that in order to get to the falls.

8. Toketee Falls | Umpqua National Forest, OR

Toketee Falls is a super cool waterfall in the Umpqua National Forest, another one of my favorites for its uniquely-picturesque scenery. The falls are surrounded on either side by massive, dramatic basalt columns that look SO epic and out of this world, especially when you & your partner are standing in front of it, looking tiny! You’ll fall in love with this waterfall as soon as you see it — and will def agree with me that it looks like a scene straight off a postcard.

Distance to falls: 0.45 mi

Total hike length: 0.90 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 167 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Not available online

Permits needed: Northwest Forest Pass

Permit fee: $5 per day, or $30 annually

Parking fee: Yes, if you don’t have a Northwest Forest Pass

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes

Restrooms available? Yes

Best time of year to visit: May-October

9. Wahclella Falls | Columbia River Gorge, OR

Back to the Columbia River Gorge (can you tell it’s full of some of the best waterfalls in the PNW?)! Wahclella Falls is a gorgeous waterfall on the gorge that requires a fairly easy 2-mile hike, and is super picturesque with massive boulders and green moss on either side of the narrow slot canyon it’s located in. This is a great one for the whole fam to visit since the trail is very easy to trek!

Distance to falls: 0.95 mi

Total hike length: 1.9 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 223 ft

Hike difficulty: Easy

Terrain/trail type: Road, dirt trail, bridge, natural surfaces

Permits needed: Northwest Forest Pass

Permit fee: $5 per day, or $30 annually

Parking fee: Yes, if you don’t have a Northwest Forest Pass

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leash

Restrooms available? Nearest restrooms are located in the Bridal Veil Falls parking lot

Best time of year to visit: May-October

10. Silver Falls State Park | Salem, OR

Silver Falls is a state park in Oregon that actually features multiple beautiful waterfalls you can elope at. The beauty of this park is insane, one of the most popular spots being the South Falls, a waterfall that you can actually walk and see from behind! How cool would it be to say your vows in the lush forest and then get some epic photos behind a freaking waterfall?

Permits needed: Day-use parking permit

Permit cost: $5 for one day

ADA-accessible? No, except one accessible viewpoint

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leash (except on the Canyon Trail, where they are not allowed)

Restrooms available? Yes

Best time of year to visit: May-October

11. Abiqua Falls | Scotts Mills, OR

Abiqua Falls is accessible via a trail that’s technically located on private property, but the owners have opened it up to the public for hiking. The falls are located in the Santiam State Forest and require a short hike along a rocky trail that’s fairly easy to complete, besides a couple of spots that require research in advance to make sure you know which direction to go. The basalt columns and vibrant green trees + moss that encompass the falls are pretty epic.  

Distance to falls: 0.35 mi

Total hike length: 0.70 mi

Hike type: Out & back

Elevation gain: 249 ft

Hike difficulty: Moderate

Terrain/trail type: Rocks, gravel, dirt

Permits needed: None

Parking pass cost needed: None

Entry fee: None

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leash

Restrooms available? No

Best time of year to visit: May-September

12. Latourell Falls | Columbia River Gorge, OR

Last but not least is Latourell Falls, yet another incredible waterfall along the Columbia River Gorge. This is a super easy one to access, as you can either explore the 2-mile loop around the falls or simply park your car, then walk down a short path to the base of the falls. The scenery at the base of the falls is absolutely unreal, with the tall waterfall flowing over black basalt columns onto massive boulders and into a pool of water. It’s magical to witness!

Distance to falls: 1 mi, or a very short walk to the base of the falls

Total hike length: 2 mi

Hike type: Loop

Elevation gain: 639 ft

Hike difficulty: Moderate

Terrain/trail type: Dirt, mud

Permits needed: None

Parking pass cost needed: None

Entry fee: None

ADA-accessible? No

Dogs allowed? Yes, on leash

Restrooms available? Yes

Best time of year to visit: May-October

couple in front of latourell falls

FAQ’s About Waterfall Weddings & Elopements

Is it legal to elope at a waterfall?

There’s nothing legal/illegal about eloping at waterfalls in general (at least that I’ve heard of), so you just need to pay attention to what’s legal/illegal where the waterfall is located! E.g. if the waterfall is in a national park, follow that national park’s rules about permitted wedding locations, and what’s allowed/not allowed at those permitted locations.

Be sure to also get your proper marriage license in order to make your waterfall elopement ceremony legal!! Here’s a Simple Guide to Getting Your Washington State Marriage License that I hope is helpful to ya.

Is it safe to elope at a waterfall?

This is a really good question to ask, because some waterfalls are safer than others! Because they spray water everywhere (obviously), waterfalls can create lotsss of mud and sometimes that mud is too slippery to walk on + could lead you to fall into a dangerous area. Sometimes heavy rainfall can cause the flow of a waterfall to be super intense, and might result in you not being able to swim under it like you might usually be able to. And some waterfalls aren’t even safe to swim in due to bacteria or other stuff in the water!

Pay careful attention to what past hikers/visitors have to say about the waterfall, and what info you can find online about it. I know it’s tempting to go under or super close to a waterfall for beautiful photos, but if it’s not safe, it’s not worth it!!

What should we pack for a waterfall elopement?

Here are some basic things you’ll want to pack for your waterfall elopement:

  • Bug spray
  • Ponchos/umbrellas
  • Swimsuits
  • Sandals with good traction
  • Hiking shoes with good traction
  • Extra clothes
  • Layers
  • Pop-up tent to change clothes in
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Snacks
couple walking towards waterfall

Bonus Waterfall Adventure Elopement Tips

Let’s end with a few more helpful waterfall elopement tips to make your big day as smooth + beautiful as possible!

Elope in the late spring or early summer

I highly recommend eloping in the late spring, summer, or early fall if you choose to elope at a waterfall in the PNW! This is because the spring rainfall contributes to the intensity of the flow of a waterfall. So if you elope after that spring rain hits, there should be more water flowing down the falls to give you those beautiful waterfall views.

Prepare to Leave No Trace

I’m super duper passionate about Leaving No Trace when I’m out in nature, and helping my couples do the same thing. “Leave No Trace” basically means you do everything in your power to minimize your impact on the land you’re visiting in order to keep it protected + beautiful. If you’ll be hiking to get to a waterfall for your elopement, please make sure to familiarize yourself with the 7 Leave No Trace Principles – which I wrote a whole blog post about!

Make a backup plan (or two!)

Since most waterfalls require at least somewhat of a hike to get to, make sure you have at least one or two backup plans in place in case something happens. You never know what to expect thanks to the unpredictability of weather (and the world in general, tbh). Road closures, trail closures, heavy rain/flooding, early snowstorms, hail, landslides, wildfires, etc. The last thing you want is for an unexpected circumstance to restrict you from using your original location and then not have any backup plans/ideas/locations in place!

Monitor weather conditions ahead of time

Again, weather can impact hikes sooo much and in unpredictable ways. Make sure you keep an eye on weather conditions in the weeks & days leading up to your elopement so you can adapt your plans if need be. 

Fun waterfall elopement ideas

Want some fun ideas to incorporate into your waterfall elopement ceremony?!

Here are 8 Unique Elopement Ceremony Ideas for Your Special Day.

couple standing in front of water fall

PNW Waterfall Elopement Packages

My final tip to wrap up this blog post: find your perfect waterfall elopement photographer to capture the beautiful day you’re planning 😉 

If you’re still on the hunt for a talented photographer to document your beautiful waterfall elopement, I’d be honored to be considered!! You can take a look at what I offer here, and contact me here when you’re ready to get the ball rollin’ (or the falls rollin’?) on your gorgeous waterfall wedding 😉

How to Plan Your Perfect Elopement in 18 Steps

Now that you know alllll about waterfall elopements & have hopefully narrowed down your top few location choices, it’s time to plan the rest of your elopement – but how do you do that?

Lucky for yaaa I’ve created a whole separate guide where I walk you through all the steps to planning an elopement – no more playin’ a guessing game when it comes to planning your dream day. Here’s a guide to How to Plan Your Perfect Elopement in 18 Steps!

PNW Waterfall Elopement Inspiration

Below are two of my fav examples of waterfall elopements + engagements if you want to see even more real-life inspo!

Snoqualmie Falls Elopement

Snoqualmie Falls Engagement Photography

  1. […] Want to see even more of the PNW’s most beautiful waterfalls, either for your proposal, your engagement photos, or your adventure elopement? Check out my guide to the Best Pacific Northwest Waterfall Elopement Locations!! […]

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