How to elope

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The 12 Best Places to Elope in Glacier National Park

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I know I talk a lotttt about all the epic elopement locations in Washington and Oregon, but Montana is JUST as high up there on the list! Glacier National Park is by far one of the most breathtaking places in the country and is a killer destination for couples who want their elopement to be filled with adventure, glorious mountain views, magical alpine lakes, and greenery everywhereee. Seriously can’t recommend it enough if you’re dreaming of eloping in one of the most majestic mountain landscapes ever, so I wanted to give ya 12 of the best places to elope in Glacier National Park!!

P.S. Most of the photos in this post are just for Glacier inspo and aren’t the exact locations mentioned – the only ones pictured are Big Bend, Lake McDonald, and St. Mary Lake.

Glacier National Park Elopement FAQ’s

Where can you elope in Glacier National Park?

You can get married at any of the locations on GNP’s list of permitted wedding locations. Glacier is pretty strict when it comes to weddings and group use activities, so 10 out of 12 of the locations in this guide are on that list. The other two are popular places you HAVE to see in the park, but are better for portraits since ceremonies aren’t allowed there!

Also keep in mind that a lot of these locations have restrictions if you want to hold your official ceremony there, so you def need to pay attention to that especially if you want to have guests or bring vehicles, decor, or pets.

When is peak season at Glacier National Park?

Peak season in Glacier is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so from the beginning of June through the beginning of September. This is when most visitors are coming to the park, and it’ll be harder for ya to find a place without crowds – you definitely can, but you have to go off-the-beaten-path a lil’ bit more and may have to pick longer hikes! The permitted group size for Glacier’s wedding locations is usually smaller during peak season, and higher during non-peak season, which is from September-May.

Can you elope at Glacier National Park year-round?

Technically you can, but not all locations in Glacier are open year-round – so it totally depends on WHERE you want to elope. For example, one of the most popular attractions in the park, Going-to-the-Sun Road, closes down seasonally, making a lot of viewpoints & some of the best locations inaccessible for the majority of the year. Other locations, like Lake McDonald, are accessible by car year-round! This is why most people visit during the summer months – but if you do elope in non-peak season, you’ll be met with fewer crowds, more parking, and fewer group size restrictions! It’s totes up to you and what you want your elopement experience to be like.

What are the wedding requirements at Glacier National Park?

Like I said, GNP is kinda strict with their wedding permits & regulations, so it’s important that you’re aware of everything and start applying for your permit far in advance (up to one year in advance). They only give out two permits per location per day, and you can use the location for a max of two hours. You’ll need this Special Use Permit if you’re having ANY sort of wedding/elopement/vow exchange no matter what location you choose, and you can apply for it here. It costs $125 to apply, plus you might have to pay additional monitoring fees depending on your group size and the rules at your location of choice!

This permit allows you to have a certain number of vehicles based on your group size:

  • 0-20 people: 4 vehicles
  • 21-60 people: 6 vehicles
  • 61-100 people: 10 vehicles
  • 100-250 people: 15 vehicles

Sooo you’ll definitely want to carpool if you have a larger group of guests (honestly it’s just easier to have a group under 20, though)!

12 Best Glacier National Park Elopement Locations

1. Big Bend

Location: Lake McDonald District

Max group size: 10

Vehicle access: Early July-mid September

Restrictions: Group use not allowed outside of developed gravel area; tables/chairs/decor not allowed

Important info: Wheelchair accessible

Nope, this isn’t the same Big Bend that Texas has – it’s a spot along Going-to-the-Sun Road about halfway between the Loop and Logan Pass. The scenery of Lake McDonald Valley from this big curve are epic, you get views of Mount Canon, Oberlin, and Heaven’s Peak, plus glorious wildflower meadows if you time it right. This is where we stopped for Heidi and Sean’s elopement, we had the most gorgeous fall colors and soft light peeking through the overcast skies🔥Can’t recommend this spot enough, whether you want to have your actual elopement ceremony or vow exchange here, or you just need a place to stretch your legs while you drive along the road (a place that also happens to look like it was pulled straight off a postcard).

2. Lake McDonald

Location: Lake McDonald District (who knew)

Max group size: 15 in peak season, 30 in non-peak season

Vehicle access: Year-round

Restrictions: Tables/decor not allowed, no more than 4 chairs allowed

Important info: Pets are allowed!

Of course Lake McDonald had to be on this list, it’s only one of the most iconic locations in all of Glacier National Park!! You know it – it’s the one with the weird and super cool colorful rocks. It’s also the largest lake in the park, located in Lake McDonald Valley, which is filled with wild views, hiking trails, and wildlife galore. If you’re having a wedding with guests, you’re permitted to have your ceremony at the Lake McDonald Lodge Beach, which offers GORG views of the surrounding mountains & the blue waters! It’s also one of GNP’s most popular lakes for swimming, sooo if it’s warm out, you bet I’m gonna encourage you to take a dip or at least head out on the water in a kayak or on a paddleboard for some fun photos 😉

3. 7-Mile Pullout (Sandy Point)

Location: Lake McDonald District

Max group size: 15 in peak season, 20 in non-peak season

Vehicle access: Year-round

Restrictions: Tables/decor not allowed, no more than 4 chairs allowed

7-Mile Pullout (a.k.a. Sandy Point) is a pullout off of Going-to-the-Sun Road (shocker, I know!) that takes you to a gorgeous lake with amazing mountain views in the distance. It’s a perfect location if you wanna elope right on the water at a spot that is usually less crowded than Lake McDonald, but still has suuuper picturesque scenery!

Note: 7-Mile Pullout is under construction as of now and will be available again in late fall 2023.


4. 10-Mile Pullout (Jackson Bay)

Location: Lake McDonald District

Max group size: 15 in peak season, 20 in non-peak season

Vehicle access: Year-round

Restrictions: Tables/decor not allowed, no more than 4 chairs allowed

10-Mile Pullout (a.k.a. Jackson Bay) is another pullout off of Going-to-the-Sun Road with a location right on the shoreline of the same lake as 7-Mile Pullout, surrounded by mountain views and lush green trees. It’s super easily-accessible and is also often less crowded than other lakes in the park + bigger pullouts along the road! 

5. Avalanche Lake (Picnic area)

Location: Lake McDonald District

Max group size: 15 in peak season, 20 in non-peak season

Vehicle access: Early May-mid October

Restrictions: Tables/chairs/decor are not allowed

Important info: Pets are allowed, parking is limited, & there are seasonal road closures

Avalanche Lake is probably one of THE most stunning elopement locations in Glacier National Park and is perf for couples who are down for a day hike. It is sooo worth the 6-mile round trip hike (which doesn’t even have that much elevation gain, tbh) once you get to the sparkling blue lake nestled at the base of the mountains, surrounded by dense forests and a variety of campsites. 10/10 recommend Avalanche Lake if you wanna spend the night under the stars and hike back the next morning. You’ve got wildflowers, you’ve got waterfalls, you’ve got forests and rivers and lakes. . . what more could you want out of an elopement location?! Oh, and it’s dog-friendly, so bring your pup(s) along! The lake is even accessible during the non-peak season if you’re up for some cross-country skiing & snowshoeing.

6. Going-to-the-Sun Road

So Going-to-the-Sun Road actually encompasses a few of the locations I’ve already mentioned on this list (7-Mile Pullout & 10-Mile Pullout), but I thought it deserved its own section because it’s one of the most amazing parts of the park. People literally come from all over to drive along this epic road!! While the entire road itself isn’t a permitted wedding location, there are permitted locations along it at certain pullouts and other spots along the way, such as Lake McDonald Lodge, the Rising Sun Picnic Area, & Sun Point. Going-to-the-Sun Road stretches around 50 miles between the park’s West Entrance & the St. Mary Entrance, and takes you nearly 6,500 feet up to Logan Pass. The views as you drive along this scenic road are absolutely UNREAL, so you should absolutely spend some time driving along it & taking in the landscapes even if you’re eloping in a different part of the park!!

7. Logan Pass

Logan Pass is the highest spot you can get to by car in Glacier NP and gets suuuper busy thanks to its unreal views. According to the NPS site, the parking lot is usually totally full between 8:30am and 4:00pm, so you definitely have to plan well if you want to get a spot and enjoy the scenery without too many people around – I recommend going as early as you can in the day. It’s also important to note that Logan Pass is NOT one of Glacier NP’s permitted wedding locations, so you can’t get married or have a vow exchange there – only portraits are allowed! The views are freakin’ breathtaking and there are two iconic hikes that leave from the visitor center: The Hidden Lake Overlook and the Highline Trail.

8. Bowman Lake

Location: North Fork District

Max group size: 15 in peak season, 24 in non-peak season

Vehicle access: Mid May-mid October

Restrictions: Tables/decor not allowed, no more than 4 chairs allowed

Important info: If the road is closed due to snow, you can park at the Polebridge Ranger Station & hike/ski to the lake

Bowman Lake is another crazy popular lake in Glacier NP (really, all the lakes in Glacier are popular – and for good reason), located just west of the Livingston mountains and south of the Canadian border. Despite being a spot that visitors love to stop at, it doesn’t get quite as much traffic as other lakes because you have to travel down 6 miles of a single track, dirt road to get there! So if you wanna elope at this gorgeous, peaceful lake that boasts breathtaking views, a campground, and a spacious day use area (plus a great area for swimming), be prepared for an off-roading adventure!

9. Two Medicine (Picnic area)

Location: Two Medicine/Wwalton District

Max group size: 15 in peak season, 20 in non-peak season

Vehicle access: Last week of May-mid October

Restrictions: Tables/decor/chairs are not allowed

Important info: It’s wheelchair-accessible, and pets are allowed!

Two Medicine is one of the lesser visited areas of Glacier, which makes it such a great location for elopements if you don’t want to be near *quite* as many other people. Not only is Two Medicine Lake itself incredible, with out of this world views & reflections of Mt. Sinopah – there’s also waterfalls nearby, plenty of opportunities for boating, kayaking, or canoeing, and a variety of hikes to choose from!! It’s honestly an amazing part of the park to explore if you have the time and want more of those rustic outdoorsy vibes. Plus the shoreline is wheelchair-accessible!

10. St. Mary Lake (Amphitheater)

Location: St. Mary District

Max group size: 50 in peak season, 75 in non-peak season

Vehicle access: Year-round

Restrictions: Tables/decor/chairs are not allowed

Important info: It’s wheelchair-accessible, and pets are allowed!

While the St. Mary Lake shoreline isn’t one of the permitted wedding locations, the amphitheater is – so if you wanna tie the knot with a group of up to 50 people in peak season or 75 in non-peak season, that’s going to be your best bet! Otherwise, the lake is an amazing stop for some fire portraits on the water🔥It’s an epic 10-mile long lake with tons of wildlife, wildflowers during the warmer seasons, and, of course, unreal views. Located on the east side of the park with a visitor center just past the East Entrance, you can experience St. Mary Lake by hiking around the area, driving along Going-to-the-Sun Road, or by scenic boat cruise – it would be sooo fun to take a boat cruise out on the water with your loved ones after you exchange your vows!!

11. Many Glacier (Beach)

Location: Many Glacier District

Max group size: 12

Vehicle access: Last week of May-mid October

Restrictions: Tables/decor/chairs not allowed, no more than 4 chairs allowed

Important info: Must notify Many Glacier hotel prior to your elopement

Many Glacier is home to some of the most amazing views in the park, located in what’s often called the “Switzerland of North America” (a.k.a. The northeastern area of Glacier NP). There are a TON of amazing trails in the area as well as a cozy lodge (Many Glacier Hotel), dreamy turquoise waters, and opportunities for crazy beautiful boat tours. You have a few options for getting married in the Many Glacier area – you can have a smaller wedding on the Many Glacier Green behind the main lodge, on the hotel’s southwest beach, and on Many Glacier Beach, or a bigger party at the Many Glacier Amphitheater. There’s really an option for everyone here – you just can’t miss Many Glacier during your time at Glacier!!

12. Lake Josephine

Location: Many Glacier District

Max group size: 15

Vehicle access: None; access to closest trailhead is from the last week of May-mid October

Restrictions: Tables/chairs/decor not allowed

Important info: There’s a one-mile hike to the shoreline

Last but not least is Lake Josephine, a lake accessible by a loop hike from the Many Glacier Hotel boat dock or the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead. No matter which way you take the loop, the walk around the lake is sooo gorgeous and gives you 10/10 views of Mount Wilbur & Grinnell Point. The north dock of the lake makes for a great stop for photos, but honestly anywhere along the shoreline is amazing for an elopement!!

Glacier National Park Elopement Photographer

Nowww you can’t just go and plan an epic Glacier National Park elopement without having somebody there to document it, can you?! You need a photographer who’s obsessed with the mountains, ready to be your adventure guide, and can’t wait to cheer you on every step of the way: check, check, and check 😉 I’ll be your Glacier National Park elopement photographer who’s there to capture every lil magical moment (and every big one too!). Let’s make this shit happen – you can start by telling me all the deetz & getting in touch here!!

Here are some resources for more of my favorite mountain elopement locations in the PNW if you want other options 🙂

How to Elope at Mount Baker

15 Most Beautiful Alpine Lake Elopement Locations in WA

How to Plan Your North Cascades Elopement

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