Mount Rainier Elopement Inspiration
Updated: Jan 2
Mount Rainier National Park Adventure Elopement
Lindsay & David's session outside of Mount Rainier National Park was so much fun. Plus this trail has what I believe to be the BEST views of Mount Rainier that I have ever seen- with the added bonus of it being a relatively unknown hike. I'm always so thankful for couples trusting me to find amazing locations and being down for anything. I am honestly convinced I get to work with the best, most fun couples in the world! I feel so lucky that I get to adventure with amazing couples and document their unique love and experiences.
We chose a hike in the wilderness outside of Mount Rainier National Park. Now...this hike definitely wasn't for the faint of heart, we gained nearly 4,000 feet of elevation in 4 miles one way! It was a lot of constant uphill. That being said, the views were SO worth it. This trail had some of the best wildflowers I've ever seen, hands down (including my absolute favorites- Magenta Paintbrush!). While it was incredibly foggy and Mount Rainier was hiding within the clouds, the surrounding mountains were still a pretty epic place to adventure and explore in.
We started the day right before dawn, while it was still pitch-dark outside. With headlamps on, we hiked through the beautiful and lush forest. We hiked up steadily, as the light began to illuminate our surroundings and fields of endless, brightly colored wildflowers. Since Mount Rainier wasn't in view due to the clouds, we decided to explore a basin that lies above two beautiful lakes.
Lindsay and David have been together for 7 years! They met one another when they were working at the same summer camp for kids with disabilities. They moved to Thailand together after they graduated college to teach English! When they lived in Thailand they traveled to neighboring countries and navigated living in a foreign country with each other by their sides- strengthening their relationship and creating lasting memories. It was so fun getting to hear about their experiences and adventures there. They both said it was one of the best and most impactful things they have done in their lives (and lucky them, they got to do it together!).
When I'm getting to know a couple, one of my favorite things to ask is If they had to pick just one thing they loved most about the other person, what would it be? I loved their answers about one another- their affection for each other was obvious in our time together and you could clearly tell how much they loved and adored one another!
Here's what they said:
"David believes in the good in people and in situations...he makes me a better & happier person." -Lindsay
"Lindsay is incredibly genuine and open-minded...I'm so lucky to have someone who could help give my life meaning" -David
Keep scrolling to read more about this incredible adventure and why I love Mount Rainier elopements!
**Note on Leave No Trace Principles: Alpine tundra and meadows are incredibly fragile (as are wildflowers). Please make sure when you're hiking in high alpine environments like this one that you are aware of your surroundings and make every effort to only travel on durable surfaces (rock, sand, established trails) and don't trample the meadow or travel on satellite trails.
Why Mount Rainier National Park is the Perfect Place for Your Elopement
Whenever I first start talking to a couple about their elopement, I always start by asking them how they envision their day. One of the very important aspects to an elopement is the type of scenery a couple pictures getting married in. Do you want to elope on top of a mountain, by a lake, or on the beach? Washington has endless places to adventure in and there are countless beautiful locations. One of my all-time favorite places to recommend to my couples is Mount Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier is truly special, her beauty is magnetizing and will leave you in awe. Standing at 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier is an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainiers lower slopes. You can read more about Mount Rainier National Park here. But first, here are some of the main reasons I love Mount Rainier elopements:
1. There is a trail for everyone- for all different types of abilities and for people looking for a multitude of landscapes, Mount Rainier has got them all. From gorgeous locations that you can drive right up to, and to rugged backpacking expeditions, there is a place that suits exactly the type of adventure you desire!
2. While the national park offers many gorgeous trails, due to how massive Mount Rainier is, gorgeous views of the mountain can be seen on a multitude of trails outside the boundaries of the national park- just like the one in this post. By opting to elope on land not in the national park itself, you will face less crowds, more solitude, and will not have to pay as much for a permit (or in some cases, not at all!).
3. Mount Rainier is gorgeous in all seasons and offers adventure (however more limited in the winter) year-round. In the winter, Mount Rainier is a snowy paradise and in the summer it is covered with the prettiest wildflowers you will ever see.
Best Elopement Locations in Mount Rainier National Park
I believe the location you say your vows is a very personal and intimate decision- and I'm here to help guide you towards it. Are you looking for the best place to say your vows at Mount Rainier? I got you covered! Check out my list of the best places for your Mount Rainier elopement.
The view of Mount Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake is one of the most photographed landscapes in the entire country- it is truly a sight to behold. It is incredibly easy to access and offers some of the most stunning views and wildflowers in the park.
Fremont Fire Lookout
Starting at the Sunrise Visitor Center, this hike is 5.6 miles roundtrip and gains 1200 feet in elevation. Once you arrive at the lookout, you'll be treated to a very up-close and personal view of Mount Rainier herself. This is an excellent place to watch both the sunrise and the sunset.
Mount Rainier Summit
For those looking for an extremely adventurous elopement experience, look no further than summiting Mount Rainier! In a 3-4 day adventure, ascend 9,000 feet from alpine meadows to Mount Rainier's glacier-capped summit for a wedding experience of a lifetime.
My Secret, Hidden Spots
Serene alpine lakes, lush meadows filled with wildflowers, unobstructed views of Mount Rainier, and fire lookouts, I've discovered many beautiful hikes and areas that are hidden gems near Mount Rainier. Most of my very favorite places with views of the mountain are actually outside the national park itself! Location scouting for my clients is one of my biggest passions, and in my free time you can probably find me hitting the trails and chasing new views. I only give away my very best locations to my couples, so get in contact with me if you want to become one of them!
Flowers for Your Mount Rainier Elopement
These gorgeous flowers are from Pike Place Market- can you believe that?! Pike Place is one of my favorite places to go to for flowers. They have a large variety of beautiful bouquets from local farmers that are typically very affordable! You can often get a bouquet for $10-$30.
What's always a great way to stay warm in the mountains? Dancing! Lindsay and David had so much fun joking around with one another and dancing up in the alpine environment.
Celebrating the Unexpected
Snow often stays in the mountains at higher elevations well into the summer, often not melting out until July! This summer in Washington was particularly cold so the snow took just a little bit longer to melt. We went up here in August so it was super fun to see snow (especially since back in Seattle it was so hot). So of course, Lindsay and David had to have a snowball fight (I mean, who wouldn't have a snowball fight in the middle of August?!).
Tips for Your Mount Rainier Adventure Elopement
A question I get asked often is what type of shoes a couple wears on an adventure elopement like this. Hiking boots! I definitely recommend wearing a solid pair of hiking boots (that are broken in and have good traction) if you're going to be hiking on your wedding day. With that being said, I would recommend staying away from heels or dress shoes in order to not only be more comfortable, but to avoid injury. Hiking boots are such a fun adventure elopement accessory that make for some pretty sweet wedding shoes.
Another question I get asked a lot is how to pack up a floral bouquet (and how to prevent it from wilting). My advice is to wrap wet paper towels or a wet terry cloth around the base of the stems and put that in a waterproof bag. Make sure to seal it at the top to prevent any water leakage! Then, shove the bouquet firmly (but carefully!) into your pack with items holding it in place on either side. And boom- you've got an easy way to transport your flowers, while keeping them looking fresh all day (not to mention, the flowers and backpack combo is fairly badass).
Coming Back to See Mount Rainier
I had to come back to this trail and see what it looked like when Mount Rainier was out in all her glory, and it did not disappoint! I think I said to my hiking friend "How is this real? It's too beautiful that it looks fake" juuuuuuusssst about a million times. The really great thing about this trail? There are so many destinations and different views! Not only do you get gorgeous, in your face views of Rainier, but you can also spot Mount St Helens and Mount Adams. You can also access two of the bluest (and coldest if you're into swimming in alpine lakes like I am...lol) lakes I've ever seen, or a fire lookout! This location would be perfect for any adventure, but especially a backpacking elopement. If you want to have your very own backpacking elopement here, reach out to me by contacting me- I'm dying to go back to this spot again next summer! You can also learn more by exploring my Washington Elopement Packages.
Want More Resources?
Learn more about what you can do on your all-day elopement and get timeline suggestions!
Struggling on what to wear on your elopement day? Check out these best elopement wedding dresses that are perfect for any adventure!
Wondering why people choose to elope? Here are 6 Reasons to Have an Elopement.
Hire a Photographer for Your Mount Rainier Elopement
Hi! My name is Kathleen and I'm an adventure wedding and elopement photographer (and your new friend!). I'm here to help guide you to having the ultimate wedding day experience, and to document every single moment of it. I would love to help you plan your elopement and answer any questions you may have!
Get in touch with me and let's start planning your dream adventure.