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Sunset Engagement Photos at Mount Rainier

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

A couple kisses in front of Mount Rainier while being reflected in a tarn during their sunset engagement photos

Mt. Rainier Engagement Photo Shoot

I've known Kellian since I was two years old and we've been friends ever since. She and her wonderful fiancé, Luke, live in Colorado, so when they came to visit me in Washington this past fall and asked if I could take their engagement photos for them I was super stoked! They are both avid hikers, have summited several 14ers together and go on backpacking trips often- so I knew I had to help them find an amazing spot and show them what Washington was all about.

Mount Rainier (aka Mt. Tahoma) is hands down my favorite mountain in the world, so when they asked me for suggestions on where to go, Mount Rainier National Park was at the top of my list! Ever since I moved to Washington, I've been completely enamored with Mt. Rainier. When I was driving in and first saw her, I was entranced and I felt truly at home and an overwhelming sense of wonder. It's still hard to draw my eyes away from her when I'm driving if the weather is good! So it's no wonder I explore Rainier's surrounding trails every chance I get and love to share my favorite spots with couples and especially my good friends.

There are so many beautiful trails both in and outside the park that all offer different views of the mountain (and would make an incredible spot for engagement photos or a Mount Rainier elopement!), but Kellian and Luke chose one of my absolute favorite trails with my favorite view of Rainier.

Since they were staying with me, I showed them a few of my other favorite spots in the park on the drive up to their location so they could see more of Rainier. I always love seeing people's reactions to experiencing Mount Rainier for the first time- it's truly something you have to see in person. We explored around a lake for a bit before we began our hike up the trail.

A couple hiking up a trail for their engagement session in Mount Rainier National Park

A couple kissing in front of the vast mountains and Mount Rainer during their sunset engagement photos

A couple sitting and drinking beer during their sunset engagement photos at Mount Rainier

It was right at the end of September so the fall colors were in full bloom, with dazzling oranges, yellows, reds and even purple on display. We got super lucky with the weather and were treated with a sunny, clear day, so I knew some alpenglow would be in store. The hike was relatively short but steep, with phenomenal views of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and the surrounding mountain ranges.

When we finally reached our destination, we had incredible, in your face views of Rainier, a beautiful meadow, and nearly no one in sight. We explored around and had so much fun!

We ran into another couple who were eloping up there and when Luke complimented their foresight in bringing beer with them, they happily shared! Another reason why I love eloping couples and why the outdoor community is the best!

A couple enjoying the view of Mount Rainier during their sunset engagement photos

Rainier's reflection in the tarn was such a lucky coincidence, normally this late in the fall this little tarn (a small, shallow mountain pond from melted snow) is dry, but with the recent rain it had filled up- allowing me to capture this reflection!

The sunset was absolutely marvelous, creating alpenglow on the mountains around us. Never heard of alpenglow? It's a stunning phenomenon that happens for a few minutes around sunrise or sunset in the mountains

al·pen·glow- the rosy light of the setting or rising sun seen on high mountains.

Or as I like to call it- nature's fireworks.

A couple at alpenglow with the mountains reflected in the water at sunset during their Mount Rainier engagement session

A couple at alpenglow with the mountains reflected in the water at sunset during their Mount Rainier engagement session

A couple walking on a trail on their Mount Rainier engagement photos at blue hour

We stayed until sunset turned into blue hour and watched as all the different colors danced across the mountains and Mount Rainier changed into a beautiful purple hue. As we turned on our headlamps and started hiking down, the stars began to illuminate the sky. It was such a wonderful evening with friends that I know I'll never forget.

Things to consider for your engagement photos at Mount Rainier

  1. Know the best time of year to go

  2. Consider choosing a weekday

  3. Stay on the trails and Leave No Trace

If you want to take engagement photos at Mount Rainier National Park, I highly recommend that you plan your adventure session during the summer or early fall! Which in Washington means mid-July, August, or September. If you go too early, like June, most trails will still have snow or a combo of snow and mud which is unideal. Additionally, some roads are even inaccessible in the early season due to snow. In the summer, you can have beautiful sunny days with Rainier out in her full glory and a dazzling display of colorful wildflowers. Or, you can wait until the fall and have incredible fall foliage (and less crowds!).

If you're looking for a little seclusion for your Mount Rainier engagement photos, I would highly, highly suggest that you consider selecting a weekday to try and avoid the crowds. Mount Rainer NP is a VERY popular park in general and the weekends get crazy busy. You can also help alleviate this by going to the lesser known spots! An experienced photographer can help you find a spot that has less traffic and more room to explore with different vantage points. Luckily I know someone who loves to explore Mount Rainier! But really, I'd love to show you my favorite trails and help you plan your session. Contact me and we can get started!

The last thing (and one of the most important) to consider when planning your engagement photos at Mount Rainer is Leave No Trace! Leave No Trace is a set of outdoor ethics and best practices that we should all follow to not only enjoy our public lands, but to protect them as well. Simply put, leave it better than you found it! There are 7 principles that you should definitely check out if you haven't before. Some of the most important in this case is to

  • Travel on durable surfaces (Meaning stay on the trail or keep it to rocks/logs and to not trample the the meadows! Walking in the wildflowers for a photo can destroy them for years and isn't worth it. An experienced photographer can manipulate their angles & foreground to still get a good photograph with the flowers without you stepping off the trail and damaging the flowers.)

  • Leave what you find (Don't pick wildflowers! I know it's tempting, but if everyone did it then there would be none left for everyone else to enjoy. For reference, the park gets roughly 2 million visitors a year!)

A couple cuddling and watching the last bit of sunset on Mount Rainier during their engagement photos


Want More Resources?

Wondering why people choose to elope? Here are 6 Reasons to Have an Elopement.

Are your best memories forged on dirt roads and switchbacks? Do you dream of being in nature instead of being indoors on your wedding day? Learn how to plan your backpacking elopement and get tons of advice!


A Mount Rainier engagement and elopement photographer

Hire a Photographer for Your Mount Rainier Engagement Photos

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! Learn more about me or my Washington Elopement Packages.

Get in touch with me and let's start planning your dream adventure.

399 views2 comments


Patrick Murphy
Patrick Murphy
Nov 13, 2021

Beautiful pictures. I love the way you write, truly inspirational and interesting.


Nov 13, 2021

These photos are stunning!

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