Olympic National Park Adventure Session
Updated: Jul 14
Hurricane Ridge Engagement Photo Session
Hurricane Ridge is such a stunning destination for your Olympic National Park elopement or engagement photos! As a Washington elopement photographer, Olympic National Park is one of my favorite places to recommend to couples due to its beauty and incredible biodiversity. Cori and Jess love being active and exploring Washington together. To celebrate their love, they wanted to take some beautiful & fun photos surrounded by the snow and mountains! We decided to do their adventure session at Hurricane Ridge and snowshoe around the area.
We arrived at the parking lot nice and early to beat the crowds, and we got so lucky with the weather! The entire week prior and after our session was cloudy & full of snow storms, but luckily we had gorgeous weather and some much appreciated sunshine. Not to mention we were able to see this jaw-dropping, never-ending sea of mountain peaks! These two had never snowshoed before, and we had so much fun running around and exploring around. They also decided to read hand written love letters to one another and to warm up with some hot cocoa (and of course there was a snow ball fight!). All in all, it was truly a perfect day.
Cori and Jess were so fun to photograph- they have such a playful & loving relationship! A truly modern love story, they first connected through Instagram and have been with each other for over three and a half years. Cori thought "Jess was the most beautiful human being I’d ever seen. Her dimples were the cutest thing and when she smiled really big, you could hardly see her eyes. She made me laugh harder than anyone I’d ever met and made me feel like I could be 10000% my true self.” They started talking with one another every day and from there it's history! Their stories of traveling with one another (like getting engaged in Europe!) and of their every day life were so fun to hear. Being with these two truly felt like hanging out with old friends (which is one of the reasons I love getting to know couples before photographing them and why I believe choosing a photographer you connect with is SO important!).
Another one of my favorite questions to ask couples is what made them fall in love or realize they were in love for the first time and for them to describe that moment (spoiler alert: I am a cheeseball and love hearing about people's stories and relationships!). I absolutely loved what Cori & Jess said about one another:
“I remember falling in love with Jess the moment I saw her. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true. From our first hug, I knew that there was something really special about her. I’d never felt so at home with anyone in my life. During the drive, I asked to hold her hand and felt my heart beating so fast I thought it was going to beat out of my chest. I wasn’t even out at the time, but I wanted to buy her food and open doors for her. I was SUPER into her!” -Cori
“I don’t remember a specific moment of ‘falling in love’ with Cori but there came a moment where I realized I didn’t want to live without her. It was in that moment that I realized I was in love with her and wanted to spend forever with her.” -Jess
Why Olympic National Park is the Perfect Spot For Your Elopement or Engagement Photos
Whenever I first connect with a couple who wants to elope or take adventurous engagement photos, I always start by asking how they envision their day. Close your eyes and really try and picture your elopement. Where are you- what type of scenery do you imagine yourself in? Try and really picture it in your head, feel the sunshine & wind on your face and smell the pine trees or salty ocean air. What do you imagine yourself doing- what activities do you want to include? One of the first things you'll need to decide on is where you want to get married (it can be a very general idea such as on top of a mountain or by the beach). Once you have a vague picture in your head, your elopement photographer can help bring your vision to life and help you find your perfect elopement destination! One of my favorite places in Washington to recommend to couples is the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park. Here are some of the main reasons why I love Olympic National Park elopements:
1. The biodiversity in this area is insane! You want to be on top of a mountain, immersed in a rainforest, by waterfalls, lakes, and the ocean all in one day? We can make that happen here! Encompassing nearly a million acres, the park includes several unique ecosystems- making it an incredibly diverse place!
2. There are so many areas and trails in this area to explore that fit all types of abilities and scenery expectations. I already talked about the vast amount of sceneries you can find here, but there are also spots of varying accessibilities! Whether you want to drive right up to a jaw-dropping background or put in some work by hiking up a hard trail to get there (or something in between)- you can have the exact type of adventure you want!
3. A large majority of the area is at a much lower elevation than much of Washington- meaning that in a lot of trails it stays generally snow-free and accessible year round! And trails that do get snow, tend to melt out much earlier than other parts of Washington (like the North Cascades!), making this National Park more accessible sooner.
Best Places to Visit in Olympic National Park
I believe whole heartedly that where you get married and say your vows is an incredibly personal choice- and I'm here to help guide you towards it! I'm an avid hiker & adventurer- one of my favorite things is hitting a new trail (with my dog Ranger by my side) and chasing new views. I know of lots of stunning, tucked away places in Washington and I'd love to share them with you! If you're looking for the best places to elope in Olympic National Park, I've got you covered.
If you want to drive up to jaw-dropping, stunning mountain views, this is most definitely the spot for you. There are also many trails that branch off of this area if you want more solitude, different perspectives, and more adventure! Tip: If you want to come here in the winter, be aware that the road is only open Friday-Sundays in the winter season (Typically beginning of December through the end of March).
The Pacific Northwest Coast is truly unmatched in its beauty. Unlike any beach I've ever seen, the coast is so unique and full of beautiful spots! This beach was the first spot on the Washington coast I went to when I first moved here and remains my favorite to this day. The towering sea stacks, trees, and driftwood are so incredibly magical and makes a very romantic spot to go.
Crescent Lake is another beautiful gem in this area, a magnificent and brilliant blue, this lake makes for a great spot to say your vows. Meander around the shore, hike into the forest to see rivers and waterfalls, or take a steep hike to view it from above- the area surrounding Lake Crescent makes an incredible elopement destination!
My Secret, Hidden Spots
Being an avid hiker, I love finding spots that are more remote and that you won't find on every "best hikes in the...." lists. Location scouting for my clients (and for myself!) is one of my biggest passions. Whether that's actively hitting the trails or scouring every hiking forum and platform with trails that I can find on the internet, I pride myself in being able to find gorgeous and more remote locations. 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 and start planning your own Olympic National Park elopement!
Activity Ideas for Your Engagement Session
Need ideas of what to do during your engagement photos or adventure session? Here are a few of my favorite ideas!
Read each other love letters
Have a picnic
Go on a hike or snowshoe
Take a helicopter or airplane tour
Surround yourself in nature, whether it's somewhere familiar & sentimental or somewhere new and exciting!
Eat your favorite foods or have your favorite drinks
Go to a brewery
Go kayaking, snowboarding, get a tattoo, create art, or any other of your favorite activities.
Truly, the options are endless for what you can do for your engagement photos or adventure session. My advice is to do something that feels like you and your relationship. Do something or go somewhere that excites you! If you're having fun and are completely focused on celebrating your love for one another- I guarantee you will love your photos (and more importantly, the experience!). Check out this blog if you want more information on adventure sessions, or contact me to start planning your own!
Kind words from Cori & Jess:
"My fiancé and I did a photoshoot with Kathleen at Hurricane Ridge and it was AMAZING! We felt so at ease and comfortable during the photoshoot. Kathleen did a phenomenal job of giving us a few cues for different poses but also just let us be ourselves and captured some amazing moments. She took a few moments before the shoot to really set the mood and allowed us to just be together and hug for a few minutes which was nice. Overall, it was a wonderful experience!"
Thank you so much Cori & Jess for trusting me to document your love and for adventuring with me in such an incredibly beautiful place. I had such a fun time and you both are such wonderful individuals (and the sweetest couple)!
Pin It For Future Planning!
Want More Resources?
Learn more about what you can do on your all-day elopement and get timeline suggestions.
Get real elopement inspiration from a hiking elopement in the Mount Baker Wilderness.
Hire a Photographer for Your Olympic National Park Elopement or Engagement Photos
Hi! My name is Kathleen and I'm an adventure wedding and elopement photographer (and your new friend!). I'm based in Washington, but travel to Arizona, Utah, Alaska, and all over the world! 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! You can also check out my
Washington Elopement Packages for more information on how to get started.
Get in touch with me and let's start planning your dream adventure.