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Blog Banner Ultimate Glacier National Park Elopement Guide Adventure Intimate Wedding

Ultimate Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide – Thinking of eloping in Glacier National Park? Well, lucky you! We’ve created an Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Glacier National Park and have the answers to all of your eloping questions so you can plan it with ease. (Hint: Click the links below to go directly to that section in the guide)

How To Elope in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Glacier National Park Elopement Guide | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

Do we need a Wedding permit ?

If you plan to have your wedding ceremony in Glacier National Park then you do require a wedding permit. It is important to note that you do not require a wedding permit if you just want to have your wedding photos taken in the park.

A permit is only required if you wish to say your vows and have your ceremony take place in the park. Otherwise you could have your ceremony somewhere else then head to Glacier National Park for some adventure and beautiful scenery!

How many guests can we have at our Glacier National Park elopement wedding ?

Most locations in Glacier National Park accommodate up to 15 guests for a wedding (in total including Bride, Groom, Officiant, Photographer etc). But there are some locations like the Amphitheaters that allow up to 30 guests.

Wedding Permits

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Glacier National Park Elopement Guide | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

How To Apply For A Wedding Permit

To get married and say your vows anywhere in Glacier National Park you’ll have to fill out a Special Use/Wedding Permit application and send it to :

Glacier National Park
Attn: Special Park Uses
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

How much does a Glacier National Park Wedding Permit cost?

Along with the form you are required to pay a $125 (price as of 03/01/21) non-refundable processing fee.

What about a park entrance fee, have we to pay that on top of our wedding permit fee?

The park entrance fee is not included in the wedding permit you receive, the entrance fee is approx. $35.00 per vehicle.

When should we apply for a Wedding Permit?

An application for a wedding permit must be sent at least 20 business days before, however we recommend sending the application asap as the process can take longer during peak seasons. The National Park Service accepts wedding applications up to a year in advance so get it in early to secure your spot!

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Glacier National Park Lake Elopement | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

How much time do we get for our wedding ceremony?

Once you receive your wedding permit you’ll be given a time slot for your ceremony which is normally allocated for a duration of one hour. This allows you time to:

  • Arrive at the ceremony location with your guests ( if you are having any )
  • Have your ceremony and say your vows to each other
  • Before leaving the location.

The hour time slot does not include the time it takes for eloping couples to get their photos taken.

What about the time for taking photos?

Couples can take as much time as they require to take wedding photos before and after their ceremony. They can also travel to any location in Glacier National Park that is open to the general public to have their photos taken.

When To Elope in Glacier

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Big Bend Elopement | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

What’s the best time of year to elope in Glacier National Park?

Summer – The best time of year to elope in Glacier National Park depends on what you are looking for. The busiest months are July and August and this is when the park enjoys warm sunny weather but it also brings in huge crowds.

So if you’d like to enjoy your wedding day in peace then we suggest avoiding booking a weekend date during these months. Setting your wedding date for a weekday instead will mean less people and better accessibility.

Winter – Parts of the park are closed during the Winter (November to April) because of the cold weather (snow making the roads inaccessible) but Glacier National Park is open all year round so there will be locations you can get access to for your elopement ceremony. Bear in mind, the temperatures at this time of year will be pretty low so only consider this if you are prepared for a cold wintery wedding day!

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Fall Elopement in Glacier National Park | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

Fall – A great time of year when the park isn’t as busy and the temperature is not too low is September into October. In these months, you can also enjoy the beauty of the fall season where the trees are all different shades of orange and reds. Fall is a great season to have an adventure elopement wedding as you can get stunning photos of the fall colors in the background.

Spring – Another quieter time is May and with the temperatures rising at this time of year, you can enjoy a Spring wedding as the park starts to come alive again. The mountains will still have snow on them in May which is something to embrace because they’ll look amazing in photos – who doesn’t love snowy peaks as a backdrop?

Can we elope during the Peak season at Glacier National Park?

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Beach Elopement in Glacier National Park | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

Peak season at Glacier National Park is considered the second Friday in May through to the second Sunday in October. During the peak season, the park may limit the amount of guests you can have when approving your permit.

You will also be given an allocated time outwith peak hours – which is best for everyone involved really! As you don’t want a crowd of strangers gathering during your ceremony. You’re best to get the earliest time possible if you plan to elope in Glacier National Park during peak season.

Getting there for sunrise is ideal as your photographer will be able to get beautiful shots of you both as the sun rises up from behind the mountains. In peak season we do recommend eloping during the week to get the best out of your experience and avoid the crowds.

Where To Elope in Glacier

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

Glacier National Park has over 30 locations available for having your ceremony and although you are not allowed to set up any props or decor, the views of the mountains are more than enough to take your breath away!

To help make your decision easier we’ve categorised some great locations by area and included some information/features about each.

Remember you can get your photos taken anywhere – most of the locations listed below are options for where you can have your ceremony, but you can go wherever you like the rest of your day!

Two Medicine District

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Two Medicine Lake Elopement | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

– Two Medicine Lake + Pray Lake

Two Medicine is a beautiful area situated in the southeast corner of the park and might appeal to those who wish to stay away from the heavily trafficked Going-to-the-sun road. Two Medicine Lake and Pray Lake are right next to each other (like literally less than 100 yards) and are connected by a creek.

The big difference between the two is their size, Pray Lake is only 700ft long whereas Two Medicine is 2 miles long. Both lakes are surrounded by towering mountain peaks that reflect off the water like a crystal clear mirror.

– Running Eagle Falls

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Running Eagle Falls | Two Medicine | Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

Waterfalls are always a beautiful sight but this one has a trick up its sleeve! Running eagle falls is just a short walk and easy to get to even when wearing a wedding dress…

It’s nicknamed “Trick Falls” because sometimes there’s actually two waterfalls. Basically, in Spring the water rushes off the top ledge but by late Summer it has dried up, leaving only the lower falls to take the glory!

Saint Mary District

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Saint Mary Lake Elopement | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

– Saint Mary Lake

Saint Mary Lake is one of the most popular lakes in Glacier National Park especially since you can drive along the length of its shores on the world famous Going-to-the-sun road. One of our favourite spots to elope here is Sun Point.

Sun Point is located on the banks of the lake and takes you out to a scenic view overlooking the water and giant mountain peaks! It’s a great place for a special occasion like a wedding and you’ll definitely need some time to take in the incredible views.

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Wild Goose Island | Saint Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

Another great spot on Saint Mary Lake is the Wild Goose Island Lookout. This lookout is literally just off the Going-to-the-sun road and, like the name suggests, it offers a gorgeous view of a small island in Saint Mary Lake called Wild Goose Island. It’s a really picturesque spot with the surrounding beauty of the water and soaring mountains.

The down side is wedding ceremonies are restricted to a duration of 30 minutes here…So maybe just pop by for some photos before or after your ceremony!

– Saint Mary Falls + Virginia Falls

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Saint Mary Falls | Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

If you love waterfalls then this part of Glacier National Park is for you! Virginia Falls is 50ft high waterfall perfect for using as a backdrop during your elopement day. It’s an easy 3 mile hike there and back and you get to enjoy not just one waterfall but two!

Like many places around Saint Mary Lake in the Summer, it will get pretty crowded so to get the best experience, get there early.

Lake Mcdonald District

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Big Bend | Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

– Going to the sun road

An epic drive awaits you on the Going-to-the-sun road as it takes you on a 50 mile journey from West Glacier, past the shores of Lake McDonald and Saint Mary Lake. This road is perfect for you if you don’t want to hike on your wedding day but wish to see as many scenic points as possible within the park.

Please Note: This road is only fully open from late June/ early July each year as only parts of the road are open all year round due to the snow conditions.

Going-to-the-sun road will be operating a ticketed entry system from May 28 2021, this ticket is only required if you do not already have a service reservation (for camping, boat ride etc). The system has been introduced to improve traffic flow and reduce crowding and the only cost is a $2 processing order fee.

Tickets can only be purchased online by visiting the Recreation.gov website here. You can find more information on the new ticketed entry system by clicking here.

– Lake Mcdonald

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Lake McDonald Wedding | Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

At 10 miles long, Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park. You can drive along its shores on the Going-to the-sun road and is the first lake you come to from the West Glacier side.

There are many great beach spots along the lakeside that would be perfect for your elopement ceremony. One thing to check out when you are there is the colorful pebbles you can see at the bottom of the lake!

Scenic Locations around Going-to-the-sun road

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Avalanche Lake | Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

– Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake is a beautiful turquoise colored lake surrounded by famous peaks like Bearhat mountain and the Little Matterhorn. It’s a wonderful setting for an elopement and one thing you should look out for are the waterfalls you see pouring down the mountain side into the lake – it’s really something to see!

It is a 2 mile hike to Avalanche Lake which will take about an hour to walk but it really is worth it. Make sure to give yourself a couple of hours in total so you have enough time to relax while you are there.

– Big Bend

Big Bend is where the Going-to-the-sun road takes a big turn as you drive along the cliff edge! It is also where you’ll find a beautiful valley full of wildflowers. This particular part of the valley goes by the name of ‘Paradise Meadow’ and it certainly lives up to its name.

We’d go as far as saying it rivals the views of the Austrian mountains and lush green grass in the movie ‘The Sound of Music’! In the Spring and Summer months you’ll also be rewarded with a variety of colors from the blooming wildflowers that grow here. See the view at Big Bend by clicking here.

– Logan Pass + Hidden Lake

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Hidden Lake | Glacier National Park Elopement guide

Logan Pass is the name of the highest point on the Going-to-sun road. It has a visitor center offering various Ranger-led activities. It is a very popular spot in Glacier National Park as it is also the trailhead for two scenic hikes – the Highline Trail and Hidden Lake Trail.

The Hidden Lake Trail takes takes you down a wooden boardwalk path to a point overlooking the lake. It’s a very popular hike as you get a great view of Bearhat mountain. Even if you are not eloping here, we recommend you visit this part of the park at some point during your trip!

Many Glacier District

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Many Glacier Elopement | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

– Lake Josephine + Swiftcurrent Lake

Many Glacier is a quieter area of Glacier National Park mainly because it can’t be accessed via the heavily trafficked Going-to-the-sun road. We recommend this area if you are looking for a bit of everything in one picturesque setting. Here you have lakes, mountains and fields of lush green grass and forest trees giving you lots of options for exploring.

The Many Glacier Hotel sits on the banks of Swiftcurrent Lake looking over to the magnificent Mount Grinnell. The great thing about Many Glacier is you have a fantastic view from the hotel but you can also hike out to Lake Josephine or Grinnell Lake further along the valley for more fantastic views.

Best Places To Elope in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Glacier National Park Wedding | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

If you had a look at some of our options in our ‘Where To Elope in Glacier National Park’ section then you’ll know there are so many stunning places to spend your elopement day at Glacier.

It was hard to choose but we managed to come up with a list of the Best Places To Elope in Glacier National Park (Tip: If you want to know more about a location just click it to read the details)

  1. Sun Point at Saint Mary Lake
  2. Big Bend
  3. Avalanche Lake
  4. Many Glacier
  5. Logan Pass + Hidden Lake
  6. Lake Mcdonald
  7. Virginia Falls at Saint Mary Lake
  8. Pray Lake

Elopement Vendors near Glacier

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Glacier National Park Elopement Guide | Photo By Carrie Ann Photography

Like the images featured in this post? We are proud to say they were taken by our very own Elopement Wedding Planner vendor Carrie Ann Photography! Isn’t she talented?! So if you are looking for the best photography for your elopement we highly recommend contacting Carrie Ann.

Carrie Ann captures couples and Glacier National Park in a way that is unique, natural and oh so beautiful! Click the image above to be taken straight the page where you contact her directly.

Tips For Eloping in Glacier National Park

  1. Apply for your wedding permit as early as possible to avoid disappointment – you can apply as early as 1 year in advance of your date!
  2. If eloping in the Summer, consider getting married on a weekday when it is less busy.
  3. Also consider getting to Glacier National Park for sunrise in any season – This not only means the park will be quieter but also means you can get great photos as the sun rises from behind the mountains.
  4. Keep up to date with any alerts, road closures and weather conditions about Glacier National Park in the lead up to your elopement day by visiting the National Park Service website here.
  5. A ticketed entry system is being introduced from May 28 2021 on the popular Going-to-the-sun road – you can secure your reservation by visiting the Recreation.gov website here
  6. Be mindful of the Leave No Trace principles when in Glacier National Park – You can view information about this by clicking here

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

Ready to Start Planning your Elopement in Glacier National Park?

Everything you could ever want to know about eloping in Glacier National Park has been covered in this guide. We love the fact that this park suits everyone’s needs…You have the choice whether to go on an adventurous hike or you can choose to drive directly to the lookout spots instead. So are you ready to start planning your epic elopement experience in Glacier National Park?

Get in touch with us if you have any questions about the areas we’ve covered in this post. Or if you want to ask about a location we haven’t touched on… Click the button below to reach us –

Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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Glacier National Park Elopement Guide

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