Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide – Home to the tallest waterfall in North America, Yosemite is packed with excitement and adventure at every turn. So if you are considering eloping in Yosemite National Park then we’ve got you covered!

We’ve created an Ultimate Guide for Eloping in Yosemite National Park and have the answers to everything you need to know about eloping here. Plus we reveal the best places to elope in the park. (Hint: Click the links below to go directly to that section in the guide)

How To Elope in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Charleton-churchill-yosemite-adventure-elopement-packages-destination-wedding-intimate-outdoor-mountain-ceremony-sentinel-dome-love
Sentinel Dome Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By Charleton Churchill

Do we need a Wedding permit ?

In some parks you only need a wedding permit if you are having your ceremony in the park but at Yosemite, a permit is required for anything wedding related. This includes wedding anniversary events, engagement photo sessions and, of course, elopements.

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

Some locations in Yosemite National Park accommodate up to 50 guests for a wedding (in total including Bride, Groom, Officiant, Photographer etc). But it is important to note that if you are having more than 30 guests, an event monitor may be required.

An event monitor is a Yosemite National Park member of staff who oversees the event to ensure everyone is safe and there is a charge of $50 per hour for this.

Wedding Permits

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

yosemite-valley-adventure-elopement-destination-wedding-bride-groom-taft-point-sunset-intimate-ceremony-mountain-cliff-love
Taft Point Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By More Van Anything

How To Apply For A Wedding Permit

To elope or have a wedding photoshoot in Yosemite National Park, you’ll have to fill out a Special Use/Wedding Permit application and send it to :

Attn: Catherine Carlisle-McMullen
Special Park Uses/Film and Weddings
Yosemite National Park, National Park Service
P.O. Box 700
El Portal, CA 95318

How much does a Yosemite National Park Wedding Permit cost?

Along with the form you are required to pay a $150 (price as of 07/01/21) 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 more than 21 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!

Is there anything else we should know?

Yes due to the pandemic from May 21 to September 30, 2021 a reservation is required to enter the park. So you’ll be required to have a day use reservation and a special use (wedding) permit in order to get into the park on the day of your elopement.

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

yosemite-valley-adventure-elopement-destination-wedding-bride-groom-taft-point-sunset-intimate-ceremony-mountain-cliff-love-national-park
Taft Point Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By More Van Anything

How much time do we get for our wedding ceremony?

You are allowed up to 2 hours maximum at any location.

When To Elope in Yosemite

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

carrie-rogers-photography-yosemite-national-park-adventure-elopement-california-intimate-destination-wedding-glacier-point-love
Glacier Point, Yosemite Elopement | Photo By Carrie Rogers

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

Normally, the best time of day to elope and have an intimate ceremony is at sunrise. This is because the light is better at this time for your photography and it is a lot less likely that you’ll encounter huge crowds which gives you an opportunity to have the private intimate ceremony you deserve.

We also advise you to elope at Yosemite or any national park on a weekday instead of at the weekend because there will be less people around and you’ll get better/easier access to areas around the park.

Summer – You may automatically be thinking that the Summer months would be the best time of year to elope in Yosemite National Park. However, when you start thinking about the amount of visitors who come to Yosemite in the Summer and how hot it can get as well as the risks of wildfires and smoke (especially by mid-summer) – you may decide a different time of year may be more suitable.

Spring – Spring is a great time of year to elope in the park especially if you like waterfalls. After the winter snow has melted and the ice has thawed, the park is filled with water gushing down everywhere you look! All of the well known (and not so well known) waterfalls in the park reach their peak flow at this time of year.

In terms of eloping in the park, the temperature will be pleasantly cooler and it won’t be packed with as many visitors as the Summer months. There is also little risk of wildfires in Spring which is a big plus as you don’t have to worry about clouds of smoke forming and blocking the amazing views in the park.

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

carrie-rogers-photography-yosemite-valley-national-park-adventure-elopement-california-outdoor-intimate-destination-wedding-love
Yosemite Elopement | Photo By Carrie Rogers

Fall – Another great time of year when the park isn’t as busy and the temperature is not too low is October into November. In these months, most of the park is still open if not all of it so you can enjoy the views and enjoy a more peaceful and private experience with less visitors around.

It is important to note that Yosemite is not known for having vibrant fall colors though, because most of the trees in the park are evergreen.

Winter – Most of the park is closed during the Winter months but if privacy is of the utmost important to you and you don’t mind the cold then maybe a Winter elopement is for you.

You can enjoy an intimate day with little to no visitors around the lower parts of the park that remain open all year round like Yosemite Valley and Wawona – and still get to enjoy some great views!

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

elopement-wedding-photographers-Rachel-Nielsen-yosemite-california-glacier-point-intimate-ceremony-elope-usa-adventure-packages-love
Glacier Point Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By Rachel Nielsen

Yes, peak season at Yosemite National Park starts from around mid-May and continues to the end of September. To get married in the park you require a permit and a day use reservation and during peak season, the amount of reservations are limited so it’s best to apply well in advance for you permit and reservation.

You can apply up to a year in advance so no time to waste – get that formed filled in!

Where To Elope in Yosemite

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

The great thing about Yosemite is you can elope anywhere in the park (if you have a party size of 10 people or less). So if you are not sure where would be best to spend your elopement day in Yosemite then the best idea is to book an elopement photographer who knows Yosemite well.

When you apply for your wedding permit, you will need to specify the location you’d like to have your wedding ceremony. This is so that no one else can use that location for a wedding ceremony at the same time as you.

To help you decide where to elope in Yosemite, we’ve made a list of some great elopement locations below:

Glacier Point

carrie-rogers-photography-yosemite-national-park-sasha-gabe-adventure-elopement-california-outdoor-intimate-destination-wedding-mountain-half-dome
Yosemite Elopement | Photo By Carrie Rogers

– Glacier Point, Yosemite

One of the most popular places to get married and for good reason. Glacier Point is a view point overlooking Yosemite valley and the famous granite Half Dome. It offers dramatic views of the park as you stand at an elevation of over 7000 feet.

Aside from the epic views, one of the reasons this location is so popular is because you can literally drive right to it. There is a car park close by so you just need to take a short walk form the car park and you’re there! This is certainly advantageous for your elopement ceremony as it saves you having to carry anything heavy for long periods.

Please note: Glacier Point Road will be closed for improvements in 2022. This means the only way to access Glacier Point is by hiking via the Four Mile, Panorama, and Pohono Trails.

carrie-rogers-photography-yosemite-national-park-adventure-elopement-california-outdoor-intimate-destination-wedding-glacier-point-love
Glacier Point, Yosemite Elopement | Photo By Carrie Rogers

Taft Point

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

allison-slater-destination-elopement-adventure-wedding-photographer-yosemite-valley-taft-point-usa-mountain-love-elope-wild-california
Taft Point Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By Allison Slater

– Taft Point, Yosemite

A place for the more adventurous types! Taft Point is a risky but rewarding location and literally has you standing on the edge of a cliff – well actually a ledge! It’s pretty hardcore!!

Couples love it because the photos look incredible especially if the photographer stands way back and gets a shot of the cliff profile overlooking the valley and beyond.

It’s an Instagram worthy shot, for sure, and in actual fact has only become a popular location for elopements in recent years – thanks to Instagram! Nowadays many couples see this epic shot on Instagram and fall in love with it before making it their dream elopement location.

The trailhead car park is just off Glacier Point Road and is about a 1 mile hike to Taft Point from there – which should take about 30 minutes.

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Tunnel View

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

anukrati-omar-yosemite-elopement-wedding-photography-california-elope-outdoor-adventure-destination-intimate-ceremony-tunnel-view
Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

– Tunnel View, Yosemite

One of the most famous views of Yosemite Valley is just as you enter the park, located right after the tunnel on State Route 41 (Wawona Rd) – which is why it is called Tunnel View! From here, you can see some of the top iconic attractions, such as El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls and even the Half Dome in the distance!

The location is very accessible as you can just drive right up and park on the road side to witness this incredible view of Yosemite Valley. This spot is REALLY POPULAR and it’s mega busy so it may not be ideal for an elopement ceremony if you are looking to stay away from huge crowds – though it’s worth a stop off if you have the time.

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

yosemite-adventure-elopement-destination-wedding-photographer-packages-more-van-anything-tunnel-view-intimate-ceremony
Tunnel View Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By More Van Anything

Half Dome

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

john-salzarulo-half-dome-yosemite-elopement-wedding-photography-california-elope-outdoor-adventure-destination-intimate-ceremony
Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

This location is not for the faint hearted and is more suited to experienced hikers and mountain climbers who are thrill seekers and really want to achieve something amazing on their wedding day.

The Half Dome climb is an epic journey that takes over 12 hours in total to do. Yes, you read that right…12 hooooours! BUT you do feel a great sense of achievement once you get to the top – after you’ve been able to catch your breath that is!

The Half Dome climb has become so popular that nowadays you only have a chance of doing it by lottery. The lottery system means you and other applicants will circulate in a pool and be selected randomly.

Each applicant can apply for up to 6 permits so in order to ensure you can climb with your other half (and possibly a photographer to document it) then you are best to include them in the application. If you are successful, you will receive a permit for climbing for the date you requested and you can start preparing for your epic climb.

El Capitan Meadow

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

adam-kool-yosemite-elopement-wedding-photography-packages-california-elope-outdoor-adventure-destination-intimate-ceremony-el-capitan
Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

– El Capitan Meadow

This is where you get to appreciate the true size of the granite giants above! Located deep in Yosemite Valley, you’ll find this beautiful place with incredible views of to El Capitan (a huge vertical rock formation). It’s perfect for your elopement ceremony or even a little romantic stroll!

In the Spring and Summer, you can walk through the lush green grass as you gaze up at the magnificent granite rock formations and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of it all.

It is also a perfect area for Autumn and Winter elopements because the road leading up to it is open all year round. It’s easily accessible by just parking close by on the side of the road too.

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

carrie-rogers-photography-yosemite-national-park-adventure-elopement-california-outdoor-intimate-destination-wedding-el-capitan-love
El Capitan, Yosemite Elopement | Photo By Carrie Rogers

Cathedral Beach

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

yosemite-adventure-elopement-destination-wedding-more-van-anything-intimate-ceremony-el-capitan-cathedral-beach
Cathedral Beach Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By More Van Anything

– Cathedral Beach

Just a short walk from El Capitan Meadow is another lovely setting for an intimate elopement ceremony…Cathedral Beach sits on the Merced River and offers a spectacular view of El Capitan.

With Cathedral Beach being so close to the meadow, you might be thinking it offers pretty much the same view but they are actually quite different. At Cathedral Beach you are a little further away from El Capitan so it’s not as imposing and it might suit your visions for your elopement photography better.

On the beach you have the view of the river with the tall trees in the background and then just behind that rises the glorious El Capitan!

It’s important to note that Cathedral Beach has a picnic area very close by which brings a lot of visitors and therefore noise and less privacy but a sunrise session could solve all this!

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

yosemite-adventure-elopement-destination-wedding-more-van-anything-intimate-ceremony-love-el-capitan-cathedral-beach
Cathedral Beach Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By More Van Anything

Bridalveil Falls

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

michael-diane-weidner-yosemite-bridalveil-falls-elopement-wedding-photography-california-elope-adventure-destination-intimate-ceremony
Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

– Bridalveil Falls

A very popular attraction is Bridalveil Falls which can be seen as soon as you enter Yosemite Valley. This waterfall is 188 metres tall and flows all year round – although its peak flow is in Spring.

This is a great option for couples who wish to have a waterfall backdrop but please note the water can often be thundering down, creating A LOT of noise…so it might be difficult to have a quiet ceremony here especially if you want to hear each other’s vows!

The paved trail takes about 20 minutes to hike from the parking area and leads you to the base of the waterfall. So it’s a very easy walk but because of its popularity and ease of access, it is a busy spot.

Yosemite Valley Chapel

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

chris-boyer-yosemite-valley-chapel-elopement-wedding-photography-california-elope-adventure-destination-intimate-ceremony1
Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Yosemite Valley Chapel

For those who wish a more traditional ceremony, you are in luck! There is the most adorable little chapel in the valley you can get married in…So you can have the best of both…A traditional ceremony before heading out and enjoying the more adventurous side of Yosemite!

Yosemite Valley Chapel was built in 1879 and hosted its first wedding 1884. It has become a very popular wedding destination over the years due to its unique setting and beauty. To wed here you can either use the Resident Minister or you can book your own. The chapel takes bookings up to 18 months in advance.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

jeremy-lwanga-yosemite-falls-elopement-wedding-photography-california-elope-outdoor-adventure-destination-intimate-ceremony
Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Yosemite Falls

The tallest waterfall in North America! Yosemite Falls roars in Spring with water cascading down its 739 metre body. The falls is split in two with an upper and lower falls and you can get a spectacular view of both along the Lower Yosemite Falls trailhead which lies deep in Yosemite Valley.

If you wish to have your elopement ceremony here, you should factor in the noise, as just like at Bridalveil Falls, being in close proximity of Yosemite Falls will make it hard to hear anything but the water thundering down next to you. Also be prepared to get wet as you stand on the footbridge next to the base of the walls – especially in the Spring up until mid-Summer.

Given this is the tallest waterfall in North America, visitors coming to the park will want to see this beautiful waterfall in all its glory so expect lots of tourists at this spot. In saying this, the amazing photography you get from this backdrop will be absolutely worth it!

Sentinel Dome

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

jesse-gardner-adventure-elopement-packages-destination-wedding-intimate-ceremony-sentinel-dome1
Ultimate Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

– Sentinel Dome

The top of Sentinel Dome is a great location for panoramic views of the granite mountains and the valley below. It’s a straightforward 2 mile hike from the same trailhead as Taft Point and offers great views of the other (probably more well-known) dome in the valley – the Half Dome.

At this location the landscape is a dome shape so you kind of feel on top of it all as there’s nothing obstructing your view for miles. Not to be confused with the Half Dome (which is a 14 mile long strenuous hike)

Best Places To Elope in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

yosemite-valley-adventure-elopement-destination-wedding-more-van-anything-taft-point-sunset-intimate-ceremony-mountain-sentinel-dome-love
Taft Point Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By More Van Anything

Yosemite National Park is a jaw dropping 8 miles long east to west and the granite giants within are almost twice the size of the Empire State Building! How amazing is that!!

So there is a whole world of places you can elope to and the best advice we can give you is if you have your heart set on eloping in Yosemite then you should book a photographer who knows Yosemite well – there are plenty!

So after reading our guide you’ll now know some pretty incredible places to elope in Yosemite but what about the Best Places To Elope in Yosemite National Park, you ask? It was tough! But we managed to create a list of the best locations below (Tip: If you want to know more about a location just click it to read the details)

  1. Glacier Point
  2. Taft Point
  3. Tunnel View
  4. Half Dome
  5. El Capitan Meadow
  6. Cathedral Beach
  7. Bridalveil Falls
  8. Yosemite Valley Chapel
  9. Yosemite Falls
  10. Sentinel Dome

Elopement Vendors near Yosemite

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Carrie Rogers Photography

carrie-rogers-photography-yosemite-national-park-sasha-gabe-adventure-elopement-california-outdoor-intimate-destination-wedding-mountain-half-dome
Yosemite Elopement | Photo By Carrie Rogers

Charleton Churchill Photography

Charleton-churchill-yosemite-adventure-elopement-packages-destination-wedding-intimate-outdoor-mountain-ceremony-sentinel-dome-love
Sentinel Dome Elopement, Yosemite | Photo By Charleton Churchill

Like the images featured in this post? We are proud to say they were taken by our very own Elopement Wedding Planner members. Click on the images to view their photography pages – you can contact them from there too!

Tips For Eloping in Yosemite 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 Yosemite 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. Glacier Point Road will be closed in 2022 for improvements. This means the only way to access Glacier Point is by hiking via the Four Mile, Panorama, and Pohono Trail. All of which are long and strenuous.
  5. Keep up to date with any alerts, road closures and weather conditions about Yosemite National Park in the lead up to your elopement day by visiting the National Park Service website here.
  6. A reservation is required to enter the park starting from May 21 2021 – you can secure your reservation by visiting the Recreation.gov website here
  7. Be mindful of the Leave No Trace principles when in Yosemite National Park – You can view information about this by clicking here

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Ready to Start Planning your Elopement in Yosemite National Park?

WOW! That was a lot of information! Our Yosemite Elopement Guide offers so many great tips and covers so many amazing places and you never know when you might want to refer to it again so how about you bookmark this page for later? So are you ready to start planning your epic elopement experience in Yosemite 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 –

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Like This Post ? Why Not Check Out …

Best Places To Elope in the US America

Blog Banner Best Places To Elope In The USA America Ultimate Elopement Guide

Best Places To Elope in Colorado

Blog Banner Best Places To Elope In Colorado Rocky Mountains Hanging Lake

Best Places To Elope in Washington

Blog Banner Best Places To Elope In Washington State-Rainier-Cascades-Olympic

Elopement FAQS – How To Elope

Blog Blanner Elopement FAQS Small Outdoor Ceremony How To Elope

Yosemite National Park Elopement Guide

Leave your comment
Comment
Name
Email