Mt. Rainier is nothing short of iconic. Towering at 14,411’ above sea level, it’s visible from almost everywhere in Seattle on a clear day. It’s a mountain that’s synonymous with the Pacific Northwest, and even has its own National Park!
Now, imagine saying your vows overlooking (or ON) the highest volcano in the lower 48! Can you see it? I sure can.
In this post, I’ll cover the whens, the wheres, and the hows of planning your spectacular Mt. Rainier elopement.
As with all Washington National Parks and Forests, summer is generally the best time to visit. You’ll find that all entrances and roads are open, giving us countless location options. By late June, most of the snow will have melted, and by July, Mt. Rainier National Park’s famous wildflowers will be in full bloom.
The more you venture into colder months, the lesser your chances are of experiencing a sunny day. Additionally, out of the four entrances into the park, only one is open in the off-season. You can enter Mt. Rainier National Park through the Nisqually entrance, but the road that leads to the foot of the mountain is subject to weather.
What I’m trying to say is this: if you want a 90% guarantee that the weather is going to be clear on your elopement day, opt for the summer months (late June – early September). If you don’t mind a little snow in your wake, May through June is a great option. If you are willing to risk bad weather for fall colors, consider late September – early October. We can always have a backup plan if needed!
Oh MAN do we have options!!! Whether you’re looking for an epic hike or a spot where we can just pop out of the car, Mt. Rainier has something for everyone.
There are four entrances to Mt. Rainier: Nisqually (the most popular, located southwest of the volcano), Stevens Canyon in the Southeast, Sunrise in the Northeast, and Carbon River in the Northwest, each with its own unique attributes. Here are some popular elopement locations in each quadrant of the park.
Once we start working together, I’ll let you in on all my favorite locations so we can choose together. As always, I log hundreds of miles every month to find the best areas. And since we’re using public land instead of a costly venue, it’s our job to do what to protect our surroundings and practice the 7 principles of Leave No Trace!
Mt. Rainier National Park experiences a lot of traffic, so securing a wedding permit is essential. At least four weeks before your requested date, you will need to fill out the form on this website (search for “Permit for Weddings”) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Parks Service encourages small, intimate weddings within the park! But keep in mind that we will need to select a location before applying for your permit, and we would have to acquire special permissions to add any decorations. But truthfully? The scenery is more than enough!
Mt. Rainier National Park is ultra-accessible from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The Sunrise entrance (where Tolmie Peak sits) is just 60 miles south of the airport, and the Nisqually entrance is just 80. If you plan on renting a car, make sure you choose one with all-wheel drive for the winter months.
There is no shortage of gorgeous accommodations in and around the park! I recommend staying in Ashford or Packwood.
For all NPS campsites, make sure you snag them far in advance! Campsites are first-come-first-served from May 28 – June 23 and September 7 – October 10 and reservation-based from June 24 – September 6. Availability is released in late February.
HipCamp is also a great option for private campsites that take away the stress of highly-desired National Park campgrounds.
Washington is the capital of luxury campervan rentals. Outdoorsy.com and Go Camp Campervans are like Airbnb for fully outfitted vans. Renting one of these souped-up vans makes it easy to continue your adventure after you elope!
My oh MY is there SO much to do in Mt. Rainier National Park! Here are some adventures to consider in and around the National Park.
Ready to start planning your unforgettable North Cascades National Park elopement!? Nomadic Weddings proudly offers complimentary planning assistance from start to end, customized packages and timelines to fit any needs, and an experience that will make this adventure your best one yet! This thing won’t plan itself! Reach out today to get started.
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hey, i'm molly!
This ain’t an all-day photoshoot, I’m not here to get you to grin at a camera all day long, that would suck. I’m here to capture all the natural and organic moments of a beautiful day filled with things you two love to do the most together. Whether that’s hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing, sailing, biking, exploring cities, or sipping on microbrews; whatever your heart desires.
Look around and stay a while!