What an amazing place Olympic National Park is to have your elopement in the Pacific Northwest. This elopement took place at 3 locations (we did a lot on our timeline!): a rental cabin, Lake Crescent, and Hurricane Ridge. This national park is in the most upper left corner of Washington State (and therefore the US as well) and has incredible diversity. From coastal beaches, to lakes, to mountains towering high, to a literal rainforest, it’s wild how much you can see just in this small area of the state.
The diversity is jam packed into this park but the variety of the PNW in general is one of the reasons I love it so much. We live just under 2 hours from both the mountains and the coast so we can literally be in the snow in the morning and at the beach in the evening (if we wanted to be wild). It’s also one of the reasons Ally and Nicole decided to elope in this beautiful area coming from the opposite end of the country.
For this Hurricane Ridge elopement we spent most of our time up on the ridge but made a quick pit stop at Lake Crescent, specifically East Beach, which was the closest driving point we could get to on our 4 hour timeline. This was just the very beginning of smoke/fire season in the PNW for 2022 and the smoke was definitely visible, but not enough to ruin any views. At Lake Crescent Ally + Nicole did their first look, a few portraits, and we hopped in the car to drive up to Hurricane Ridge to find much colder and windier weather. It sits at just about 5200 feet in elevation and is a long windy road to get to the top but very worth it once you do!
Once up on the ridge we found forest to give everyone some cover from the wind, then they had their self led ceremony. This was my first time actually “officiating” a ceremony, though all I did was sign the paperwork and mail it in, it was still very exciting! We also found 2 nice hikers to sign as their witnesses as 2 people other than the officiant are required in WA state. If you are eloping always be sure to check the states rules on this (fun fact in Colorado your dog can be a witness!). From there we explored a bit more down the road past the visitor center to find a private spot for blue hour portraits, popping champagne, and some donut snacks. It was moody and perfect!
Like I said before, this national park has so much to offer and many options for those who are looking to do an adventure elopement. There’s an added benefit because if you are doing a true elopement (total group size under 5 people), then in Olympic National Park you do not need a permit. Always check with the NPS prior as rules are changing constantly. Some other spots to consider in this park are the Hoh Rainforest, Ruby Beach, Lake Crescent Lodge, Madison Falls, just to name a few.
Kelsey Straus is a PNW Elopement +
Intimate Wedding Photographer
based in Portland, Oregon