For those of you looking for a more secluded and intimate mountain elopement experience, Montana is the place for you! With about 1 million people for the whole state, it isn’t massively populated. We’re going to list some of our favorite spots to help you find just where to elope in Montana.
Some of these locations are merely a stroll off the road but don’t be fooled, others require a hike or adventure to get there. Either way, Montana can be a wild place! Weather can change dramatically, snow can fall almost every month, and if you’re not careful you may just want to spend a whole lot more time there. It’s a pretty amazing state, filled with incredible mountains, rivers, meadows, and lakes. And the wildlife reflects how wild and amazing it really is. Here’s a fun fact for you. Montana is one of the only places in the lower 48 states that has more animals than humans.
~ Glacier National Park ~
Where can I elope in Glacier National Park?
With over 1,500 square miles of protected land and a third of it above treeline, this is certainly an answer to the “Where to Elope in Montana?” question! You will certainly be able to find an amazing where you can elope in Glacier National Park!
And the best part? You can pick your location just about anywhere in the park! Some restrictions do apply, but it’s mostly for weddings and bigger groups. As of 2021, permits are $125 and you can more information here.
As with anywhere in Glacier, be sure to check current conditions for weather, road closures, and grizzly bear closures. You can also expect to see a lot of slow-moving traffic heading up Going to the Sun Road on weekends and midsummer. And don’t forget to bring your bear spray!
Lake McDonald is a huge lake located in Glacier National Park. The park is known for its vibrant multicolored pebbles found across the shores of the lake. The scenery, wildlife, and foliage here are absolutely beautiful!
There are quite a few trails surrounding this lake, and numerous beaches too! There is a campground on one end, so some crowds can be expected in this area, but there are a few nice short hikes that can quickly lead you away from the campers and into the magic of Glacier.
Many Glacier & Two Medicine
Known as the “Switzerland of America,” these areas are both on the east side of Glacier NP. It’s a bit of a drive over from the main west entrance in West Glacier, therefore, it’s less visited! Dramatic views of the mountains behind make for some stunning wedding photos. Both of these areas have great access to some fun activities. Rent kayaks and paddle your way out to your ceremony location, or hike a short distance to a waterfall or quiet lakeside beach. There are also some great longer hikes and backpacking loops that lead out of this area. Lot’s of amazing opportunities available here on the east side.
Logan Pass sits at the top of Going to the Sun Road. It’s an impressive drive to say the least! A few different trails lead from here, all with amazing views of the heart of Glacier National Park. A short hike from the parking lot will take you through wildflowers and tundra, and likely some snow. You might even find some photobombing mountain goats up here!
Have you already decided to elope in Glacier National Park elopement?
When should I elope in Montana?
Well, all seasons! If you’re after fall color for your mountain elopement, then plan for September or October. You’ll be blown away by the colorful Larch Trees and other fall foliage. Summer is also a great time of year. You’ll have snow-capped mountains and great big blue skies(and start nights!). The sun doesn’t set till 10pm or so in the summer, so plenty of time for all the adventures you want! Expect snow as a possibility anytime from September to May depending on where you are. Winter and spring are perfect for all you snowbirds!
~ Western Montana ~
Ready to cross the bridge to your next chapter with your partner? Kootenai Falls has a super cool swinging bridge for you two to cross over to get there! (Corny, we know). Kootenai Falls park is filled with wildlife and home to the largest undammed waterfall in Montana. It would be the perfect place for you and your partner to explore and say your “I do’s.”
Drive to the western border of Montana and Idaho to find Lookout Pass. If you are looking for a winter elopement and love to ski, this is the place for you. It’s less crowded than the uber-popular Big Sky Resort, and has some really good terrain and sow conditions. We can help you put together a beautiful ceremony up on the slopes, and get some badass pics of the two of you skiing in your wedding clothes!
Would you and your fiance love to have a unique mountain bike adventure elopement? The Hiawatha Trail is the crown jewel of Rail to Trails in the US. Basically, it is built on the existing railroad and you ride your mountain bike through train tunnels and over trestles. Get “hitched” on a train trestle overlooking the forested valley below. If you plan to stay in this area for the night, you may get a chance to see the Northern Lights!
~ Bitterroot Wilderness ~
The Bitterroots go from Missoula south down to Idaho. In fact, Idaho is about 10 miles from the trailheads the whole way down! The Bitterroot River runs the whole way as well. There is tons of great fishing and rafting in this area, and of course, amazing views of the mountains!
Blodget Canyon reminds us of Yosemite so much! And it’s so close to Missoula! There are big granite walls with rock climbing for the first few miles in. Tons of beautiful scenic spots for your elopement can be found around here. There is even a great lookout a mile or so up from the parking area.
How about having your adventure elopement at a fire tower lookout?! These lookouts are pretty amazing and you can actually book a few of them to stay for the night! We recommend checking out West Fork or Medicine Point. There are few options for these, and you can find more about which ones you can rent here.
This is the tallest peak in the Bitterroots! It’s a pretty steep 4-mile hike up to the top, but so worth it in the end. You can have your elopement at the top of the world, and then run down the trail to jump in the river for a perfect Montana Elopement! If a tough hike isn’t your pick for an adventure elopement, be sure to take a look at Camas Lake!
Have we convinced you yet that Montana is amazing and you want to elope in Montana?? Let’s talk about some details for your big day!
Why elope in Montana?
We can definitely find some reasons why you should elope in Montana! And some might say “Why not?!” But here are few reasons to get you excited. Montana has 2 giant National Parks, a lifetime of outdoor activities, mountains, tons of wildlife, glaciers, more mountains, huge rivers, waterfalls, and more alpine mountain views than any other state in the lower 48!
~ The Missoula Area ~
Mt Sentinal & Waterworks
Mt Sentinal is the mountain right above the University of Montana. You really can’t miss it, all you have to do is look for the giant ‘M’ on the mountainside. The ‘M’ is a popular hike and usually has people on it at all times, but it’s only about halfway up Mt Sentinal. You can venture all the way to the top for a bit more solitude and a better view!
Waterworks Hill is just to the north of Missoula and could be a perfect location for an elopement if you want to stay close to town. Once up top, the rolling hills give way to the Rattlesnake Wilderness and mountains, and to the south is the Clark Fork River with Missoula right under you. It’s a fairly easy walk, and you can go up and along the top as far as you like. The Rattlesnake area would also be great for a Montana adventure elopement.
Clark Fork River
If you land your partner are fly fish and love the movie “A River Runs Through It,” you’ll definitely have to consider this! The Clark Fork meanders right through Missoula and has some great beaches and banks. You could even plan to arrive at your ceremony location via raft or drift boat (and maybe even get some fishing in!!)! How is that for an adventure elopement in Montana?!
~ Mission Mountains ~
The Mission Mountains are a pretty huge area, and desolate to say the least. Spreading from Glacier NP all the way down to Missoula, these mountains contain some serious potential for places to elope in Montana. The two listed here are a bit random, we wanted to leave out the much more well know areas, such as Flathead Lake, Swan Lake, and Hungry Horse. If you’re looking for some long backpacking elopement ideas, check out the Chinese Wall in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
Mission Reservoir is just outside of the town of St Ignatius. You’ll see the beautiful views long before you get to the lake — waterfalls and snow-capped mountains will be looming in the distance. From the trailhead, you can make the trek up to Elizabeth falls and find some peace and serenity, and be surrounded by the Mission Mountains. You’ll need to pick up a trail permit from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, which you can do at a number of nearby stores on or near the reservation.
National Bison Range & Ninepipes NWR
Rolling Prairies with herds of elk, bison, and antelope spread across the landscape here. You can drive around the park and stop for photos, but this location doesn’t allow for much hiking or activities. Drive-up the Red Sleep Loop to get to the top and catch some dramatic views of the Missions and the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
You can also head over to Ninepipes from here for a spectacular sunset! Learn more about Ninepipes here, and more about the Bison Range here. Even if these spots aren’t where you elope in Montana, it’s worth a day trip to take it all in!
So, Where to elope in Montana?
Hopefully some of these ideas hit home for you, but if you need some more don’t hesitate to reach out! We can talk about Montana for days, and would love to help you find just where to elope in Montana!