A breathtaking North Cascades Elopement at a Washington fire lookout

Sunset Washington elopement

Why you should consider a North Cascades Elopement at Winchester Mountain fire lookout! I don’t think you’re ready for this!

If you’re reading this, you might be looking for an elopement location in Washington state because you know how truly picturesque it is. And if you don’t, prepare to be amazed with this incredible North Cascades Elopement at Winchester Mountain fire lookout!

Elopements in Washington are truly special. Not only are the views absolutely stunning, but the access to these majestic places is incredible. While some locations do require a little bit more hiking, this hike at Winchester mountain trailhead is approachable for any couple. In the blog, I am going to walk you through how to have an unforgettable North Cascades elopement at this unique and intimate location.

Let’s get into it!

Kirsten and RJ had their perfect July elopement in Washington- no frills, just perfect mountain views and each other’s company. We headed to the trailhead around 4pm from Deming Washington. Deming Washington is a great place to stay before your elopement. It’s considered a ski town because of how close it is to Mount Baker, so there are a considerable amount of cute cabins for you to chose from.

The ONE and only thing that makes Winchester mountain a little bit tough is the road up there. It is a 6.5 mile unmaintained forest road and does require a high clearance vehicle or 4×4. As long as you take it slow, it’s smooth sailing. K + R eloped on a Monday, so traffic was minimal and there was plenty of room a that Winchester Mountain trailhead.

The hike is about 3.5 miles round trip and about 1200 feet of gain. Because it’s a shorter hike, you can really take your time getting up there. I’ve seen couple’s wearing their wedding attire up this entire hike and it was a breeze for them! You will see some incredible views on your way up and while it’s super hard to not stop every 5 seconds, just remember you’ll be rewarded with some of the most amazing views you’ve ever seen at the top!

RJ had brought his own film camera and took tons of photos along the way. I love when couple’s enjoy the full experience and make it their own. If that means taking your own personal photos with film, I am all for it!

Getting Ready

Kirsten and RJ decided not to hike in their wedding attire, so they got ready together at the fire lookout. Surprisingly, you can actually stay in the fire lookout, but it is first come first serve so arriving early is key. Since there was already someone staying there, so we opted for a few quick getting ready photos outside of the lookout.

What makes this space great for getting ready is that if weather isn’t the best or a few rain clouds roll in, you have some shelter to hunker down and stay dry. If you decide to elope in July or August, the chances of this happening are slim, but it’s good to know just incase! Also, this would equally be an incredible location for a sunrise elopement.

Picture this: You hike up in the afternoon and reserve the Winchester fire lookout. You have a full day enjoying all the views, make dinner, play some games and get cozy while enjoying sunset. Then, you wake up the morning, get ready and begin your elopement ceremony as the sun is rising over the peaks. You say your I do’s, celebrate and maybe even enjoy a nice mini breakfast back in the fire lookout! This North Cascades elopement location has it all!

Saying “I DO” for your North Cascades Elopement!

Elopements are all about intimacy and closeness. Winchester Mountain Trail is less crowded compared to popular wedding venues, allowing you and your partner to have a private and personal moment together. Not only were Kirsten and RJ pretty much alone for their North Cascades elopement, but there were so many draw dropping ceremony locations to chose from. Even if we were met with other hikers, there is enough space to go around for everyone. don’t know about you, but these views gave me Italian Dolomites vibes when I first arrived!

Mountains often symbolize strength, stability, and the ability to overcome obstacles. Choosing a mountainous location like Winchester Mountain Trail can represent the strength of your commitment and the heights your love can reach.

Why you should consider your North Cascades Elopement at Sunset

An elopement in the mountains at sunset offers a chance to celebrate your love in a genuine and meaningful way, surrounded by the wonders of nature and the simplicity of togetherness. Eloping at sunset provides the soft, natural light enhancing the mountain landscape giving your photos so much variety in tone and emotion. In this thread of photos from R+K’s North Cascades elopement, you can see how the session started bright and punchy and ends with an intimate, deep and moody feel.

If you time your hiking elopement just right and head out on a clear day, you might even see a full moon. And if not a full moon, then definitely a sky full of stars! This could be a great opportunity for star photos with lanterns if you decide to hang out a little longer.

Ready to start planning your North Cascades elopement?

Okay, so I am thinking you may want to elope here after seeing this gorgeous location? Let’s start with a few simple steps on how to elope here at the Winchester Mountain fire lookout.

Step One: Research and Permits:

Start by researching the location and understanding any permits or regulations required for elopements at the Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout. Check with the managing agency, such as the U.S. Forest Service, to see if there are any restrictions or permits needed for a wedding ceremony. Winchester Mountain fire lookout is first come, first serve to reserve the location. As far as permits go, I assist all my couple’s in making sure this one is squared away

Step Two: Get a marriage license

It’s important to make sure you get your marriage license before you elope! Not sure how to get a marriage in Washington state? No problem! I have a blog that will walk you through step by step. Click here!

Looking for an officiant? I am legally ordained in Washington state!

Step Three: Choose a date and time

Decide on the date and time for your elopement. Consider choosing a date during the warmer months when the weather is more predictable and the trail is accessible. This is typically July-September when there is little snow left and more clear, sunny days.

If you decide on a September elopement, there is a very high chance you see the most amazing fall colors! It’s a little cooler during this month and rain is known to set in, but the fall colors are truly unmatched!

Step four: Plan your hike

The Winchester Mountain Fire Lookout is accessible via the Winchester Mountain Trail at twin lakes, which is approximately 3.5 miles roundtrip. Prepare for the hike by checking trail conditions, packing suitable gear, and allowing ample time to reach the lookout. I highly suggest downloading the map on AllTrails, as there is no service at the trailhead. Not sure how to prepare hiking wise for your elopement? I’ve got you! Check the blog post on how to prepare for hiking or backpacking elopement!

Step five: Book your photographer (Hi!)

It’s important to book a photographer who knows your elopement location well and can give you recommendations and planning info. I’ve put together a 60 page elopement planning guide to help all of my couple’s with their elopement planning. Not only is this helpful in planning, but it helps keep you organized and I will be checking in frequently to make sure we have everything squared away before the big day. If you are curious about what is in my elopement, you can check out a preview here.

I hope by now you have a few new ideas and some inspiration about how to plan your North Cascades elopement at Winchester Mountain fire lookout! It’s truly an incredible location for a mountain elopement in Washington and I know your day will be as dreamy as this one!

Jackie Krueger Photo | Washington + Vegas Elopement Photographer

Fire lookouts are a great option for a full day or overnight 2-day elopement where you can elope at sunset, camp in the lookout and then have a sunrise session in the morning just you and your boo! If you are ready to adventure at this beautiful place for elopement in Washington, I’m your girl! Contact me here!

August 5, 2023

Written By:

Meet Jackie Krueger Photo | Your van-living, adventure-seeking, outdoor-living, Las Vegas + PNW elopement photographer. Documenting moments you can feel. Let's plan up something amazing and authentically YOU!






August 5, 2023

Written By: 

Jackie Krueger Photo- A Las Vegas + PNW Elopement and Wedding Photographer. Documenting every couple's unique love story and true authentic selves here, there and everywhere in between. Where will your GRAND adventure take you?






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