Have you considered Eloping in Glacier National Park? Well look no further! I am going to give you a quick and easy guide for planning your Elopement in this beautiful mountain paradise. Let’s begin!
Maybe you’ve never even considered eloping in Glacier National Park and have no clue what or where this place even is! Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. The Park is approximately 40 miles northeast of Kalispell, Montana. I didn’t realize until I was there that this park is so far North that you are almost in Canada.
This park showcases melting glaciers, alpine meadows, carved valleys, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a utopia for adventurous souls! Animals that have made Glacier it’s home are grizzly bears, lynx, black bears, moose, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyotes and wolves. It is fairly common to see grizzly’s (make sure to have your bear spray!) and moose. The last time I was in Glacier, I saw both in one day. A moose actually came in from the trees and in to the water while I was taking a dip in a river along the trail! (See photo below) It was super exciting, but also pretty terrifying so I slowly got out of the water and gave it some space. Always remember leave no trace and respect wildlife, especially in National Parks.
The most convenient airport to Whitefish and Glacier National Park is the Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) located in Kalispell, MT. The airport is 30 miles from the West Entrance of Glacier National Park and 12 miles from the town of Whitefish. Some international travelers will fly into Calgary, Alberta and take the four-hour drive south to the northern regions of Glacier National Park.
Once you are in the park, it’s fairly easy to get around. If your accommodations are inside the park there is a shuttling service that runs frequently and can take you multiple stops throughout. You can find driving times and info on Glacier’s shuttling services here. The easiest and most flexible way to get around is by renting a car. You can see a ton of the park in a shorter amount of time this way!
Late June through mid-September is the best time to visit Glacier National Park. Most people want to drive the Sun Road which is only open for a short amount of time. It’s hard to determine when the sun road will open as this depends on when the snow melts. You’ll want to steer clear of visiting during the winter season when there are fewer wildlife sightings and limited accessibility. If you are open to a snowshoe or cross country ski adventure for your elopement, this might be right up your alley!
When considering any National Park or busy trail for your elopement, I recommend eloping during a weekday or during a slower season. Late spring and early fall are truly magical for a Glacier elopement! The peak season in the park is July and August and if this is your ideal window, then planning your elopement on a weekday is the way to go!
If you are considering a National Park for your elopement, it is almost 100% guaranteed you will need a permit. You will need a special permit for your ceremony and sometimes another for photography services. If you are considering Washington as well for you elopement, you can check out my Legal Guide for Washington elopements here.
The cost for a special use permit application is $100. You can contact the park service at 406-888-7832 for any additional info. If you are approved, the office will mail your documents and you will need to sign and return the forms at least 10 days before your scheduled elopement date. The rangers do have a copy of all ceremonies taking place for each day, location, and amount of people and will periodically check in or even stay near by during your ceremony. This is not something you want to risk on your big day, so this step is very important!
Click here to view a list of locations where you can acquire a special use permit for your elopement. Not only are there locations listed but it includes permit time limits, maximum guests, maximum amount of vehicles and dates these locations are available.
A few popular locations that are available are Pray Lake (my personal favorite), Bowman Lake and Sun Point
Pray Lake is easily one of the most accessible Elopement locations in Glacier National Park. Not to mention the views are stunning and some of the best in the park. The location shown in these photos is a quick 2 minute walk from the parking lot. So, if you are looking to bring a few family members and friends and not wanting to hike far, Pray Lake is my top recommendation for you.
Want to see more of this gallery? Head over to my gallery page here to see more!
There you have it! A quick an easy guide for Eloping in Glacier National Park. The next step would be to find a photographer that fits perfect for your day, And that’s where I come into play! Reach out today and we can start planning together.
You can fill out my contact form here! As a reminder, all couple’s who book with me will receive an Elopement with information just like this to help plan your dream day!
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?