In Montana’s Rocky Mountains, you’ll find a wild, remote place with glacier carved peaks and valleys, stunning blue lakes, and diverse wildlife – Glacier National Park! For couples whose love story is better reflected in the mountains than in a venue, who want a wedding day that’s a little outside the box, who want to get married in a way that just feels right, a Glacier National Park elopement might be the perfect way to begin your marriage.
This guide will tell you all about getting married in Glacier National Park – and everything you need to know to plan the elopement day of your dreams!
About Glacier National Park
You know that the scenery in Glacier National Park is pretty jaw dropping – but did you know that it was founded as the world’s first international peace park? Glacier is in Montana, and sits on the border of Canada and the US. On the other side of the border is Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, and together the two parks were called the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, and they were established to celebrate peace, friendship, and unity between the two countries. That’s a pretty cute origin story – and a great symbolic location for the two of you to tie the knot!
Here are some other things to know about getting married in Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park Weather Can be Extreme
Glacier sits along the Continental Divide – which is a mountainous region that separates watersheds that drain into the Pacific from those that lead to the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. The clash in Pacific and Arctic air creates some harsh weather, which means Glacier’s weather can be unpredictable!
The best weather is in July and August, and every other time of year there’s lots of snow covering Glacier National Park! Keep in mind that no matter when you plan to tie the knot, it’s best to be prepared for sudden chills – especially if you’re gaining a lot of elevation on a hike or scenic drive. Eloping in early summer or early fall can help you avoid crowds, while still having a good chance of favorable weather.
Wildlife in Glacier National Park
Something that even experienced outdoor explorers might not be prepared for in Montana is the potential for wildlife sightings! Glacier is home to both grizzly and black bears, mountain goats, moose, and other wildlife. As part of Leave No Trace principles, it’s important to give wildlife their space and respect that this is their home. This keeps them safe, and it keeps you safe!
Encounters with mountain goats are very common in the national park – there are several trails where they often hang out! No matter how chill they seem, give them at least 75 feet of space – they may be used to people being out and about, but are still wild animals with huge horns.
Bear sightings are less common, but if you spot one, stay at least 300 feet away. Black bears venture out more often, and are usually harmless – they’ll likely go away if they see or hear you. Respect the wildlife and keep your distance, and make noise if you’re hiking in the backcountry to warn the bears to stay away! You’ll see a lot of signs recommending bear spray, so be sure to have a bottle handy incase of an encounter.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is Glacier National Park’s most well known attraction. It’s a scenic drive through the park, offering 55 miles of insane views. It’s a two lane road that often goes along the cliffside, so be prepared if you’re weary of heights! Just driving down the road is an incredible experience, but you can get out and experience the sweeping vistas of Glacier National Park.
The Best Places to Elope in Glacier National Park
One of the first things you’ll need to do is decide on an elopement location! The park has several pre-approved locations where you can have your ceremony, so you will need to choose one from the list.
You will also need a wedding permit to get married at Glacier, which can be found here, along with the most up to date list of pre approved locations. You can apply for the permit within one year, but no less than one month before your ceremony, and the application fee is $125.
Don’t worry, we can go explore and take photos in the other spots too, but for your ceremony, these are your options!
The Lake McDonald district is the most frequently visited region of the park, as it’s close to the west entrance.
These are the places to elope in Glacier National Park’s Lake McDonald, with maximum occupancy for each location.
- Apgar Amphitheater – 30
- Apgar Picnic Area – 15
- Fish Creek Amphitheater – 30
- Fish Creek Picnic Area – 15
- Avalanche Amphitheater – 30
- Avalanche Picnic Area – 15
- 7 Mile Pullout (Sandy Point) – 15
- 10 Mile Pullout (Jackson Bay) – 15
- Sprague Picnic Area – 15
- Lake McDonald Lodge Beach – 15
- Ryan Meadow – 15
- Big Bend – 15
The North Fork area of Glacier National Park is less traveled, with more dirt roads and remote spots to explore.
These are the places to elope in this northwest corner of Glacier National Park, with maximum occupancy for each location.
- Juniper River Access – 12
- Bowman Lake – 12
- Kintla Lake – 8
The Two Medicine Valley is in the southeast, and is one of the less popular areas in the park because it isn’t directly accessible from Going-to-the-Sun Road. It features lakes, waterfalls, and gorgeous scenery!
These are the places to elope in the Two Medicine District of Glacier National Park, with maximum occupancy for each location.
- Running Eagle Falls – 12
- Pray Lake – 30
- Two Medicine Campground Site – 12
- Two Medicine Campground AMphitheater – 30
- Two Medicine Picnic Area – 12
- Walton Picnic Area – 15
St. Mary is the east entrance to Glacier National Park, and offers lodging, food, and other amenities.
These are the places to elope near St. Mary, with maximum occupancy for each location.
- St. Mary Amphitheater – 30
- Rising Sun Amphitheater – 30
- St. Mary Lake Shoreline – 20
- Sun Point – 12
- 1913 Ranger Station – 20
- Wild Goose Island Pullout – 6
- Cutbank – 12
- Red Eagle Trailhead – 12
Many Glacier is located in the east side of the park, north of Going-to-the-Sun Road. There are tons of hiking trails around, and it’s one of the best places to see the wildlife.
These are the places to elope in the Many Glacier area of the park, with maximum occupancy for each location.
- Josephine Lake Shore – 20
- Many Glacier Hotel Beach – 15
- Many Glacier Hotel Green – 15
- Many Glacier Hotel Southwest Beach – 15
- Hotel Deck – 10
- Many Glacier Amphitheater – 20
Wedding ceremonies are not allowed at Logan Pass – but I wanted to mention it anyway, as it’s the last area in the park, and one of the most scenic! It’s the highest elevation reachable by car, and offers incredible trails. Mountain goats are often spotted here!
Getting Legally Married in Glacier National Park
To get legally married during your Glacier National Park elopement, you’ll need to get a marriage license! You can get one for $53 at any county clerk’s office in Montana, and you can submit an application online, but you’ll have to go to the office in person to sign the application and pick up your marriage license. There’s no waiting period, and the marriage license expires after 180 days.
An officiant and two witnesses will need to sign the paperwork before you send it back!
Glacier National Park Elopement Packages
If you’re ready to elope in Glacier National Park, I’m ready to help you plan! As an elopement photographer, my job is to help couples find the best spots, navigate permit rules, and plan a day that they’ll remember forever.
Contact me to plan your adventurous Glacier National Park elopement!