Complete Guide to Planning Your Mt. Hood Elopement

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Planning to elope at Mt. Hood? From arranging your elopement permit to finding the perfect spot to stay near Mt. Hood, here’s everything you need to know to plan your Mt. Hood elopement.

Snow-capped mountain peaks. Thick, old-growth forests. Wild waterfalls. Sweeping alpine views. Mt. Hood is the classic Pacific Northwest spot, but it’s so much more than the photos suggest. This beautiful and wild landscape makes for a romantic and gorgeous MT. Hood elopement. 

Mt. Hood is more than just a national forest. In fact, the forest encompasses a significant portion of Oregon’s public lands. Mt. Hood marks the highest point in Oregon and surrounding that peak, you’ll find stunning old-growth forests, sprawling lakes, and bustling rivers. It’s more than one million acres of paradise, and it’s a breathtaking place to place your adventurous elopement. Here’s how you can get started if it all seems a little too overwhelming.

Table of Content

Where to Elope at Mt. Hood

Top 6 Best Things to Do During Your Mt. Hood Elopement

Where to Stay near Mt. Hood

Where to Eat near Mt. Hood

The Best Time of Year to Elope in Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood Permits 

How to Get Your Marriage License for Your Mt. Hood Elopement

How to Get to Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood Packages

 

Where to Elope at Mt. Hood

There are countless incredible spots within Mt. Hood National Forest that make for magical elopement destinations… It would take all day to list them all! Whether you plan to skinnydip in alpine lakes or say your vows on a summit with mountain peaks as your backdrop, there’s honestly something for everyone at Mt. Hood! 

You don’t have to be a hiker or adventure junkie to elope at Mt Hood, either. I work with all my clients to find the best fit for their elopement day needs and wants. If you don’t want to hike up remote trails, don’t worry – we can plan your dream elopement experience! Here are some of my favorite, well-known locations in the park, but there are dozens of other sites we can plan to visit together:

  • Trillium Lake: Trillium Lake is the perfect accessible spot for outdoor adventures and stunning views. The lake offers unparalleled views of Mt. Hood and trails through dense, evergreen forests. It’s also the perfect place to relax and enjoy watersports like kayaking or rafting. Full disclosure: Trillium Lake is one of the most popular spots around Mt. Hood in the summer, but we can plan a weekday, sunrise elopement to beat the crowds.

  • Lolo Pass: More serious hikers will love this secluded backcountry hike that offers some amazing 360 views of Mt. Hood. The best part? You can use this trail in the summer AND the winter.

  • Salmon River Trail: This old trail follows the Salmon River, as the name might suggest, through old growth forests. It’s the ultimate PNW vibes type of trail. If you want to make it into an overnight backpacking trip, you can extend the trail and head up the mountain.

  • Paradise Park Trailhead: This trailhead parking lot leads to Paradise Park. In fact, Paradise Park meadows is filled with wildflowers at the right time of the year, making for gorgeous photos. This area offers both forests and rivers, and gives you all those perfect lush-PNW-vibes.

  • Silcox Hut: This restored warming hut, behind Timberline Lodge, is perfect if you plan to have a small ceremony at the lodge. It’s not exactly a remote location, but it’s great if you want something more accessible and simple. Plus, there’s no hiking required, but there’s still lots of beautiful scenery nearby – the best fit if you plan to have a ceremony with family and head nearby for portraits.

Activities to Celebrate Your Mt. Hood Elopement

  • Drive the Mount Hood Scenic Loop: This river-and-mountain drive takes you through some of the most beautiful stretches in Oregon, and it’s totally worth the trip. 
  • Go whitewater rafting: Plan an exhilarating whitewater rafting tour down one of two rivers in the Mt. Hood area. There are dozens of different rafting options in the area!
  • Plan a day hike: Okay, so even if you’re planning on hiking for your elopement, you should totally set aside some time to check out more of Mt. Hood. Trillium Lake, for example, is one of many amazing spots. 
  • Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort: If you plan a winter elopement, don’t miss your opportunity to try out some of the intermediate and advanced runs at this skiing and snowboarding spot. If you want more advanced options, you can do hike-to-skiing on the Heather Canyon Super Bowl. Skiing and snowboarding fans have so many awesome options in Mt. Hood Elopement!
  • Mountain biking: Mt. Hood is a world-class destination for mountain biking, and there are many different trails, from beginner options to more challenging trails. You can also plan on taking a lift to access parts of the mountain. 

These are just a couple of the many, many fun things to do around the Mt. Hood area!

Where to Stay near Mt. Hood

There’s nothing better than finding THE perfect spot to stay with all the right vibes, an amazing view, and maybe even a hot tub? Here are some of my favorite spots in the Mt. Hood area: 

No matter where you decide to elope, we can work together to find the cutest Airbnb that checks all the boxes.

Where to Eat Near Ht. Hood

It’s so important to take the time to find an amazing place to sit down and celebrate your new union. Here are some of the tastiest restaurants, breweries, and breakfast spots near Mt. Hood: 

  • AntFarm Cafe & Bakery: This nonprofit, which serves local youth, has some incredible breakfast and light lunch options (plus: vegan biscuits!). 
  • Huckleberry Inn Cafe: This family-owned restaurant has been up-and-running for more than 50 years, and they’ve got some diner favorites (including insane milkshakes). 
  • Mt. Hood Brewing Company: This cozy brewery pairs upscale bar snacks with impressive local pours, and it’s one of the best spots nearby. 
  • Timberland Lodge: Timberland Lodge costs a bit more than most spots, but for the view, it’s totally worth it. 
  • Double Mountain Brewery: Brick oven baked pizzas and local beers make this casual spot a nice spot if you’re in the Hood River area. 
  • pFriem Family Brewers: One of Portland’s most popular breweries has landed right along Hood River’s waterfront, and they’ve got some seasonal dishes (and amazing mussels!). 

None of these sound quite right? Don’t worry, we’ll work on picking the perfect spot depending on your elopement location.

 

The Best Time of Year to Elope in Mt. Hood

Your experience at Mt. Hood will be different depending on the time of year you plan to elope. The good news is that this Oregon gem has something to offer everyone, no matter the season. It’s important to understand what to expect, weather-wise, before planning your elopement for a particular day – especially if weather is important to you! 

Winter

Mt. Hood is one of THE most gorgeous winter elopement spots in Oregon! From December to March, you can enjoy some of those magical “winter wonderland” vibes with plenty of powdery white snow. Even if some of the trails are blocked off due to weather, you can still access many of them by snowshoe. 

The biggest consideration? There’s a decent amount of fog during the winter, which really hampers your ability to take in some of the park’s best views. If views are important to you, I’d pick another season. 

Spring 

The seasons are a little different at Mt. Hood, and spring isn’t the blossoming moment that all my clients expect it to be. For many Mt. Hood elopement destinations, spring brings lots of showers – and lots and lots of mud. If you’re not worried about rain, then you’ll find Mt. Hood can be quite empty. It’s also peak season for dramatic rivers and waterfalls, which flow freely thanks to the melting snow. 

Summer

Summer is the best season to visit Mt. Hood, hands down. During the summer, Mt. Hood comes alive and it’s honestly a fairytale destination to visit. From swimming in lakes to hiking to higher elevations, pretty much nothing is out of reach. 

Unfortunately, summer is also the most crowded time to visit the park. But don’t worry: to avoid crowds, I generally recommend sunrise elopements and weekday elopements. We can also plan to elope at a location hidden from the crowds. 

Fall

Autumn is the perfect time of year to elope if you love outdoor activities and a little more privacy. Though fall is a shoulder season in the forest, you’ll find the trails are still pretty dry and fewer people crowd the park. The evenings will slowly get cooler the closer you get to winter, so if you don’t want to risk snow – or too much rain – you might want to consider eloping in September or October.

Mt. Hood Elopement Permits

The permit process can be tricky, but there’s good news if you plan to elope at Mt. Hood: the permitting process is pretty straightforward at Mt. Hood National Forest, and most weddings will require a permit. 

For an elopement, we’ll need a single Special Use permit, which is free of charge. You can reach more about the Special Use permitting process here. The permit may seem like extra paperwork for nothing, but it actually guarantees that your elopement won’t be disrupted by other scheduled events. Plus, in my experience, the forest service will provide additional advice about their favorite spots to get married on your specific dates.

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How to Get Your Marriage License for Your Elopement

If you plan to get legally married in Oregon, you can get your marriage license at any issuing county office. Your marriage license will be valid for any location in the state. You may need to book an appointment in advance. Read more about it here. No matter where you plan to get your marriage license, remember to give yourself a little extra time to get your license prior to your ceremony date. 

How to Get to Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood is a two-hour drive from Portland, and I’d recommend renting a car for the ultimate elopement adventure. If you do plan to drive, you can take  Interstate 84 through the Columbia River Gorge or Highway 26, which is part of the Mount Hood Scenic Byway. Either way, you’re guaranteed an incredible adventure!

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Contact me here to find out more about my MT. Hood Elopement availability & pricing.
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