Elopements are a thrilling experience. Your wedding location can be just like the one you’ve dreamed of! Glacier National Park is one of those amazing locations that looks like something out of another world. It’s a “heaven on earth” kind of place where you fall in love with the location instantly. The snow-capped mountains, lush green valleys, & clear, blue waters make for some amazing sights. If you’re eloping in Glacier National Park, follow these guidelines for permits, weather, safety, & location ideas for an elopement in Montana.
Wedding permits for Glacier National Park
If you want to elope & marry in Glacier National Park, you need to have a special use permit. I suggest starting the permitting process at least 30 days before your date but the sooner the better. You can contact the park office before submitting your application to inquire about availability for your date or location. The park office can be contacted at 406-888-7832. The application for a special use permit form is to be completed in full and returned. The application for this special use permit form costs $100.
Your permit will serve as documentation of the agreement regarding the terms & conditions under which use of the park will be approved. The park office will mail you when they approve your request. You need to sign & return the permit to the park at least 10 business days before the wedding takes place.
I highly recommend getting married on a weekday at sunrise or sunset. There are not a lot of tourists on weekdays, thus leaving enough space for you to explore, have some private time, & take awesome photos. Morning and evening are the two best times of the day to elope. The natural light is just magical during these times. It not only is it a great time of day for photos but it is so romantic! Being able to watch the sun rise or sleet is definitely worth rising early or staying up a little later, it just adds a little something special to an already special day.
Times of year for the best weather conditions
There is always a possibility of unforeseen weather conditions during the wedding. The weather comes fast through those mountains! If you want the best weather, I recommend that you get married at any time during July or August. These months experience the best weather conditions in Glacier National Park. The daylight seems like it is almost never ending. Additionally, there is a minimal chance of rain during this time. I would also say that May & June can also be good times to elope in Glacier National Park because the mountains are full of flowers with greenery all around. I do have to say though, the Going to the Sun Road Usually isn’t open until July.
September and October are also options, but there is a better chance of rain, or even snow in the high country. However, you will also be able experience the beautiful hues of the fall during this time. Winter is also beautiful but very cold. A winter elopement can be had in the park, you’ll just need to take other factors into consideration.
Safety in Glacier National Park
Glacier is true wilderness country & should be treated as such. Bears are very common in the park. Black bears are usually nothing to be worried about but grizzly bears can pose more of a threat. If you’ve never been in bear country before, it really isn’t anything to fear, there are just certain precautions you should take. You never want to leave food unattended. Always make sure someone in the group is carrying bear spray & knows how to use it. Just being aware of your surroundings & traveling in a small group will usually be enough. Read more about bear safety on the GNP website.
You also have to be aware of other animals, many times it’s not the bears that are aggressive. Many times the large herbivores can get aggressive. Part of leave no trace & elopements is giving animals their space. It protects both you & them. You also want to keep in mind that the weather comes fast & hard in the mountains. Be prepared for anything. I give my couples an elopement gear guide to help with what to wear during your elopement, keeping warm, dealing with rain, & specific links to some of my favorite products.
Best elopement locations in Glacier National Park
Montana is home to some of the most beautiful locations that you could have your wedding at. Eloping in Glacier is a dream for many couples & I’m here to help you plan & make that dream a reality! You need to choose a location where you so can organize everything properly & fill out your special use permit for eloping in Glacier National Park. Here are some of the best wedding locations in Glacier National Park in Montana.
sunrise at Hidden Lake at Logan Pass
With lush green valleys & mountains in the background, I would highly recommend this place for your wedding ceremony or just to explore. There is an amazing array of wildflowers if you go at the right time of year. And the streams & waterfalls make this place magical. It experiences high demand during July & August & is usually best experienced at sunrise or sunset if you want more privacy. If you’re having guests, you can arrange a Glacier Jammer Bus to take your guests to the top of Logan Pass. This location is ideal for some of the most beautiful wedding photos & breathtaking views.
Grinnell Lake in Many Glacier
Many Glacier has many jaw-dropping mountains & gorgeous, blue alpine lakes. In July and August, you can experience lush green mountains with sometimes still a bit of snow on the peaks. The beautiful fields full of white flowers provide a beautiful contrast to the green surroundings. You can also rent a canoe & take it out in the lake. Many Glacier is the area where I tend to see the most wildlife, especially black & grizzly bears along with moose. Last time I was there, I saw 9 grizzly bears in just 1 hour! Certain parts of Many Glacier close during portions of the year due to heavy bear activity.
misty morning at Lake McDonald in West Glacier
Lake McDonald is easier to access than the two above locations & can be accessed even in bad weather conditions. The pristine waters of the lake, colorful rocks along the shore, & the magical sunsets & sunrises make it such a dreamy location for weddings. You can find several suitable spots on the shore for your wedding ceremony. Lake McDonald is a more accessible location for eloping in Glacier National Park & has more access for more guests, if needed.
Polebridge & Northfork
The Polebridge & North Fork areas have more of the rocky & jagged peaks. It has many rocky peaks after traveling along dirt roads. This location is rather calm & quiet & doesn’t attract a lot of the crowds you find in other areas. If you plan your wedding here, be sure take a trip to the Polebridge Mercantile’s Huckleberry Bear Claws. It is one of my favorite places in Glacier National Park.
West Glacier is known for it’s lush greenery & temperate rain forests. The ground here is covered in beautiful mosses that create a massive carpet over the forest floor. West Glacier encompasses many areas such as Lake McDonald.
With the locations surrounded by massive peaks, waterfalls, & lakes, it provides the perfect combination of all the colors in the fall. It is a very pretty place for wedding ceremonies but can be windy at times. West Glacier has a lot more greenery, mosses, & wetlands whereas East Glacier is drier. East Glacier has more open spaces & grassland areas along with expansive lakes.
sunset at Two Medicine Lake
Two Medicine has become a somewhat off the beaten path discovery for most visitors to Glacier National Park. Once many people discover this little hidden gem, it’s easy to see why it becomes a favorite! There are amazing views of the mountains right as you drive in towards the lakes, endless hiking trails to take you far away, & many waterfalls throughout the area. You could even take a relaxing boar tour on the lake!
With so many locations, it can be hard to choose the one that you love the most for eloping in Glacier National Park! As an elopement photographer I offer my couples guidance & planning services along with photography. I can help you decide where, what time of year, & what time of day would be best for your needs. I hope my recommendations can help you plan an incredible wedding in Glacier National Park! Check out my blog for more elopement planning tips.