• Fifty Miles West

Winter Elopements: US National Parks

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

How to elope in the winter, useful tips, pros and cons, ideas and inspiration.


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There are countless reasons why you are thinking about eloping in the winter. Maybe you prefer the bitter cold and the romance of snow; maybe you’re not fond of beaches; maybe you don’t have enough time during the busy summer months; or maybe you want to have an elopement wedding during the Christmas season or on Valentine’s Day. Whatever your personal reason, when it comes to eloping in the cold and snowy months of winter you have couple options


Winter elopement

First off, you can elope in the traditional winter setting. This means snow, Christmas trees, romantic frozen waterfalls, all the skiing you can handle, and hot wine or cacao next to fireplace. For this type of traditional snow-seasoned elopement you may want to consider going somewhere like Sweden elopement, Austria elopement, Iceland elopement, or the northern United States. These places offer a truly beautiful winter setting for your elopement or intimate wedding.


On the flip side, you can choose a warm and sunny climate, somewhere like Thailand elopement, Hawaii elopement, or Mexico elopement for your elopement wedding. Escape the gloom and the cold and seek fun in the sun while you tie the knot!


Or you can choose something in between like Pacific North West and experienced mild winter temperature, moody and dramatic ocean shore and romantic evenings with your significant other in a small cabins with an outdoor hot tub.


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Right now we are going to focus on the ten best national parks in the United States to have a festive winter elopement wedding. If you like snowy trees, craggy mountains, snowmobiling, skiing, and quaint cabins with gentle hearths and hot coco, this list is for you.

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Keep in mind that if you are planning an elopement wedding during the winter in one of these fabulous national parks, you need to plan ahead.



Dress accordingly, check the snow forecast, make sure there are no road closures, and come prepared with emergency supplies if you are going to be hiking in the snow or on the mountainside.

That means proper footwear, warm clothing, and some emergency safety gear like a heat blanket or flares. Some of the parks are big and you don’t want to get lost when it’s below freezing outside!

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The United States has some of the best national parks in the world.


How to Elope in US National Parks

Enjoy the peaceful calm of winter, the crisp mountain air, and waking up to a layer of permafrost on the lawn of your cottage or cabin. Do you know best part about elope in National Parks in winter? It's almost empty! First up on the list is…


Yosemite National Park:

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite is one of those places that is always beautiful in the winter. Some of the roads in Yosemite will close during the cold season, but most are plowed and you won’t have any problems with an all-wheel-drive or a 4x4 vehicle.

Badge Pass Ski Area is a great place to relax and do some skiing after your wedding. There are also many trails for snowshoeing or hiking. You can expect heavy snow, iced waterfalls, and streams and rivers that are frozen over.


If you planning to stay in Yosemite for couple days before or after your elopement this is some ideas for your activities.


Closest Airport:

  • Mammoth Yosemite Airport (MMH) 42 miles.

  • Fresno-Yosemite International (FAT) 64.8 miles.

  • Merced Airport (MCE) 71.4 miles.

  • Oakland International (OAK) 150.3 miles.

  • San Francisco International (SFO) 169.2 miles.

  • San José International (SJC) 187.5 miles.

Weather:

Temperatures in Yosemite NP in winter range from 10°F to 41°F (-12°C to 5°C) throughout the day.


What to do in Yosemite NP in winter:

  • Downhill Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding

  • Ice Skating

  • Cross-Country Skiing

  • Snowshoeing

  • Sledding and Snow Tubing

  • Winter Camping

Where to stay in Yosemite for winter elopement:

  • Towns like Mariposa, Fish Camp and Groveland, which is next to Yosemite have many hotels, AB&B and vacation rentals.

  • The Ahwahnee - most famous hotel in Yosemite, must be booked well in advance.

  • Yosemite Valley Lodge

  • Curry Village

  • White Wolf Lodge

  • Glacier Point Ski Hut

  • Tuolumne Meadows Lodge

  • Tioga Logs Inside Yosemite (AirB&B)

Yellowstone National Park:

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone offers one of the most iconic landscapes in the United States of America. An elopement or wedding here in the wintertime will yield huge wildlife experiences. You may see wolves, moose, elk, and even packs of bison with snow in their fur. An elopement in Yellowstone National Park is a wintertime wonderland and a wintertime safari! Most roads in winter time are close to regular traffic. This means the only way to visit Yellowstone's well-known place during winter is by guided snowmobile or snowcoach.


Closest Airport:

  • Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) 332 miles from the west entrance

  • Billings, MT (BIZ) 120 miles to the northeast entrance

  • Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, WY (COD) 50 miles down highway 20 from the east entrance of the park

  • Jackson Hole Airport in Jackson, WY (JAC) 60 miles from the south entrance and is located inside Grand Teton National Park

  • Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, MT (BZN) 135 miles from the entrance

Weather:


Temperatures in Yellowstone NP in winter range from zero to 20°F (-20°C to -5°C) throughout the day. Sub-zero temperatures are common at night and at higher elevations.


What to do in Yellowstone NP in winter:

  • Snowmobile

  • Cross-Country Skiing

  • Snowshoeing

Where to stay in Yosemite for winter elopement:


Bryce Canyon National Park:

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon is one of the most contrasting scenic national parks in America where you can hold your elopement. In the wintertime you will find Bryce Canyon’s famous red rock spires and crags dusted with snow, resulting in a striking image of white and red with an infinite blue sky. This is a great place to elope if you want to gaze at the stars and hike among the wilderness. Just be careful, as it can be treacherous straying too far into the canyon with all the ice and snow.

Closest Airport:

  • Salt Lake City (SLC) 273 miles from Bryce Canyon NP

  • Las Vegas (LAS) 270 miles from Bryce Canyon NP

Weather:


Temperatures in Bryce Canyon NP in winter range from 11°F to 38°F (-11°C to 3°C) throughout the day.


What to do in Bryce Canyon NP in winter:

  • Sledding

  • Cross-Country Skiing

  • Snowshoeing

  • Winter Astronomy

Where to stay in Bryce Canyon for winter elopement:



Arches National Park:

Arch National Park

Even though this is a beautiful snowy tundra in the winter with stunning sunsets and unreal vantages where you can tie the knot and have a gorgeous twilight wedding, the temperatures in Arches National Park can plummet dramatically in January and February. The trails here can become clogged with snow, so be sure to check the local reports before venturing into the wilderness.


Closest Airport:

  • Salt Lake City (SLC) 235 miles from Arch NP

  • Las Vegas (LAS) 453 miles from Arch NP

Weather:

Temperatures in Arches NP in winter range from 0°F to 49°F (-17°C to 9°C) throughout the day. Though large snowfalls are uncommon, even small amounts of snow or ice can make local trails and roads impassable.


What to do in Arches NP in winter:

  • Hiking ( most hikes remain open all year around)

  • Camping. Devils Garden Campground is open year-round.

  • Stargazing

Where to stay in Arches NP for winter elopement:


Zion National Park:

Zion National Park

Zion is one of the warmer national parks in the winter. There is also a lot of rain in this park, so be sure to pack a rain jacket just in case. Still, this is a marvelous park for an elopement in the winter. There are very few people in the park and daytime temperatures are usually ideal. The views of the red rock canyons and deep, winding valleys is like nowhere else. The snow is minimal, more like a sprinkle of white overtop the rocks and peaks.


The Zion Park shuttle does not operate during winter. Visitors are allowed to drive their cars into Zion Canyon.


Zion National Park

Closest Airport:

  • Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) 311 miles from Zion NP

  • Las Vegas (LAS) 170 miles from Zion NP

Weather:


Temperatures in Zion NP in winter range from 25°F to 48°F (-3°C to -8°C) throughout the day.


What to do in Zion NP in winter:

  • Sightseeing

  • Cross-Country Skiing

  • Hiking

  • Camping

  • Wildlife watching

Where to stay in Zion NP for winter elopement:



Grand Teton National Park:

Grand Teton

The winters in Grand Teton are very long, stretching from early November to late in May. This is a beautiful place to hold your elopement, just be warned of the cold. Between winter storms the days are sunny and the nights are frigid. If you can brave the elements, try having the ceremony on the banks of one of the chilly rivers with the yellow winter sun hanging over Grand Teton’s mountainous horizon.


Closest Airport:

  • Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) 286 miles.

  • Billings, MT (BIZ) 233 miles.

  • Yellowstone Regional Airport in Cody, WY (COD) 129 miles

  • Jackson Hole Airport in Jackson, WY (JAC) is located inside Grand Teton National Park

  • Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, MT (BZN) 166 miles

Weather:


Temperatures in Grand Teton NP in winter range from 1 to 26°F (-17°C to -3°C) throughout the day.


What to do in Grand Teton NP in winter:

  • Snowmobile

  • Cross-Country Skiing

  • Snowshoeing

Where to stay in Yosemite for winter elopement:


Olympic National Park:


Olympic National Park is a rich winter playground where skiing enthusiasts and mountain lovers go to spend weekends exploring the park’s many peaks and trails. You can have your elopement on the long slope of one of the mountains, nothing but alpine forest flowing like a green and white ocean below you. Olympic National Park also features oceans and brisk beaches. If you go to the mountains in the winter, be safe and stay informed about any possible avalanches.


Closest Airport:

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) 146 miles.

  • Victoria International Airport (YYJ) is the nearest Canadian commercial airport to Olympic National Park. It's about a 42-mile/2.5-hour drive from the airport to the Port Angeles/Hurricane Ridge park entrance  including ferry ride from Victoria to Port Angeles.

Weather:

Temperatures in Hurricane Ridge winter range from 17 to 27°F (-8°C to -3°C)

Annually, the rain forests and coast average 140-100 inches of rain. Most of this rain falls between the months of November- April. In these low elevations, temperatures are cool to mild, but can occasionally drop below freezing.

What to do in Olympic NP in winter:


Hurricane Ridge: is is Olympic's alpine destination in winterand focal point for snow and winter recreation

  • Snowboarding

  • Snowshoeing

  • Cross-country skiing

  • Downhill skiing

  • Tubing

Pacific Coast: coastal beaches are relatively snow-free and is the perfect place for storm watching in winter.

Olympic National Park

Rain Forest: Winter is the wet season and the rain forest radiates in deep, healthy greens. Be prepared to get wet though, the rain forests get an average of 12 feet of rain per year.

Olympic National Park

Where to stay in Olympic NP for winter elopement:


Crater Lake National Park:

Crater Lake Oregon

Crater Lake comes alive during winter. This spectacular region near the Pacific Ocean gets a whopping 44+ feet of snow every year. You are guaranteed to have a beautiful elopement or intimate wedding here with pictures that look like something from a winter fairy tale. Even though there is a lot of snow, this national park does not get extremely cold.


Closest Airport to Crater Lake National Park:

  • Medford, OR (MFR) 64 miles

  • Eugene, Oregon (EUG) 136 miles

  • Bend, Oregon (BDN) 98 miles

  • Portland, Oregon (PDX) 244 miles

Weather:


Temperatures in Crater Lake NP in winter range from 22°F to 38°F (-5°C to 3°C) throughout the day.


What to do in Crater Lake NP in winter:

  • Sightseeing

  • Hiking

  • Camping (Backcountry camping along the rim is allowed with a valid permit)

  • Snowboarding

  • Snowshoeing

  • Cross-country skiing

  • Downhill skiing

  • Snowmobiling

Where to stay in Crater Lake NP for winter elopement:


There are no lodges, campgrounds, or gas stations open in the park from mid-October to late May. Below is a list of the nearest accom­ modations outside the park that are open year-round. More options can be found in Shady Cove (55 miles from Park Headquarters), Klamath Falls (57 miles), Chemult (71 miles), and other cities in southern Oregon.


Denali National Park:

Denali National Park

This Alaskan wilderness is spectacular. If you are flying for your winter elopement, consider the extra few hours to reach Alaska and spend your magical wedding day in this very special national park. Snow can be found from August to June, with temperatures rarely getting too high. If you and your partner want peace, solitude, and a connection to nature during your elopement getaway, choose Denali National Park.


Closest Airport:

  • Fairbanks International Airport(FAI) located 125 miles northeast of the national park

  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport(ANK), about 245 miles south of Denali.


Weather:


Temperatures in Denali NP in winter range from -40°F to 20°F (-40°C to -6°C).

What to do in Denali NP in winter:

  • Cross-Country Skiing

  • Snowshoeing

  • Dog Sledding

  • Aurora viewing

  • Winter Camping

  • Snowmobile

Where to stay in Mt.Rainer NP for winter elopement:


Mt. Rainer National Park:

Mt. Rainer National Park

This is America’s most snowy national park, holding the world record for the highest annual snowfall of 93.5 feet. That’s enough to bury your house! Adventure couples will love this sprawling national park, complete with glaciers, steep mountaintops, ski resorts, cabin rentals, and camping arrangements. This is absolute paradise for adventure elopers to experience the best winter of their lives. Your wedding will be remarkable!


Closest Airport:

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) 53 miles.

  • Portland International Airport (PDX) 138 miles.

Weather:


Temperatures in Mt.Rainer NP in winter range from 11°F to 26°F (-11°C to -3°C).


What to do in Mt.Rainer NP in winter:

  • Snowmobile

  • Cross-Country Skiing

  • Snowshoeing

  • Watch Elk & Big Horn Sheep Feeding

  • Skiing: Crystal Mountain is a world class ski resort, rated by SKIING magazine as the #7 ski resort in North America.

  • Ride Cristal Mt.Rainer gondola: Skiers, riders, and foot passengers can all take a ride to the Crystal Mountain summit for captivating mountain views.


Where to stay in Mt.Rainer NP for winter elopement:


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