crater lake elopement

Considering having a Crater Lake Elopement? This post will go over how to elope in Crater Lake, Crater Lake elopement locations, activity ideas, as well as frequently asked questions. This breathtaking location is a beautiful and unique place to tie the knot. Read on to find out how to elope at Crater Lake

Where is Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is a National Park located in Southern Oregon. It is surrounded by the beautiful Umpqua National Forest. Crater lake was formed by a collapsed volcano, and is the deepest lake in the United States. This part of Oregon is filled with dense forest, rivers, waterfalls, and natural hot springs. These beautiful landscapes are a huge reason as to why couple choose to have a Crater Lake elopement

How to Get to Crater Lake National Park

There are a few ways to get to Crater Lake National Park. If you want to fly into an international airport, you can fly in Portland. The drive from here would be six hours. If you want a shorter drive, you can fly into the Redmond airport. This leaves you with an hour and a half drive. Finally, you can also fly into the medford airport, with the shortest drive of two and a half hours.

When to Elope in Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is open year round, although a lot of trails and locations are inaccessible due to weather. Late spring and early fall are great options to avoid heavy tourism, and still enjoy the whole park being open. Summer is the busiest time of the year, although there’s beautiful weather and the most to do. Here is where you can find information and closures! This will help you determine when to have your Crater Lake elopement.

crater lake

How to Elope in Crater Lake

You plan a Crater Lake elopement in similar ways as you’d plan any adventure elopement. There are a few major steps, and you can read about those here on my thorough guide on how to elope. For this Crater Lake elopement guide, I’m going over the major things you’ll need to consider!


This is an imperative part of the planning process for elopements. This is because some guests won’t have the hiking ability, some might not want to drive or forest roads, and others will be apt to altitude sickness. Choosing a location will be much easier once you’ve determine who you’re inviting, and how many guests total you’ll have.


This might feel early in the planning process, but bear with me. Elopements don’t have wedding planners. Most elopement photographers have taken it upon themselves to help couples with some of the planning. Many actually help you find your location! And they will think of things you might not have considered, such as: lighting, elevation, difficulty in hiking in a dress, permits, and so much more.

Each elopement photographer offers something different. Personally, I send my couples a customized list of locations based on their preferences, hiking ability, who they want to invite, and what they want to see. I also help them determine lodging options, get permits, get their marriage license, recommend vendors, and create a comprehensive day of timeline, and offer unlimited guidance calls for any questions along the way.

The being said, hiring your Crater Lake elopement photographer early is going to take a massive amount of planning stress off of your shoulders. Wanna chat? Contact me here!


This is going to help you choose a date and location. There are rainy seasons, dry seasons, and even seasons that you THINK would be warm, but can still be snowy and cold in the mountains. So, when you’re doing that research, you’ll already want to have in mind what kind of weather you want.


Once you’ve decided on how much you’d like to hike, how many guests are coming, your ideal weather, and the landscapes you want, you’re ready to deep dive into researching mountain elopement locations. Finding the perfect spot will be a lot simpler after considering all of your needs and logistics.

This is information I collect from my couple through a questionnaire, and then use to make a customized list of elopement location options for them.


Once you have your location, it’s time to consider if there’s anything you need vendors for. Do you want a friend or family member to officiate, or will you need an officiant? Do you want a bouquet from a florist or are you down to make your own from Trader Joe’s flowers? Will you go out to eat, or do you want something catered, like a meal at an Airbnb from a private chef?

Figure out what you want for your Crater lake elopement, and hire your vendors in advance


You will need to get the correct permits for your elopement. These are usually “special use” permits that you apply for on the National Parks website.

Personally, I get all permit information for my eloping couples that hire me. With that, all you need to do is fill out the application when it’s sent to you and pay the fee. Fee’s vary, but are usually around $100 or less.


Activities are such a fun part of an elopement. When you choose to elope, you’re opening yourself up to having a wedding day celebration that feels unique and resonates with you. Incorporate things that will elevate your elopement day experience. Here’s just a few ideas to get you brainstorming:

  • Going on a hike
  • Having a bonfire
  • Having a picnic on a mountain top
  • Star-gazing or astrophotography
  • Swimming
  • Cliff jumping
  • Visiting waterfalls
  • Camping
  • Glamping
  • Hiring a private chef
  • Hot air balloon ride
  • Helicopter tour (landing on glaciers, mountains, etc)
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sightseeing
  • Scenic driving with time to stop for pictures
  • Visiting hot springs
  • Exchanging gifts
  • Reading letters from friends or family


Making a timeline is an important part of any elopement. It strings together all of your locations, activities, and lets guests know where to be and when. Creating a well thought out timeline will help you feel relaxed during the day, instead of stressed or rush. Make sure to include drive times as well as buffer times between each “event” of your Crater Lake elopement.

Here are the things I include in the timelines I make for my couples:

  • All addresses
  • Sunrise time
  • Sunset time
  • Drive times
  • A linke to Accuweather
  • A list of all names for group shots
  • Vendor info
  • Emergency contact info
  • A packing list
crater lake elopement

Crater Lake Wedding Permit

There is a $50 application fee to get your special use permit for Crater Lake National Park. This park doesn’t have a ton of restrictions, but you always need to check rules and regulations to make sure you’re complying with them. There can be guest limits, decorations restrictions, and certain locations where ceremonies aren’t allowed. You’ll also need to apply for your permit within 8 weeks of your wedding date.

Lodging in Crater Lake National Park

Lodging is an important aspect to elopements. This is because couples sometimes use this space to host an intimate reception, use it as a first look location, or have some activities planned such as a dinner catered by a chef. Here is a list of Airbnb’s near Crater Lake National Park.

And here is a list of hotels and lodges:

crater lake lodge

How Much Does it Cost to Elope in Crater Lake?

With a special use permit and entry fees, it costs $120.00 to elope in Crater Lake National Park. That being said, most couples spend an average of $5000-$20,000 on their elopement. This includes flights, lodging, permits, vendors, wedding attire, meals, and anything extra a couple might want.

Crater Lake Elopement Locations

Crate Lake has a ton of incredible elopement locations, inside the park as well as the surrounding National Forest. Here’s a list of some of my favorite locations.

Rim Drive

Not intersted in hiking? This scenic drive is a 50 mile loop, with plenty of places to get out an explore, have a picnic, pop champagne, take photos, or whatever activities you want to include in your day. Here is the information on this trail!

Toketee Falls

One of my favorite waterfalls. Flowing into a stunning turquoise pool, this location is absolutely breathtaking. The hike down is incredibly steep, and there are slippery rocks. Whereas the hike is short, I wouldn’t deem it “easy.” You can read more information here.

Watchman Peak

A short 1.7 mile hike with incredible views, this trail is amazing for couples who want a little bit of adventure but don’t want to spend their entire day hiking. Read more about this Crater Lake elopement location here!

Cleetwood Cove

A longer hike at 2.1 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain. Once again, not an incredible challenging hike. This is a great way to spend a chunk of your day enjoying nature on a slow hike, and getting to have your ceremony at a beautiful location. Read more about this Crater Lake elopement location here.

crater lake elopement locations

Crater Lake Elopement Packages

Elopement photography by Emilee Setting Photo, and everything included in my packages:

  • Explore anywhere within Washington, all travel fees included in the price!
  • Packages from half day elopements to multi-day elopements
  • Receive a customized location list
  • Help finding lodging that suits your needs if you’re having an intimate reception
  • Included comprehensive timeline design
  • Help obtaining your permits
  • Help obtaining your marriage license
  • A planning checklist
  • Unlimited planning and guidance calls 
  • All of your stunning photos delivered under three months
  • Day of polaroid sneak peeks

Crater Lake elopement packages starting at $5800. Want more information on my pricing and what’s included? Click here

Ready to Elope at Crater Lake?

This Crater Lake elopement guide is a way to get you excited about all the possibilities of what your day could look like. Although, this amount of information can be overwhelming. I’m here to help. I can answer any and all questions you have on a complimentary low pressure consultation call. If you then choose you’d like to work together, I’ll do all of this planning right by your said to alleviate any stress, and bring your Crater Lake elopement vision to life. We can chat here!

Don't forget your free elopement planning checklist


You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

I'm Emilee

I'm an elopement photographer who specializes in planning, crafting, and documenting untraditional weddings. I believe a wedding day should be filled with traditions that resonate with you. I'm here from start to finish to make that happen. Want to chat about your plans? Click below to set up a free consultation! 

You see a stranger’s puppy & it takes everything in you not to run up & cuddle it.

Your dress gets dirt on it, and you shrug.

You think ice cream & wine is always an acceptable dinner option. Always.

You LIVE for the feeling of sunshine on your skin & wind in your hair.

You’re already screaming YASSSS WHERE DO I BOOK YOU?

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