Oregon Is Pure Magic
Where will you choose?
Oregon is one of the best places to elope on the west coast. If you’ve never been, now is the time to throw away your preconceptions – the state has more to offer than Portlandia suggests! (Although, admittedly, this is the home of bacon on donuts so I guess some of your assumptions are correct). If you’re looking for beautiful mountainscapes, dense green forests, stunning waterfalls, coastal hikes and a hidden desert few Oregonians have even heard about, this might be the perfect place for your elopement adventure!
Keep reading to learn more about Oregon’s marriage laws, the best time of year to elope in Oregon, a list of our favorite elopement locations, and advice on choosing which location would best suit your needs. Get inspired to elope in one of our favorite places on Earth!
OUR BEST PLACES
TO ELOPE IN OREGON DATABASE
Oregon is unlike any state we’ve ever seen. Filled with magical views, enchanting landscape, and opportunity for endless adventure, you won’t spend a single moment in Oregon where you’re not picking your jaw up from off the ground. Though there are infinite hidden gems nestled all throughout the state, we’ll start with a few of our well-known favorites.
Choosing Your Oregon Elopement Location
Choosing your elopement location is one of the most important decisions after deciding to get married. The only more important decision is your photographer! (Kidding, sort of). We have photographed and guided couples through hundreds of elopements in dozens of countries, and one member of our team lives full-time in Oregon. So, you could say we know a few things about choosing the best elopement location!
Therefore, you can trust us when we say Oregon is a particularly special place! Sunrise elopements in the mountains with views of alpenglow casting pink and orange light upon lonely peaks. Sunsets on the coast remembered for dramatic waves crashing upon rigid rock formations, sea stacks and caves. Sand dunes, waterfalls, old-growth rainforests with moss creeping up the trunks of trees wider than you can hug. The diversity and extremes within Oregon create the perfect scene to host an adventure elopement – you can take what you like and craft the space that fits your vision!
Start with a season and choose a location ideal that time of year, or choose your ideal location and pick a date likely to provide the perfect environment for your preferred elopement day activities. Wherever you start, we’ll plan a wedding celebration perfect for you! Keep reading to learn more about our favorite Oregon elopement locations, and what you should keep in mind if you want to elope at any of these places.
The Best Time of Year to Elope in Oregon
Oregon is known for rainy, moody vibes — but spring and summer in the Pacific Northwest could possibly be the best hidden secret in America. Spring and summer elopements mean frolicking in lush valleys and forests in warm (but rarely too warm) weather, while fall and winter will be the stereotypical moody, rustic colors and cooler weather.
There’s also this little thing called the Cascades in central Oregon. The mountain peaks have a way of splitting weather patterns between eastern and western sides of the state. Essentially, the Cascades have totally differentiated Oregon’s climates, so what you think of as “Oregon weather” is actually describing only western Oregon! The coastal region of the state is a temperate oceanic climate, and the eastern cities are in a cool arid climate.
To put it in layman’s terms – western Oregon is wet and mild, while eastern Oregon is drier and features a more typical 4-season climate. Whether your elopement is in Portland or Bend will have a significant impact on what time of year you’ll want to be there! With each location listed below, we have suggested our favorite time of year to elope there, and here is the shortlist of activities sorted by season if you’re looking to plan an adventure elopement in this great state!
Fall colors are bursting in the hills and the air is becoming crisp. There are still many sunny days, but evenings are getting cooler and with November it begins to rain more on the coast and snow inland. This is the best time of year to cozy up with a cup of chai after a sunset elopement!
Months: September – Early November
Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, mushroom hunting
This is the best time to go searching for waterfalls! All the snowmelt has the flows stronger than they’ll be the rest of the year, and flowering trees everywhere are blooming in the cities. Late spring brings wildflowers to the hills and the first few weeks of decent sun remind Oregonians why we wait out the winter months – summer is coming!
Months: April – June
Activities: Hiking, biking, discovering waterfalls
Whenever you choose to elope in Oregon, we’ll do our best to line up your vision with the typical weather! If you want clouds and moody vibes, we’ve got a good idea when to suggest. If you’re hoping to hike Angel’s Rest, we’ll suggest a date in the summer. Of course, the Pacific Northwest is also known for being unpredictable, so do yourself a favor and be flexible! We’ve got a saying here that we find hilariously true – “if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it’ll change.” Rain, sun, or both, your elopement will be perfect if you’re adventuring with your love!
The trails are becoming less crowded as most days are rainy and cold. The hikes at higher elevations become inaccessible due to snow and poor visibility, but the lower elevations get the gorgeous fog and moody vibes we all love. If you’re looking for a winter wonderland elopement, search inland to find more reliable snow than the coast!
Months: Late November – March
Activities: Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing
These months are a real-life fairytale! The riverbanks become the perfect place to set up a picnic, and the high-elevation hikes are once again revealing distant views of Mt. Hood, Adams, St. Helens, Jefferson and the Three Sisters. You won’t find moody vibes easily, as the summer rarely rains and the late evening sunsets are often clear and colorful.
Months: July – September
Activities: Hiking, kayaking, peak-bagging
Best Places to
Elope in Oregon near Portland
Portland is the central hub of Oregon, and the cause of so much stereotyping – mostly for the best, definitely for the weirdest! I promise the city is more than odd food pairings, intentionally outrageous style and an affinity for fancy coffee. While all that exists, there is also an immensely strong community and affinity for the natural environment. Portlandians love to love, and that has created a city ideal for celebrating your unique relationship!
You’ll probably fly into PDX if you’re traveling out of state for your elopement, and we can recommend more than a dozen spectacular restaurants or cafes you should try before getting out of the city. Whether you home-base from Portland for your Oregon elopement, or you want to find an adventure nearby, the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood are our top destinations in this part of the state.
Elope in Oregon Near Portland
Columbia River Gorge
Home to the single largest concentration of waterfalls in North America, the Columbia River Gorge is the perfect place to elope if you’re looking to get out in nature without going too far out. The Gorge is a beautiful 30-minute drive from Portland and accessible year-round, though some of the best viewpoint hikes are only recommended during the summer months. Choose from a .25 mile nearly flat hike to Latourell Falls or ascend over 1,500 feet in 2.5 miles hiking up Angel’s Rest for a view of the entire valley – the level of adventure built into any elopement in The Gorge is up to each visitor.
The Gorge is ideal for elopements at any time of year, though you’d be getting distinctly different vibes each season! Winter often brings snow to even the lower trails, and the upper trails can become treacherous. Yet, the colder months also bring a dense fog that can only be described as intimately romantic. Spring in The Gorge is notable for gushing waterfalls and some of the best sunsets as the light glints off each branch of dewy new growth. Summer is perfect for longer hikes to viewpoints as the sun sets late into the evening and the trails finally dry out. Fall brings color to patches of deciduous trees amongst the evergreen forests. No matter the time of year, there is always something to do in The Gorge, and the level of difficulty or accessibility spans the imagination!
The Columbia River Gorge is perfect for adventure elopements with guests, or intimate celebrations between couples. You’ll be able to choose between less frequented trails even during the busy season, or popular tourist destinations during the off season if you’re looking for privacy. No hiking is required to elope in The Gorge, or you could plan a multi-day backpacking excursion leaving from a number of trailheads. The versatility of this location is truly unmatched!
The iconic Oregon mountain – Mt. Hood is a lonely towering peak with remarkably satisfying symmetry surrounded by dense green forests, lakes and hikes spanning all levels of difficulty. Upon the mountain itself there are a number of beautiful places to elope, and the hardest part of your planning will be to decide which picturesque location is your favorite! Do you want to say “I do” on the shores of a lake mirroring a reflection of this active volcano? How about we check out yet another of Oregon’s 230+ waterfalls? Nothing says unique elopement idea quite like eloping on an active volcano, so you can’t really go wrong here.
Mt. Hood is perfect for elopements any time of year, though we prefer winter or summer. The in-between months tend to be less predictable and swing between rain and moments of teasing sun (but often just rain). During the winter, the trails around Mt. Hood make for ideal winter wonderland elopements! Get married on the slopes near Timberline Lodge, or go snowshoeing at Trillium Lake. In the summer, those same locations are instead fields of wildflowers or warm lakeside campsites.
Couples who choose Mt. Hood as their elopement destination will enjoy the vast opportunities for outdoor recreation and stunning landscapes around this iconic mountain. The accessibility is also something that cannot be overlooked! While you can see the peak on a clear day from downtown Portland, getting to the mountain takes just over an hour of driving out of the city. It is feasible to stay in Portland and travel to Mt. Hood for a day of adventuring and return later that day, or choose from a number of cabin rentals in Government Camp, Rhododendron, or Mt. Hood Village.
Best Places to
Elope in Oregon on the Coast
The Pacific Ocean, sea stacks, ocean-side caves, dramatic cliffside overlooks – the Oregon coast is a breathtaking place! From Astoria to Brookings, choose any exit from highway 101 and discover another cove perfectly suited for your adventure elopement on the Oregon coast. Whether you want to hike to a secluded beach or say your vows a short walk from the parking lot to accommodate family who can’t hike far, you’ll find the perfect place here!
Elope in Oregon on the Coast
Beaches and Coves
From Astoria to Lincoln City to Brookings, the abundance of Oregon coastline perfect for elopements cannot be understated. Whether you’re looking for a sandy stretch like Hug Point or Cannon Beach, or you’d prefer a cliffside overlook, there are literally hundreds of locations we can suggest! Choose from dog-friendly beaches, places you can camp right on the sand or even a cove with a century-old shipwreck you can walk up to at low tide!
You can elope on the Oregon coast any day of the year. Yes, the winter will be colder and the summer will be warmer. But we’ve witnessed blue-sky days in January and overcast days in July. The Oregon coast is wildly unpredictable and your preferred time of year will only give you a better chance of securing sunlight or fog, whichever you’d prefer, but no one can guarantee it. But, the surprise can be half the fun! We’ll be prepared for any kind of weather for an Oregon coast elopement and the best advice we can give is to expect the unexpected – this wild coastline has a way of surprising and inspiring those who visit!
Hiking Elopements on the Oregon Coast
Just inland from Oregon’s beaches, barely out of sight of the crashing waves, hundreds of hiking trails will take you into the mountains where you’ll discover waterfalls, rope bridges spanning canyons and thick forests. Choose from a number of trails of all levels of difficulty to find yourself in forests that are foggy year-round and so thick you can almost hear the quiet. Breaks in the trees disclose unending green mountains as far as you can see, and only the tiniest towns exist within the valleys. These are the sort of places you can’t pass through without wondering why, how, and when they came to be.
You don’t have to go to the higher mountain ranges to discover steep and picturesque hikes in Oregon. Many exist right on the coast and are accessible year-round! While the warmer months will help make these trails passable, there is no guarantee that you’ll completely avoid rain any time of year. There’s a perpetual dampness to Oregon’s coastal forests, which is what makes them such an appealing green fairy-tale location!
The Oregon coast is the perfect place to elope for couples who truly love the Pacific Northwest. Watch the sun set beneath the horizon after saying your vows on one of the many beaches, cliffsides or hikes that make this coastline so special and feel so wild! Nature rules here and we love that about Oregon – this isn’t the sort of beach where you go to get a tan, it’s where you go to find adventure!
Best Places to
Elope in Central Oregon
Central Oregon is characterized by the Cascade mountains, splitting the state into two different climates. As a result, there are a variety of features to choose from when looking for places to elope in central Oregon! From cascading waterfalls to alpine lakes, central Oregon is the perfect place to elope for adventurous souls.
Elope in Central Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
Oregon’s only National Park and aptly named, Crater Lake is an Oregon icon featuring a massive, crystal-clear lake. Circumnavigate the lake and you’ll travel about 26 miles, while only scratching the surface of over 90 miles of trails throughout the park. The lake is lined with dramatic peaks reaching 8,000 feet, which is impressive as you realize the massive crater sits almost 7,000 feet above sea level. Within the lake itself sits an island, and you can rent a boat to explore the uniquely titled Wizard Island. The panoramic views at this location are epic at both sunrise and sunset, perfect for personalizing your elopement experience to find some privacy in this usually busy park.
Summer is definitely the best time of year to elope at Crater Lake, but the park is largely accessible year-round. You can enter through the south gate all year, but to circumnavigate the lake in winter you need skis or snowshoes. While I think that would make for an epic elopement experience, you’d need backcountry expertise to do this safely! Crater Lake is more than just a place to view a significantly large body of water (which is obviously impressive), the lake is situated in a location known worldwide for its clear skies and stargazing opportunities. An elopement at Crater Lake would be made even more epic if it extended beyond sunset and you got to explore the brilliant starry skies with your lover.
Willamette / Deschutes National Forest
Mountain peaks, inviting forests of sparse trees crisscrossed by trails, and alpine lakes make the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests an ideal place to elope for nature lovers! Located just west and south of Bend, these forests are different from the dense woods in western Oregon. Instead of thick underbrush and moss-covered trees, you’ll find pines and fir trees growing tall with little underbrush in drier regions. This change in climate makes the forest sun-filled and bright by comparison!
Hikers and mountain bikers will love this area of Oregon in the summer and autumn. Some of the best mountain biking in Oregon is just outside Bend! There are also dozens of peaks and hikes worth exploring, with significantly less foot traffic than trails near Portland. Climb Mt. Jefferson, standing tall at 10,495 feet, or Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack or the Three Sisters. Crystal clear rivers and swimming holes are the perfect post-hike dip in the summer, or dress up again following your elopement to celebrate by making the rounds of incredible wineries all throughout the Willamette Valley.
Best Places to
Elope in Eastern Oregon
The warmer climate and drier environment of eastern Oregon makes it stand out in stark contrast to the wet and green stereotype of Oregon’s popular west coast. As understated as it is, eastern Oregon has a lot of variety in landscape, environment and activity for those looking to elope inland from the busier coastline. In eastern Oregon you’ll find less busy trails, more private campsites and an abundance of hikes perfect for adventure elopements!
Elope in Eastern Oregon
The Alvord Desert
If we listed the Oregon desert as an elopement location suggestion, could you picture it? Oregon may be known for the wet and green coastline, but the state is more diverse than that. Eastern Oregon is home to canyons, dry lake beds and desert features to rival some of the prettiest southwest destinations! From Smith Rock to the Painted Hills, these hidden gems are the perfect way for desert lovers to elope in a space fitting their dream aesthetic, without the high temperatures! Instead of averaging triple-digit summer weather, the Oregon desert regions are milder and greener. Desert plants thrive here in the slightly-wetter region to their southern counterparts.
The Alvord Desert is a dry lake bed in eastern Oregon. Hours from any bigger city, it’s definitely not one of the most accessible locations on this list, but it is extremely unique! On the eastern edge of the Steens Mountain Wilderness, the Alvord is a perfect place for stargazing and camping because of the clear night skies and extremely low levels of light pollution. The Alvord is best visited in the summer months when the ground is truly dried out and the evenings are comfortably warm so you can lay out beneath the stars.
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest
In the farthest northeast corner of Oregon is the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Crossing borders into Washington and Idaho, this forested area is broken up by criss-crossing rivers and streams which have shaped valleys and rolling hills as far as you can see. Fire towers give onlookers a panoramic view of hillsides covered in wildflowers and nature watchers will find themselves sitting content beside rivers for hours as the birds sing in the ponderosa pines and the fish navigate old waterways.
Outside the town of Joseph, the Wallowa-Witman is the perfect summer elopement location for couples searching for the banks of a peaceful lake or forests teeming with wildlife. Hiking into the mountains will take you to alpine lakes and meadows pocked by boulder fields. We highly recommend this area in the summer, as the best hikes are treacherous or inaccessible in the colder months. The summer season is a fairy-tale of blue skies and warm weather to showcase some of the most underrated beauty Oregon has to offer.
Oregon Truly Has It All
If you’re looking for a truly unique place to elope, Oregon should be at the top of your list! The state is filled with character, charm and natural beauty. Whether you love mountains, coastlines, deserts or forests, Oregon has something for everyone!
If you’re ready to begin planning your own Oregon adventure elopement, reach out! We’d love to hear what your vision is, where you’re thinking of eloping and how we can help turn your dreams into reality.
Contact us now and let us know which location from this list of Best Places to Elope in Oregon is calling your name! We can’t wait to hear from you to help you plan your destination elopement!
For more Oregon elopement planning inspiration, check out these blogs:
Ready to begin
You can Download The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Elopement to begin digging deep into your own goals for your wedding celebration, or contact us so we can help you narrow down your options!
If you’re looking for further information on elopements, check out this blog all about the cost of elopements & how you can budget for an epic day!
Or, check out this blog full of small wedding ideas!
We firmly believe you deserve to celebrate your marriage in whatever way feels perfectly you – maybe you’ve found inspiration here that’s pointed you in the right direction, or maybe you vision something else entirely!
Whatever your goals, reach out! We can’t wait to hear all about your dream elopement adventure!