Bride and groom embracing each other in Glacier National Park after Lake McDonald Elopement

Tips & Tricks

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How to Elope in Glacier National Park in 5 steps

How to elope in Glacier Nation Park in 5 very simple steps! I will spare you the lengthy read and get right to the point!

 1. Where to elope in Glacier National Park:

West Glacier (always open) Closest to Whitefish and Kalispell.

Lake McDonald (always open to Lake McDonald Lodge)

Bowman Lake / Polebridge area are open in late June.

Logan’s Pass (Opens late June – Closes early October. Very high unexpectancy for construction/road closures).

East Glacier (Open late June – Closes last week of September).

Two Medicine Lake (Open late June – Closes Last week of September).

Many Glacier (Opens in late June – Closes last week of September).

St. Mary (Opens in late June – Closes first week of October)

  • These are all not exact dates of when it closes and opens, it is just a pattern I have noticed. Please note that fires, snow storms, and construction can cause road closures to any of these destinations. Snow storms can last until late June in higher elevations, fires can start in mid-August all the way through September. GNP is very good at keeping people updated on road closures, so check their website often.

2. Decide which location you want your ceremony to be at.

Know that West Glacier is the closest to towns such as Columbia Falls, Whitefish and Kalispell which is important to know because you will fly into the airport that is located between Columbia Falls and Kalispell. Those three towns will have the best options for lodging, nightlife, restaurants, and shopping.

Drive time(s):

  • Columbia Falls to West Glacier is about a 25-minute drive.
  • Columbia Falls to Logan’s Pass it is an hour and thirty-minute drive depending on traffic.
  • Columbia Falls to Two Medicine/East Glacier is a two-hour drive if you take HWY 2.
  • Columbia Falls to Many Glacier is a three-hour drive.
  • It is important to know how far away these locations are because most photographers charge a travel fee

3. Book a photographer that knows the park really well and can help plan your day realistically.

Always have a backup plan. Your photographer should know more than anyone that unexpected road closures could occur hours before your elopement. Be prepared to go with option number 2 if that does happen. If your photographer does not include vendors, you will also need to book your vendors at this time.

4. Choose the date and time of day.

Weekdays are typically less busy than weekends. Sunset is the most magical time in Glacier (IMO) Keep in mind that the sunset does set very late during the summer months here (9-10 pm)

5. If you are from out of state you can get your marriage certificates in Kalispell at the courthouse.

You will need your driver’s license, answer three questions and sign paperwork. After the ceremony, the ordained person will need to sign the certificate as well as your witnesses. Then, you can either mail it in or drop it off at the courthouse. You do not have to have an ordained minister in the state of Montana, you can have a friend or family member marry you if they become ordained. You will need to get a permit to elope in the park, they are $100 and can be purchased at National Park Service.

If you would like help with planning your elopement feel free to fill out the contact form to discuss your vision!