Best Places to Elope in Snoqualmie Valley
If you’re a fan of Twin Peaks, you’ll recognize Snoqualmie Valley. The Great Northern Hotel and the cascading falls before it are so familiar I wouldn’t be surprised to be greeted by Audrey Horne upon arrival. Of course, The Great Northern is actually called the Salish Lodge and the Snoqualmie Falls before it are a popular attraction half an hour drive from the Seattle waterfront. I am a Snoqualmie Valley elopement photographer and firmly believe this is one of the most beautiful places to elope in the US (and I lived in Colorado for 20 years, so I know mountains)!
Snoqualmie Valley is one of the top elopement destinations in the United States because of its natural beauty, relatively easy access, and unlimited choices for remote elopement locations perfect for nature lovers. Keep reading to learn more about how to elope in Snoqualmie Valley, tips for my favorite specific locations, and more details on how to legally get married outdoors.
Where to Elope in Snoqualmie Valley
The best places to elope in Snoqualmie Valley are a nearly endless list. Each location will be suited to someone different depending on your vision! Do you want deep mossy forests, or a snow-capped peak in the backdrop? How about endless valley fields, or a lake at the base of Seattle’s most photographed overlook? From mossy forests to mountain vistas, Snoqualmie Valley has an elopement location for anyone who wants a truly Pacific Northwest elopement experience.
To choose your location, start by asking yourself what activities you want to engage in on your wedding day. Do you want to go for a hike? Do you want to picnic on the shores of a lake? Or, would you be interested in a river exploration to discover your ceremony location in a place inaccessible to those on foot?
To reach Snoqualmie Valley, you’ll want to drive east from Seattle on I-90. Some hikes aren’t far off the highway, while others serpentine picturesque backroads. Wherever you choose, I’ll help you get there!
Snoqualmie Valley Wedding Photographer
I love Snoqualmie Valley because no matter where you go, it’s gorgeous! It’s a beautiful location for couples who want a Pacific Northwest outdoor wedding, and I’ve only scratched the surface of this area’s potential.
Each season is different in Snoqualmie Valley, and I’m prepared to ensure we can capture stunning images of your wedding at any time of year. However, Washington state is known for unpredictable weather and the best we can do is plan ahead and choose a season most suitable for your goals. Generally, late April through October will be your best chance at good weather. The climate is temperate, and if it does rain at all you’ll get to embrace a moody PNW vibe! In November – March, you’ll find a lot of areas flooded or raining too hard to get a chance at cloud breaks. Unless you’re aiming for higher elevations and a winter wonderland wedding, I’d recommend you plan for some time in the warmer months.
Each state is different, but Washington has pretty straightforward marriage laws from county to county. Snoqualmie Valley sits in King County and more details regarding getting married can be found HERE. In summary, you have a 3-day waiting period after obtaining your marriage license. Then, you have 60 days after getting your license to have a ceremony performed by someone ordained religiously or legally. You will need two witnesses to sign the certificate.
I am a certified officiant, so I can legally sign your marriage certificate, if necessary. If you’d like to have an officiant perform your ceremony and sign your certificate, I can recommend some incredible individuals!
Below, I’ve outlined some of my favorite areas within the Snoqualmie Valley, and what details you’ll need to iron out while planning a wedding in each area. Permits, length of hikes, and location descriptions are all included.
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is bigger than you’d expect. I’ve actually found myself driving back roads going somewhere else and suddenly passing a National Forest sign. If you choose this area as your elopement location, you can have anything from raging waterfalls to snowcapped peaks as your backdrop. Some hikes here are all-day endeavors ascending thousands of feet, or you can choose a relatively flat hike off an unnamed Forest Service road that leads to dense forest and deep green trails.
PERMIT REQUIRED: You’ll need a Discover Pass to park at any trailhead in the National Forest. You can easily obtain one online HERE.
This trail is located near North Bend and it’s a perfect elopement location for those looking to find views without hiking all day. At nearly a mile one-way, Garfield Ledges trail travels along a river and opens up to an overlook.
Fly fishing or kayaking on the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River
The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River has extensive hiking and water recreation opportunities. It’s the perfect place for someone who daydreams about a weekend camping trip. Whether you’re an avid fisherman or a novice taking up the sport, a camping elopement on the banks of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River might just be ideal!
Meadowbrook Farm Preserve
This 460 acres on the valley floor, within North Bend and Snoqualmie, is a paradise for nature lovers! The space has been preserved for wildlife habitat and recreation and is known to be one of the best places to come across herds of elk enjoying their freedom. You do not need a permit to access this area, but many events and activities take place within the preserve. If you’re looking to host a reception following your elopement, the preserve has buildings on site ideal for small gatherings. Learn more about Meadowbrook Farm Preserve HERE.
Rattlesnake Lake/Rattlesnake Ledge
Rattlesnake Lake and Rattlesnake Ledge are Pacific Northwest staples and idyllic locations for enjoying this uniquely beautiful region! Accessing the lake is a short walk from the parking lot, and you’ll enjoy gorgeous forested views. Rattlesnake Ledge is a 4-mile round trip hike that overlooks the lake below and traverses well-maintained switchbacks. As this is one of the more popular hikes for Seattle, you’ll want to elope on either a weekday or perhaps plan an early sunrise elopement.
PERMIT REQUIRED: Discover Pass
Do you love wine? Orenda winery is a female-owned and operated winery at the base of the Cascade Mountains in Carnation. It has 3.5 acres of beautifully manicured lawns, mature trees, lovely flower gardens, a fountain pond and a historic farmhouse. The winery property is ideal for small, intimate weddings held amongst the flower beds surrounding the fountain pond. After exchanging your vows, there are multiple outdoor and indoor locations to hold a cocktail hour and/or dinner party. They even have a guest house, if you’d like to stay on the property overnight. You can also enjoy wine flights as part of your wedding day. Check out their website HERE if you are interested in this beautiful location for your wedding event.
What’s more perfect than a treehouse in the PNW, one of the most famously forested areas of the world? Nothing, that’s right! You can plan a wedding at Treehouse Point or rent a treehouse to get ready in before your elopement. The center itself has a lovely forested ceremony venue and pristine outdoor areas. It is fully equipped and prepared for weddings, if you want to invite friends and family to join you in your celebrations. You can learn more about these incredible feats of engineering and inquire about wedding reservations HERE.
You can take a hike to the base of the falls, or walk along a paved trail for 15 minutes to view the 269-foot cascading waterfalls. Though they change depending on rainfall and season, Snoqualmie Falls are strong year-round and generally 100-feet wide. This makes them some of the biggest waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest! Choose to stay in the lodge at the top of the falls, or plan to eat dinner in the magnificent dining area at the Salish Lodge and Spa. Despite being a short drive from Seattle, the Snoqualmie Falls area feels delightfully remote and romantic surrounded by thick forests, endless mountains, and the roar of these famous waterfalls.
Snoqualmie Valley Trail with Magnificent Views
This 32-mile trail (yes, I wrote that correctly) spans some of the best views in Washington! The rail trail is popular for cyclists and hikers, as you can choose many sections to suit an afternoon stroll or walk literally all day. There are old bridges spanning river crossings, or tree-lined trails erupting with color in the fall, which would make for perfect elopement locations. Autumn is my favorite season on the Snoqualmie Valley trail, but spring or even a summer morning could make this the perfect place to say “I do.”
To reach Snoqualmie Valley from downtown Seattle, drive east on I-90. If you’re coming from SEATAC, head north on the 405 before cutting east on I-90. If you can avoid the afternoon traffic, you’ll be able to reach many of the above mentioned locations within 30-60 minutes. For being so accessible, Snoqualmie Valley is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to, or can’t, get far away from the city. It’s the perfect place to elope, for all the reasons mentioned here and more! If you’re ready to begin planning your beautiful Snoqualmie Valley elopement, reach out! I’ll find the perfect place for you!
Stacy Garfield of Outshined Photography is a Snoqualmie Valley elopement photographer and small wedding photographer. Stacy lives in North Bend and explores daily to find the best places to elope in Snoqualmie Valley. She specializes in elopements, small weddings, couples, proposals and engagement sessions. The Pacific Northwest elopement package includes planning and photography in Washington, Oregon and Western Idaho. Also, Stacy photographs often in Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Hawaii and international countries. Her focus is on making your day special and unique for you and most importantly…FUN!