Standing at just under 12,000 feet tall, Mt. Hood is the highest peak in Oregon and one of the state’s seven wonders. Whether blanketed in a colorful layer of wildflowers or a thick coating of fluffy white snow, the Mt. Hood area is absolutely beautiful no matter what the season. Not to mention, the area is conveniently located being less than a two hour drive from Portland.
With dense forests, gushing waterfalls, snow-capped mountain peaks, and pristine alpine lakes, Mt. Hood Oregon is full of stunning scenery and epic vistas for your dream Oregon elopement. In this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know about eloping in Mt. Hood, along with some of my favorite elopement spots, places to stay, and things to do while you’re there!
The Best Places to Elope in Mt. Hood, Oregon
Surrounded by Oregon wilderness, this scenic lake boasts a picture perfect view of Mt. Hood. A flat, two-mile trail takes you around the lake, making it a great option for those who’d rather not break a sweat getting to their elopement location. On a clear day, the pristine blue water creates a stunning reflection of the beautiful scenery that surrounds it.
On the eastern side of Mt. Hood, you’ll find Tamanawas Falls where water cascades over a lava cliff and tumbles onto the moss-covered rocks below. To get there, you’ll take a round trip three-mile hike through dense forest and along a babbling creek before reaching the thundering falls.
This moderate 6.7 mile in-and-out hike boasts spectacular views of Mt. Hood as you pass through lush forest and traverse mountain-side passes. It’s beautiful in the summer with blooming wildflowers and blue skies but is also a popular snow-shoeing destination in the winter. Dogs are also welcome on this trail!
At the foot of Mt. Hood, sitting at an elevation of 3,000 feet, you’ll find Lost Lake. The impressive lake covers 240 acres and has a depth of up to 170 feet. A three-mile round trip trail will take you through beautiful forest and wetlands with amazing views of Mt. Hood along the way.
This rustic bunkhouse sits at 7,000 feet on the edge of Mt. Hood. Situated above the treeline, here you’ll be greeted with incredible panoramic views of Mt. Hood and the surrounding wilderness. Blanketed in snow and only accessible via a snowcat or chairlift, this location would be perfect for a winter elopement (plus, you can even stay overnight!).
A bit more off the beaten path, Mirror Lake is a small alpine lake surrounded by towering pine trees with views of Mt. Hood in the distance. To get to the lake, you’ll take a moderate four-mile hike to the top of a small mountain. Totally worth the effort!
The Best Time of Year to Elope in Mt. Hood
During this time of year, the snow will subside and bring warmer temperatures. In early spring, snow can still be seen at higher elevations, but as the season progresses, temperatures begin to warm and rivers and waterfalls will be gushing with water from the melting snow.
Summer days in Mt. Hood are warm and sunny. This season brings colorful blooming wildflowers and clear blue skies. July and August are the warmest months when daytime temperatures climb into the low 80s.
The fall season is best characterized by the changing autumn colors and cooler temperatures. The mountainside turns into a wave of vibrant red, orange, and yellow maples mixed with dark green Douglas firs and cedar trees. Trails are less crowded and the days are sunny and crisp.
Winter in Mt. Hood is a snow-lover’s dream. In fact, it receives an average of 55 inches of snow each year! Although temperatures are colder, dipping into the low 30s, this is the perfect time to elope if you love the thought of snowy, white winter wonderland.
Getting to Mt. Hood, Oregon
If you’re coming in from out of state, the best way to get to Mt. Hood is to fly into Portland International Airport (PDX). From the airport, it’s only an hour and a half drive to Mt. Hood. On your way, you’ll eventually reach the Mount Hood Scenic Byway, a stunning drive that takes you around the outskirts of the mountain.
Where to Stay for Your Mt. Hood Elopement
The Timberline Lodge: A historic lodge built in 1932 with incredible views of Mt. Hood and the surrounding wilderness. It’s a popular place to stay (it was featured in the classic film, The Shining) so definitely be sure to book in advance.
Clear Lake Cabin Lookout: If you’re up for a little adventure and looking for a unique place to stay, this is it! Located on the southern slope of Mt. Hood, this active fire lookout sits 40 feet above the ground with amazing panoramic views of the forest. Getting here requires you to ski, snowmobile, or snowshoe four miles to the tower.
Mt. Hood Tiny House Village: Stay in an adorable tiny home village with seven unique tiny homes to choose from. Enjoy outdoor seatings and fire pits too!
Silcox Hut: Sitting at 7,000 feet, Silcox Hut is a rustic bed and breakfast bunkhouse on the mountainside of Mt. Hood. It can accommodate up to 24 overnight guests and is the perfect place to stay for a small and intimate elopement.
Local Campgrounds and Cabins: Mt. Hood National Forest has plenty of campgrounds and even some really unique cabins that can be reserved year round. Some favorites include Trillium Lake Campground and the Tilly Jane A-Frame cabin.
The Best Activities for Your Mt. Hood Elopement
No Mt. Hood elopement would be complete without an epic activity to celebrate your recent nuptials! Here are a few of my favorite Mt. Hood activities that can easily be incorporated into your special day:
- Canoe or paddle board on the lake: Trillium Lake is the perfect location for this. No motorized boats are allowed so it’s an incredibly peaceful spot to canoe, kayak, or paddle board.
- Visit a flower farm: From tulips to lavender to dahlias, the Mt. Hood region is home to some spectacular flower farms. Don’t miss Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm or Swan Island Dahlias.
- Take a scenic drive: Drive around the edge of the iconic Mt. Hood for jaw-dropping views of the mountain, considered to be the last leg of the historic Oregon Trail.
- Go on a snow adventure: In the winter, there’s no shortage of adventurous activities. Skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing are popular options for the winter months!
- Visit a brewery or winery: If you’re a beer lover, stop at Mt. Hood Brewing Co. in Government Camp. Or visit one of the many vineyards in the Mt. Hood area.
- Explore Portland: Head to Portland to explore the city’s quirky neighborhoods, microbreweries, and shops. Don’t miss popular areas like the Pearl District and Washington Park.
Permits Needed for Eloping in Mt. Hood
Eloping in Mt. Hood typically requires a permit, but not to worry, the process is pretty simple and, in most cases, free! A temporary special use permit is required for any recreational event that involves the exchange of money. However, for events like weddings, a simple and free-of-charge non-commercial group use permit is all you’ll need. You can read all about the Mt. Hood special use permitting process on their website.
How to Legally Elope in Mt. Hood, Oregon
To ensure your Oregon elopement is legal, you’ll just need two things: (1) a signed marriage and (2) two witnesses for your ceremony.
Getting your marriage license is fairly easy. If you’re out of state, you can start the process by applying for your marriage license online. Just take note that you’ll still need to visit an Oregon county clerk’s office to complete and sign your license. If you’re not applying online, you can just head to the county clerk’s office.
Make sure you have your signed marriage license at least three days before your elopement ceremony and no earlier than 60 days prior. The cost of a marriage license in Oregon is usually between $50 and $60 depending on the county that issues it.
In addition to your marriage license, you’ll need two witnesses present during your ceremony, but don’t worry, your photographer counts! So you’ll just need to find one more witness. An officiant is always a great option!
Lastly, once your ceremony is complete, just make sure to return it to the same county clerk’s office that originally issued it, and you’ll be all set!
Book Your Mt. Hood Elopement Photographer
Ready to make all your elopement dreams come true in Mt. Hood?! So am I! I’d love to be your Oregon elopement photographer, Mt. Hood tour guide, and new friend. Reach out and say hi! I’d be happy to help you in any way I can.
Looking for more Mt. Hood elopement inspiration? Check out this intimate elopement I recently shot at the Tilly Jane A-Frame cabin in Mt. Hood National Forest.