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Your pup is part of the family, so it makes sense that on one of the most important days of your lives, you want them beside you! One of my favorite things about elopements is that you aren’t confined to venues – you can have your ceremony with some of the most incredible scenery in the backdrop. But, with all those incredible views, there are still some rules! Many parks and outdoor areas won’t allow dogs. This is because your fur baby isn’t as aware as you are, and might step on some fragile grass or other plant life, causing lasting damage. And, a lot of wildlife makes their home in national parks, and a run in with a pet could be dangerous – for them, and for your pet.
So, when you choose to include your dog in your wedding day, you’ll need to be sure that you choose a location that’s dog friendly. National parks are usually a no-go, as they have some of the strictest rules when it comes to pets – they’re only allowed on roads, parking lots, and campgrounds. But, there are plenty of other amazing places around the country! Here are 20 dog friendly elopement locations in the US, all of which allow pets, as long as they’re kept on a leash.
1. North Cascades National Park, Washington
Wait, didn’t I just say national parks are a no-go?
There’s a rare exception in the North Cascades of Washington State. The Maple Pass Trail is a stunning hike. The 6.6 mile loop ascends through the forest and ends up on top of a mountain, with mountain peaks all around and alpine lakes along the trail. The views are incredible, and your dog can enjoy them too!
2. Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
The Bonneville Salt Flats are a unique and dog friendly elopement location – as long as you take some precautions. The salt flats were formed when the lake dried up, and it’s now a vast landscape of salt! Salt can be hard on a dog’s feet, so pack some booties.
3. Monument Valley, Utah
For some incredible red rock views, elope at Monument Valley! Many similar views can be found in national parks, but this one is dog friendly. (Pro tip: check out my blog post on How to Elope In Utah for more tips on eloping here!)
4. Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California
If you want to feel tiny amongst the towering redwoods, Humboldt Redwoods State Park is an amazing place to elope, with lots of trails to choose from. And of course, it’s dog friendly!
5. Cape Kiwanda, Oregon
Cape Kiwanda is a gorgeous spot on the Oregon coast, where you can stand by the ocean, or climb up a sand dune to peek over the steep dropoff. Bring your dog along, and they’ll have a great time running around the beach! The brewery nearby even has outdoor seating for a post-elopement beer.
6. White River National Forest, Colorado
You don’t have to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for amazing peaks in Colorado! The nearby white river national forest is a dog friendly elopement location, and the most visited forest in the United States. With 10 mountain peaks and 2,500 miles of trails, you’ll find one that’s perfect for you and your pup.
7. Smith Rock State Park, Oregon
Smith Rock is a popular climbing destination – but the towering rocky spires and the trails that go along the desert walls make a great elopement location! Be sure to pack extra water for your dog (and for yourself), because the desert can get toasty.
8. Bitterroot National Forest, Montana
With dense forest and countless mountain peaks, the Bitterroot National Forest is an incredible dog friendly elopement location. Be sure to bring bear spray – Montana wilderness is no joke!
9. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the country, but did you know that right outside the park, you can find similar views, less crowds, and your dog can come? The Bridger-Teton National Forest is a great place to elope for mountain views, wildflowers, and alpine lakes.
10. John Muir Wilderness, California
This is a wilderness area along the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s a remote location with lots of options for hiking – all of which end in unreal views! The alpine lakes are crystal clear, and the trails are dog friendly.
11. Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
The Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is home to unique sandstone formations, eroded into layers of different colored rock. You can explore slot canyons, rock formations, and hiking trails amongst the desert landscape.
12. Alabama Hills, California
The Alabama Hills have been the setting of several old western movies, and are one of the best dog friendly elopement locations. They’re remote, and the vast space offers plenty of spots to get some privacy for your elopement ceremony. The stone formations and rocky hills are nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, creating an incredible view!
13. Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Lake Tahoe spans across California and Nevada – and while many places are dog friendly, make sure to double check your exact elopement location! Some of the trails have stricter rules, but most places in South Lake Tahoe welcome pups. The Tahoe Rim Trail is one amazing hike that you can do with your dog.
14. Mount Hood, Oregon
Mount Hood is Oregon’s most iconic peak, and there are tons of trails that go up the mountain, and even more that go around if you don’t want to gain too much elevation. Dogs are welcome to explore the trails!
15. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
The Columbia River Gorge is the canyon between Washington and Oregon – there are plenty of hikes on the Washington side too, but Oregon is the more popular one. The area is known for its waterfalls!
16. Mount Olympus Wilderness, Utah
With the exception of Big Cottonwood Canyon, the Mount Olympus Wilderness area is a dog friendly elopement location! The rugged, remote terrain is perfect for exploring, and the mountain views are absolutely incredible.
17. Mammoth Lakes, California
The entire town of Mammoth Lakes is dog friendly, including many of the hotels! Outside of town, you’ll find hiking trails and hot springs – though dogs aren’t allowed in the hot springs (they probably won’t be too interested anyway), you can soak in natural pools while your pup explores.
18. Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
Idaho is a really underrated elopement location! Its mountains, alpine lakes, hot springs, and natural scenery are picturesque, but more remote than the rest of the pacific northwest. The Sawtooth mountains are a great place to elope for mountain views!
19. Flathead Lake, Montana
Flathead Lake is a lake outside of Whitefish, Montana. There are several state parks surrounding the lake, and it’s a great place for kayaking, swimming, or just enjoying the mountain views!
20. Artist Point, Washington
Artist Point is one of the most picturesque places in Washington State. It’s easily accessible from the parking lot, and the short mile long path will lead you to unreal views of the jagged peaks!
Eloping With Your Dog?
As an elopement photographer, and more importantly, a dog mom, I know how incredible the bond with your pets can be! For your elopement, you’ll need a photographer who will love on your dog and make sure you get lots of photos of them in that cute bowtie. Contact me to start planning!