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Glacier National Park in Winter – Elopement Guide

The Journal

Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise in the mountains of Montana. Established in 1910, it’s home to the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road and is a popular spot for backpacking, camping, boating, and cycling. Most of these activities are for those who love summertime adventures, but Glacier National Park in winter is an equally stunning landscape, and one that we think is perfect for a wintertime elopement!

Why Elope in Glacier National Park in Winter?

Glacier is most popular during the summer months (the summer season runs from about May to September). Not only will it be less crowded in the winter, but flights and lodging tend to be less expensive in the winter season as well. If you love snow, Montana is the place to be in the wintertime! In addition to your elopement ceremony, you can snowshoe, hike, cross-country ski, and more. No matter the season, Glacier has some of the most jaw-dropping views we’ve ever seen, and that alone makes it worth it for a memorable elopement experience. 

Weather Considerations

Isn’t it freezing cold in Montana in the winter? Yes, yes it is! The average high temperature between December and February in Glacier National Park is about 30-32 degrees. Don’t worry, a winter elopement here is still totally possible! Here’s a few things we highly, highly recommend you have with you to brave the elements:

  • A winter parka
  • Winter boots and wool socks (make sure your boots have good traction too, so you don’t slip on ice!)
  • Fleece leggings
  • Mittens/gloves
  • Hand warmers like these from Amazon

As long as you layer up, an elopement at Glacier National Park in winter will be absolutely amazing!

Permits & Licenses

Any wedding ceremony, elopement, or vow exchange inside the park requires a Special Use Permit. There is a set list of locations where you can hold your ceremony, which can be found here. Check out which locations are open year-round and which are restricted to peak season (summer) to find the perfect spot for your winter elopement. Fill out the Special Use Permit application here, and mail it in along with the $125 payment fee. You can find the full list of FAQs about getting married in Glacier here, and we recommend looking this page over thoroughly in addition to reading the information in our guide!

In addition to the Special Use Permit, you’ll want to consider your marriage license! For an elopement, there are several ways to go about making it legal – you can fill out your marriage license in your home state and file it before your elopement in Glacier, have a Montana marriage license ready to sign at your elopement in the park, or hold your ceremony and fill out your license after you return home. 

Lodging Near Glacier National Park

Because of heavier snowfall, a lot of the park closes in the wintertime. This means that finding a place to stay inside the park isn’t going to be your best option for a winter elopement. Instead, consider finding a place nearby in Kalispell or Whitefish.

You can also go camping inside Glacier, either with a backcountry camping permit or by staying at the RV camp at Apgar Picnic Area. 

Another option is to find a cute Airbnb that can serve as your place to stay and a cute getting-ready location for you and your partner before your elopement. This cute tiny house in Glacier Park or this Whitefish loft are two great options! 

Activities at Glacier National Park in Winter

One of the many things we love about elopements is the ability to make them super unique. And we believe that it isn’t just your ceremony that should be special, but your entire experience! Here are some specifics to help get your creative juices flowing as you’re planning your day (or days!) and the activities you’d like to do with your partner. 

  • Hiking: Apgar Lookout, Fish Creek to Apgar, Apikuni Falls
  • Visit Lake Macdonald
  • Snowshoeing: there are several ranger-led programs for snowshoeing, and you have the option to hire a guide
  • Skiing: Apgar-West Glacier, St. Mary, Two Medicine
  • Dog Sledding: this local business is open daily, family-friendly, and you’ll see a ton of other wildlife on the way!

More questions about eloping at Glacier National Park in winter? Reach out to us here! We also have a guide here of 7 Elopement Planning Tips to help you put together your elopement.

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