Crater Lake National Park will forever be one of my favorite lesser-known National Parks. Being the only National Park in Oregon, you would think it would be much more crowded. Though, every time I’ve been there I’ve never felt like I’m surrounded by people. This is why it made for the perfect backdrop for this elopement with Ashley + Thomas.
For starters, I want to talk a bit about Crater Lake National Park and why it’s such a magical place. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America with a depth of 1943ft. The lake was formed around 7000 years ago when Mount Mazama, which stood 12,000 feet tall erupted and collapsed in on itself, creating the crater that then filled to become what we now know as Crater Lake National Park. That being said, the water is so blue, because it only comes from rain and snow melt as there are no other inlets (or outlets) to the lake.
Crater Lake is one of my favorite National Parks to elope in, especially if you’re wanting epic views without a brutal hike. The lake is circled by a road called The Rim Drive, which, you guessed it, circles the rim of the lake giving you epic views all around the lake with little to no hiking required. It takes about an hour to drive, giving you epic (and vastly different views) of the lake the entire drive.
The steps to elope in Crater Lake National Park are relatively easy compared to the other parks!
I will always put this as the first step to any elopement, but for good reason. Most of the time, couples have no clue where to start when it comes to planning an elopement. This is why finding your elopement photographer first can help you tremendously. For instance, I help with everything from location scouting to securing permits and more – which can really help to take some of the stress off of you.
This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when eloping at Crater Lake National Park. With an annual 43ft of snow a year, Crater Lake is one of the snowiest places in the US. The official winter season lasts from November to April (though these photos were taken in late May and only 10% of the Rim Drive was open due to snow cover). While they do maintain the roads year-round, during winter, snowshoes and hiking experience would be required to elope. You can check out details on road conditions and what is open here.
Like every National Park, Crater Lake requires a permit to elope there, regardless of the number of people who will be with you. This I do for my couples as it can be a bit confusing. I highly suggest having your photographer work on securing a permit the second you’ve decided on your date as it can sometimes take months for the permitting office to secure it for you.
Now for the fun part, deciding what view of the lake you want! The most popular view (Discovery Point, where these photos were taken) is one of the easiest views you can get! With less than 5 min of hiking (I’d honestly call it walking) required. Though, if you’re wanting something different, you could go to the east side of the rim and get an epic view of Phantom Ship. Or you could even do the one hike (this one does require a good amount of hiking) down to the lake and jump in together after saying “I do”. After deciding on your location, you can decide on what time of day to say I do! When shooting around a body of water, it’s always important to take into account where the light will be. In my experience, an hour before golden hour and sunrise are the most gorgeous lighting!
Once you have your date and location secured, you can work on locking in your other vendors. Some of my favorites in the area are Meaghan with Fleurt Beauty and Morgan from Bomstraflorals (Ashley used both for this elopement!).
Click here for more tips on how to elope in a National Park.
Ready to do the dang thing? Reach out here.