Top 5 (Local-ish) Elopement Locations with ALL the Views

Permit not required!  (For avid and beginner hikers…)

Northern California and Nevada provides absolutely stunning hiking locations, which can double as jaw-dropping marriage ceremony backdrops. I’ve done each hike below with the exception of one. I am an adventurous Marriage Officiant and if you can dream of a natural backdrop for your union, I’m in!  All you need is a marriage license from any county within the state where you’ll marry. Pack your hiking boots, bring some water, a snack, your marriage license and let’s get married!  (Wedding dress or swimsuit optional!) 

Here are my top 5 locations!

5.  Moon Rocks

Marriage License – Nevada

I love this location for two reasons- the name and the fact that the environment looks like the moon.  This area is popular for camping, dirt biking and off roading.  I’ve married one couple in this location and the backdrop made for amazing photos.  The couple also hiked to a higher elevation and had pictures taken via drone.  During the ceremony, the locals paused dirt biking to allow us to have a peaceful moment. 

Moon Rocks, Photography by Kendall Town

4.  Mt. Rose

Marriage License – Nevada

At 10,776 feet, the views at the top are unbeatable!  This 11.8 mile loop is fairly easy with the exception of the last climb to the top.  On your way to the summit, you will pass a waterfall where you can choose to incorporate into your ceremony or wait until you get to the very top.  It can get crowded on non-windy days on the weekend, so it is recommended to get there early or plan for a weekday.  Sunrise ceremony, anyone?

Mt. Rose Waterfall, Photo by Me
View from Mt. Rose Summit, Photo by Me

3.  Sand Mountain

Marriage License – Nevada

I’ve never havenn’t been to Sand Mountain yet, but bloggers and photographers say it’s unparalled! I don’t have a great reference picture for this section yet, but I hope one of you lovely adventure-seeking couples can change that for me!

2.  Cave Rock

Marriage License – Nevada

Cave Rock also boasts spectacular views and just a short ~15 minute hike, it’s unbeatable!  I’ve married one couple at the top of this rock and I must say it was one of my favorites! The couple even brought a wedding cake for their after hike snack with real plates and utensils.  (More on this ceremony later… UPDATE: later is now – Cave Rock Elopement).

Hike up to Cave Rock, Photo by Me

1. Emerald Pools, Yuba River

Marriage License – California

One of my favorite spots from when I was a teenager/college student!  These pools are truly breathtaking and the waters are so beautiful.  I would LOVE to marry a couple here one day… and maybe they’ll be adventurous enough to get married inside one of the pools!

With a short ~1 mile trip to the pools, this location is number one on my “Marriage Officiant Bucket” list!  I may offer a deep discount if a couple wants to get married here!

Emerald Pools, Photo from blogger Charli Dawns – The Break of Dawns <- Follow her if you’re into hiking and adventure!!!

Lastly, I can’t stress this enough, if you are planning to have a ceremony at a remote location (or any location for that matter), please DO NOT forget your marriage license. Marriage Officiants are unable to legalize your marriage without the proper paperwork. See below for links to nearby county clerk’s offices by state.

Nevada Counties: Washoe | Douglas

Northern California Counties: Sierra | Nevada | Placer | El Dorado

Please comment below if you have a location to add to this list! And contact me if you and your partner would love to get married at one these locations!

During the winter months (November 1 through May 30), there is a permit that is required for areas designated as “SNO-PARK”.

Published by Mindy Haffke

Marriage Officiant located in Reno, NV helping couples through the post process of engagement!

5 thoughts on “Top 5 (Local-ish) Elopement Locations with ALL the Views

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