How and Where to Elope in the Columbia River Gorge · Wild Earth Weddings
Wild Earth Weddings

How and Where to Elope in the Columbia River Gorge

Latourell Falls Elopement in the Columbia River Gorge
Latourell Falls Elopement in the Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge area is a popular destination for Portland metro area hikers and nature lovers. Its majestic waterfalls are also a beautiful backdrop for intimate weddings and elopements. I’ve created this guide to help you understand exactly how you can elope among the beautiful natural features, lush forests, and stunning waterfalls along the Columbia River.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, part of the National Forest Service, maintains the trails and day use areas in the Gorge.

Columbia River Gorge Elopement Regulations:

  • No Exclusive Use

You may not reserve or have exclusive use of any of these public areas. Avoid crowds by eloping on a weekday.

  • No Outside Vendors (including Officiants)

Outside vendors are not allowed because this is considered commercial use of public lands. The outside vendor rule also applies to officiants and celebrants.You can have a friend officiate your marriage, as long as they are not being paid.

  • Leave No Trace

Don’t plan to include decorations, or throw rice, confetti, birdseed, flower petals, etc as these are stictly not allowed. You can not have any impact on the land or other visitors’ experiences. Don’t create a mess and make sure to leave the area as you found it!

  • It’s free!

It is free to elope and hold weddings in the Columbia River Gorge, and groups fewer than 75 do not need to apply for a permit. (Most areas in the Scenic Area are not able to accommodate more than 75 people anyway!)

Best Locations for Columbia River Gorge Elopements

  • Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls is a great place to elope or take portraits. It’s easily accessible, and is located just a short walk from the Latourell Falls Trailhead, where there is a decent sized parking lot. This waterfall towers at an impressive 250ft. Continue along the 2 mile loop to visit the upper falls for more privacy. In the winter, the water flow is usually quite forceful. In the summer months the flow often ebbs to an elegantly subdued cascade. In any season, Latourell Falls is a top pick for a magical waterfall elopement location.

  • Wahclella Falls

Wahclella is a farther hike than most waterfalls in the gorge, but overall clocks in with a relatively short 2.4 miles (out and back). There are some ups and downs along the trail, and you should take care not to slip. Wahclella Falls has two drops to it’s overall 350ft height.

  • Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is the most iconic waterfall in the Gorge, and you’ll certainly see why when you lay eyes on its impressive double drop fall. At 620ft, it is the tallest waterfall in the entire state of Oregon. It is also the most visited national recreation site in the state! Therefore, this location is best for wedding portraits, rather than a ceremony. Make a reservation at the Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant for a post elopement celebration!

  • Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls might be my favorite of all of the Gorge waterfalls, simply because of the perfect rock outcropping that makes for the ideal ceremony spot. Bridal Veil is a half mile walk, and has it’s own parking lot and restrooms. It is an excellent choice for a family friendly elopement or one with small children.

  • Dry Creek Falls

Dry Creek Falls is must less popular than the other picks on this list, but that’s exactly why I’ve included it. If you are eloping in on a weekend, or during the busier summer months around holidays, this waterfall is a good option. It is around 4 miles from the trailhead, and you can expect to be rewarded with few people at your destination. Dry Creek Falls is around 75ft.

Use the interactive map below to view the best waterfalls for elopements in the Columbia River Gorge!

Next: Check out more elopement planning tips for your Oregon elopement!

March 3, 2020

Wild Earth Weddings

You know, the one that always reminds you to bring extra socks on the overnight hike, and who definitely has the best podcasts queued up for the road trip.

From dreaming to planning, to the big day and after, I lend you my experience, my best ideas and inspiration, my favorite and most breathtaking locations, and the all cheering-on you need.

I create the space for you to feel easy, relaxed, and EXCITED as you treat yourselves to one heck of an adventure together.

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I believe that big weddings aren’t the right fit for everyone, and that your wedding day is an opportunity to do something different, something wild, and something completely unique.

I also believe that connecting with the earth connects you to your partner, and that wedding vows (and photos) are extra magical in the majestic landscapes of the American West.

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  1. […] Oregon’s waterfalls are truly countless- giving you many options to suit your elopement vision. Latourell, Multnomah, and Wahclella are the most easily accessible and popular falls in the Columbia River Gorge and ideal for those wishing to elope near Portland and for guests with accessibility needs. In the Willamette Valley, my favorites are Abiqua Falls, Moon Falls, and Spirit Falls. Getting married near the crushing power of thousands of gallons of flow per minute, feeling the wind and spray on your face as you commit yourself to your partner is a magical thing indeed. (Related: Where and How to Elope in the Columbia River Gorge) […]

  2. […] Read More: Where to Elope in the Columbia River Gorge […]

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