We are a husband & wife team. Based in the mountains of Montana & Washington State, we’ve been photographing and filming couples since the start of 2021.
Welcome to our blog where you’ll discover elopement planning resources, as well as beautiful galleries from real weddings!
It’s our firm belief that you should be able to elope however you want to. And that includes being able to have your furry four-legged friend join if that’s what you want. So, we created this comprehensive guide on dog-friendly elopement locations in one of our favorite places: Washington State.
One of our most common places for elopements is one of the three National Parks in Washington: Mt. Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic. However, there are a lot of restrictions for dogs in National Parks for their own safety, as well as the safety of plants and wildlife.
There are 7 Leave No Trace principles that always apply when you’re adventuring in the outdoors. They are: (1) Plan ahead and prepare, (2) Travel and camp on durable surfaces, (3) Dispose of waste properly, (4) Leave what you find, (5) Minimize campfire impacts, (6) Respect wildlife, and (7) Be considerate of other visitors. But there is another great acronym for making sure that you Leave No Trace when out in nature with your pup!
BARK stands for: Bag your pets poop, Always wear a leash, Respect wildlife, and Know where you can go. Make sure to always follow this acronym when taking your dog into the great outdoors!
Mt. Rainier National Park has very strict rules about pets. Pets are not allowed in these locations:
It might seem silly, but this is super important for various reasons. Your pet’s urine and fecal matter can impact wildlife, as well as local plant life. Plus, there are a lot of dangers in Mt. Rainier that pose a risk to your furry friend!
It’s important to keep your pet on a leash that is no more than 6 feet long (1.8 meters) at all times. Even though pets are not allowed on trails, you can have them in the parking lot. However, we don’t recommend bringing your pet to the park just to leave them in the car or in a crate while you hike. It’s much better to either plan hikes outside of the park that allow pets, or leave your dog at home.
Right before Paradise, there is a paved trail called the Longmire Historic District Walking Tour that allows pets!
While pets aren’t allowed on trails inside the park, there are so many amazing trails with views of Rainier outside the park that allow pets! Some of those hikes include the Noble Knob Trail, SunTop Lookout, Goat Lake Trail, and High Rock Lookout. In the summertime, you are also allowed to take your pet on the walking trails within the Crystal Mountain trail system. Dogs are actually allowed inside the Mt. Rainier Gondola as well!
Just like Mount Rainier, North Cascades National Park is pretty strict with their rules about where your doggo can go. The only place that dogs are allowed is on the Pacific Crest Trail and within 50 feet of paved roads. Of course, just like Rainier, it’s important to keep your pup on a leash at all times.
In the North Cascades, your dog is allowed within the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas! These are both awesome places to take your pet, while making sure that you’re abiding by the rules of BARK. Both Ross Lake and Lake Chelan are beautiful lakes that offer opportunities for hiking, camping, swimming, and water sports!
Out of the three National Parks in Washington, Olympic National Park offers the most accessibility for you and your furry best friend! Olympic is also the most diverse National Park in Washington with the Pacific Coast on the furthest western edge, the stunning mountains of the Olympic range, and the temperate rainforest of the Hoh Rain Forest.
Some of the best places to take your pup are the Peabody Creek Trail, any of the beaches between the Hoh and Quinault Reservations, Madison Falls Trail, Spruce Railroad Trail, and the July Creek Loop Trail.
While the best places to take your pup might not be one of the three National Parks in Washington, there are a lot of other areas that you can explore with your dog. For example, we recommend checking out state parks, BLM land, or some of the National Forests in Washington.
There are 124 state parks in Washington, which is pretty dang awesome! Plus, state law (Washington Administrative Code 352-32-060) says that dogs are allowed in state parks so long as they are kept on a leash no longer than 8 feet, and that they are under control at all times. It’s super important to make sure you know your dog and that you work on commands to make sure your dog is obedient. Everyone should have the opportunity to feel safe taking their pup to a state park! You can camp in state parks with your pup, and take them to picnic areas and established trails. However, make sure to keep them out of park buildings or in natural area preserves.
Some of our personal favorite state parks for your furry friends include: Dash Point State Park, Cape Disappointment State Park, and Dosewallips State Park. And the best part is that all of the state parks in Washington are beautiful! Any of them would be great for an intimate elopement adventure that includes your pup.
Along with state parks in Washington, BLM Land in the Pacific Northwest is a great place to elope AND bring your doggo! BLM stands for the Bureau of Land Management. It refers to the public lands in Washington. In order to explore the BLM Land in Washington state, you might need a Discover Pass. But there are plenty of places you can explore without needing a pass. It’s just important to continue to follow the principles of Leave No Trace and BARK.
Along with state parks and BLM Land, National Forests in Washington are amazing locations for a dog-friendly elopement. There are 5 National Forests with tons of trails and easily accessible locations to explore with your four-legged bestie.
The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is located on the west side of the Cascade mountain range between the Canadian border and Mt. Rainier National Park. This is one of the most common National Forests for elopements because it has some incredible trails and lookouts such as the Heybrook Lookout Trail, Lake Ann, and the Kelly Butte Trail.
Even though this couple didn’t have a furry friend with them, this trail is part of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and it is pet-friendly: Mount Baker National Forest Sunrise Elopement
Gifford Pinchot National Forest covers a lot of land and is full of lush old growth forests, glaciers, meadows full of wildflowers, and volcanic peaks. We often drive through this National Forest when heading to Mt. Rainier.
Surprisingly enough, this is actually one of the oldest National Forests in the entire United States. And with over 1.3 million acres of land, there are so many incredible forest service roads, hikes, and campgrounds to explore! Some awesome dog-friendly spots include: Bunker Hill Trail, Lower Falls Recreation Area Campground, and East Fork Trail.
The Olympic National Forest is located on the peninsula and has almost 300 miles of trails. There are about 20 campgrounds in the National Forest. Leashed pets are allowed on all the trails in the Olympic National Forest!
Here’s an awesome map of the Olympic Peninsula with all of the dog-friendly locations!
This National Forest is in the northeastern-most part of Washington state. A lot of our elopements and resource blogs are centered around the western part of Washington, but the eastern section of this incredible state is equally as remarkable. Colville National Forest has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, along with tons of rivers, lakes, and campgrounds. It borders Canada and Idaho. One of the most popular hiking trails with great mountain views is Abercrombie Mountain. This area of Washington is a lot less popular than the westernmost parts, but it’s definitely worth your time!
With about 4 million acres of land in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails, tons of places to camp, and lots of opportunities for camping in the backcountry. The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is on the eastern side of the Cascades, and puppers are allowed on almost ALL trails here!
There are certain locations in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness where dogs aren’t allowed, such as The Enchantments, Snow Lakes, and Colchuck Lake for example. In all other areas, pups are allowed on leashes and under control! Please make sure to keep them away from wildlife and check their paw pads! There are quite a few hikes that have rocky areas.
You can also fish, climb, off-road, skii, and snowmobile! And a lot of these activities can include your furry friend, too.
These are just A FEW of the amazing campgrounds in Washington that allow pups! If you’re looking to take your dog on a camping trip, check out this link to find even more campgrounds.
If you do your research online, there are actually a ton of dog-friendly hiking trails in Washington state! And there are a ton of awesome locations that your furry friend will LOVE exploring with you! Below are some great trails for you and your four-legged best friend.
There are so many incredible ways to include your dog in your elopement! One of the most obvious ways is to have them present for your special day. You can include them in your getting ready moments at your Airbnb, or have them be a ring bearer or flower pup for your ceremony. They could also be your Best Pup or Pup of Honor!
And while this whole guide is centered around trying to make it so that your doggo can be there on your special day, we know that it isn’t always possible. But fear not! There are ways to include your pup if they aren’t able to physically be there. You can include your doggo in your vows or bring an image of them to include in your portraits like this couple did!
You can also add your pupper into your details with a custom cake topper or on your elopement invitations! And if you aren’t able to do that, maybe you can Facetime a family member or friend during your elopement and have them put your dog on the phone!
There are a ton of beautiful places to stay in Washington that will allow your furry best friend. Just always make sure that you respect the rental that you’re staying at. Clean up after your dog always!
This is Juneau, the unofficial mascot of Venture to Elope! She’s our German Shepherd puppy. She loves being outside, swimming, chasing frisbees and tennis balls, playing in the snow, and meeting new friends. She’s been helping us find the best pet-friendly trails for your big day!
If you’re ready to book your dog friendly elopement with us, make sure to fill out our contact form. We’ll get back to you within 48 hours to schedule a Zoom call. Hopefully we’ll get to meet your furry best friend(s), too!
Hannah and Adam are a Montana and PNW-based Elopement Photographer + Videographer Team traveling across the US and abroad to capture couples' special days. They firmly believe love is love, Black lives matter, and in respecting our planet.
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