I’m known for capturing those didn’t-know-you-were-there shots and busting a move on the dance floor just to get those perfect candids. I also work with you to ensure we incorporate your style and story into your engagement and wedding photos!
How to Plan your Dream Artist Point Elopement: A Complete Guide.
Need help planning your elopement in the North Cascades? Still deciding where to have your PNW elopement? Well this complete guide is here to help you with everything you need in order to have the best and perfect dreamy Artist Point Elopement. Being an elopement photographer and getting to shoot up at Artist Point is seriously one of my favotite places because it’s so magical, there are TONS of great spots to adventure to, so much diversity, and it just doesn’t feel real up there. So from a photographer’s perspective, here is how to plan your dream Artist Point Elopement.
This complete guide contents:
Seriously, I got you covered, so let’s get into it!
With the Pacific Northwest being known for it’s crazy weather, the best time to adventure to Artist Point is August and September and also during the week is best for any elopement. Weekends in the summer get suuuuper busy like Mt. Rainier, so be sure to have your elopement during the week if possible.
Usually around July, the Artist Point ranger crew post updates on their Twitter and website about the road conditions and if the actual Artist Point road is open. The top part of the road is usually the part that takes the longest (the one that gets you up to see Mt. Baker and the Mt. Shuksan range) so that’s always something to keep in mind about. Heather Meadows and Picture Lake are open to the public usually before the top road to Artist Point.
So be sure to check out their road conditions updates here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/mbs/recarea/?recid=17522
I have found that adventuring up to Artist Point is the best in Early August- end of September. October can be a little unpredictable, but I’ve been up there in early October and it’s been a little chilly but still gorgeous. Just be sure to check the weather 🙂
This was early July: Snow and Artist Point top area was closed still.
This was August: All Open and stunning
This was September: A bit of a Stormy Day
And this was early October- like October 3rd: Perfect Conditions/ We got Lucky
Artist Point and The North Cascades is one of the few national parks that currently DO NOT require a wedding/ special event permit. Woohoo! But that means we have to do our part in keeping this amazing place awesome and not trash it, okay?! Okay, cool 😉
There are no ranger stations that stop anyone from entering into the park, and there are a few vault toilets at the top Artist Point area, and Heather Meadows Visitor center that is just before the top.
Camping is prohibited at Artist Point from May 15-November 15. This includes tents, RVs, vans, and sleeping in cars.
The Mt. Baker area is filled with so many amazing spots to stop at along the way to the Artist Point top and all around it. Here we are going to cover the four main locations that you’ll want to consider for your Artist Point Elopement. Let’s gooooooo!
Picture Lake is the first stop on your way to the top (past the Mt. Baker Ski Resort, but that’s closed in the summer).
It has parking all around the lake and it’s super easy to walk around. The paths are paved and some wooden bridges. You can’t go wrong with having your elopement ceremony here. It’s stunning, there are a few docks where most elopement ceremonies take place that overlook Mt. Shuksan and her reflection in the lake. It’s very picturesque and always worth stopping at for some photos.
Heather Meadows is one of my favorite spots to stop at for elopements and sessions because it’s got all the variety. You’re literally in this crater and all around you are lush hills with trees, rock carvings, and little lakes. Most of the main trails are paved, but you can walk on the lava flows (it’s perfectly safe) down to more little hidden spots all along this little valley. It’s gorgeous and always a good backup if Artist Point is closed. My husband calls this spot like Lord of the Rings and it’s just so magical and doesn’t feel real.
The main event! Artist Point is such an amazing location for your elopement and it’s great for all kinds of guests as well. If you have any ADA guests, or people who don’t want to hike at all for your ceremony, this area is perfect. It’s a little hilly, but mostly paved so you can find a little spot that speaks to you and everyone can access easily right off the parking lot.
Example: Kyle and Analissa had some parents who couldn’t hike and walk very well, but the path from the parking lot to their ceremony spot overlooking the valley was perfect and no one struggled to get there.
Probably the most seen on social media and all over my website as well, Huntoon Point is my favorite spot for Artist point Elopements because of the Mt. Shuksan range reflection, it looks like couples are in a cloud, and it’s just so magical. It’s about a 20-30 min vertical hike up to this point, but totally worth it. There are great spots along the way to stop and capture Mt. Baker as well to your right, but getting up to the top is so peaceful and incredible.
This is a great spot for sunset photos for couples. So after the ceremony down at Picture Lake or Heather Meadows, the couple and your photographer can hike up to this point for some sunset/ blue hour photos to get some adventure vibes in there for you. It’s private and so so so gorgeous.
There are literally tons of great cabins to rent along the way to Artist Point so you’re nearby and can explore the area as much as you like. Mt. Baker Ski Resort has tons of awesome recommendations listed on their website, and if you search near Mt. Baker, Deming, Glacier, etc in AirBnB or VRBO sites, you’ll find some great options for all amounts of guests. So feel free to search for that yourself, but here are some cute cabins that I’ve had the pleasure of photographing for this area to make your Artist Point Elopement even better:
This Adorable A-Frame:
Some other accommodations that are incredible are right in the heart of Bellingham, WA. Bellingham is the best city in Washington (in my opinion) and there are so many great places to stay like the Chrysalis Inn + Spa, The Fairhaven Village Inn, Hilton Home2 Suites, and so much more. You’re only about 1 hour and 30 min from Artist Point so you’re never too far away from an adventure.
For any elopement, you’ll want to pack what you’ll need for your wedding festivities and some basic hiking supplies as well. We’ll break it down into two groups of items so everything is covered.
Gloves or winter gear/ jackets, warm socks, etc.
Little emergency kit
Bug spray/ sunscreen
Maybe extra toilet paper
Marriage license + pen
Parking Permit: NW Forest Pass or ATBP
Change of shoes if want to use hiking shoes
Touch up makeup
Champagne to pop + glasses
Any fun things you want to bring along like pizza to eat
Lanterns (I’ve got you there!)
Chairs for your guests if you want
Your Cake + knife + plates
How to Plan your Dream Artist Point Elopement
Obviously, there are tons of different things and ways you can set up your Artist Point Elopement. So these timelines I have listed below are just examples of past elopements I’ve had the pleasure of photographing. When planning your dream Artist Point elopement, you can do whatever you want to do and adventure wherever you want to adventure to.
Elopements are such a more intimate and freeing option than larger scale wedding days because you can do literally whatever you want to do. If you want to have your first dance and eat pizza on a mountain top, do it. If you want to jump in a hot tub and have some coffee together writing vow books, do it. If you want to chill in a hammock before getting ready and heading up the mountain, by all means, do what makes you both happy and relaxed. It’s so fun and it just brings more of your relationship and your personality into your wedding day.
If you ever have any questions about anything Artist Point Elopement related, feel free to reach out to me through my contact form here. I’ve been shooting elopements for 8 years now and if you’re looking for any advice on planning, coordinating, or anything, just let me know!
AND if you’re interested in working together for your Artist Point Elopement, just shoot me a message and let’s adventure together!! Thanks so much for reading through this guide and seeing everything you’ll need to elope up at Artist Point. It’s such a dreamy location and I wish I could just live up there! Hope this helps and happy planning! Cheers!
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