How to Elope in Yosemite


Yosemite is one of those places that is always magical. I love when couples inquire with me and ask about a Yosemite elopement, because I know they’re looking for something unique. It can also be tricky to elope at Yosemite because of annual closures, permits, and lack of information. Well, that’s where I come in. I’ve photographed many Yosemite elopements, so I know all the best spots to go, when to go, and the elopement process. I don’t want to give you information overload, so I’m breaking down this guide into easy bits: When to Go, The Details, Where to Stay, and Where to Elope. Yosemite is a pretty big place and if you’re not familiar with it, it can feel daunting. Don’t let it deter you! My guide will give you all the info you need to know about how to elope in Yosemite. Let’s get into it!

What’s the best time to get married at Yosemite? // How to Elope in Yosemite

Honestly, there are pro’s and con’s to all four seasons when it comes to getting married at Yosemite. Summer is great because there are no closures, but then you have to contend with crowds. Early Spring could be nice, but there might still be snow in some areas. Here’s the breakdown of each season:

Spring – Honestly, mid to late Spring is one of the best times to visit Yosemite. Even though there may be some crowds (Spring break), it will still be less than in the summer time. Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of moderate weather, so you shouldn’t have to worry about sweating through your wedding clothes! Also, if you’re wanting to elope near a water fall, Spring is the time for peak water flow, meaning you’ll get a roaring falls instead of a trickle!

Summer – Undoubtedly, summer is the most popular season for both tourists and weddings/elopements at Yosemite. There’s definitely a reason- warm weather, long days, gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, the list goes on. While I love summer at Yosemite, it’s a lot harder to find a private spot to elope. This is especially the case for the more popular locations on the list below.

Fall – I absolutely love late fall elopements at Yosemite! Maybe it’s the changing colors of the leaves, or the crisp bite of colder weather, I don’t know, but it’s amazing! Fall is also one of the times with the least amount of crowds (without having to contend with too much snow). Just remember that by November, a lot of roads and areas start closing due to weather, so double check your elopement spot before setting your dates.

Winter – Yes, it’s possible to elope at Yosemite in the winter! Your locations will be limited to Yosemite Valley, since Taft Point and Glacier Point are closed for the season, but a winter-white snow elopement is absolutely breathtaking at Yosemite! It will be COLD, so plan to wear clothes that you can layer under, and bring jackets! Nothing is worth getting frostbite for!

How to elope in Yosemite

How much does it cost to elope at Yosemite National Park? // How to Elope in Yosemite

An elopement in Yosemite definitely varies in cost, because it all depends on what matters to you. I know how helpful it is to have estimates in your mind, so I wanted to include some of the things that (almost) all Yosemite elopements will require!

Lodging- $200-$750 per night

Vendors (this one will vary)- $5k-$10k

Gas Mileage / Airfare- $100-$2k

Permits & Fees- $350

How to elope in Yosemite

Do I need a permit to get married at Yosemite National Park? // How to Elope in Yosemite

Yes! You absolutely will need a permit for a Yosemite elopement. The nonrefundable permit cost is $150, and if event monitoring is required (depending on your party size), it will be and additional $50/hour. Even if you’re simply taking wedding-related photos, and no ceremony is planned, you will still have to apply for a wedding permit. You can apply for the permit up to 1 year before your elopement day, and no less than 21 days prior to your event. If you’re also wanting a marriage license, Mariposa County is the closest place to get one, for around $60. I always remind my couples that everyone will still have to pay entrance fees, $30 per vehicle, even with a wedding permit.

How to elope in Yosemite

Where should I stay for my Yosemite elopement?

There’s quite a variety of lodging at Yosemite, from hotels to cabins, to campgrounds. Here are some of my favorite spots! Check your dates to see exact pricing, because it varies significantly throughout the year!


Tenaya Lodge– A full-service resort located 2 miles away from Yosemite’s South Gate and minutes from the Giant Sequoia grove. Tenaya Lodge has a few different room options: hotel rooms, suites, cottage rooms, and 2-bedroom cabins. This hotel also has an amazing spa, multiple pools and hot tubs, and tons of outdoor activities for all ages!

The Mariposa Lodge– This cozy hotel, about 1 hour from Yosemite in Mariposa, has recently renovated rooms and is the perfect option for budget-minded couples.

The Ahwhanee – This unique hotel located inside Yosemite is actually a historic heritage, listed as a National Historic Landmark! The Ahwhanee also offers hotel rooms, suites, and cottages to stay in. If you want to stay at the heart of Yosemite, this is the spot for you!

Autocamp Yosemite – This is quickly becoming one of my favorite lodging spots near Yosemite! They have adorable air streams and glamping tents as well as tons of nearby amenities. It’s great for couples who don’t want to stay in a traditional hotel, but still want something luxurious.


Red Fox Retreat– A cute A-frame cabin with 1 bedroom and a loft space, this spot has loads of natural light and gorgeous views thanks to the picture windows on 1/2 the house!

Yosemite Cozy Studio– This cozy studio is perfectly located in the park, and the hosts provide complimentary breakfast and guaranteed entrance into the park to their guests! So thoughtful!

Chalet Studio– The chalet studio, with 2 beds and a mini kitchen, is super close to Glacier Point! Beautifully located in the hillside, it even has a BBQ outside for cooking.

How to elope in Yosemite
How to elope in Yosemite

Where should I elope in Yosemite? // How to Elope in Yosemite

Glacier Point

With amazing views of Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome, Glacier Point is one of the most popular spots for Yosemite elopements. It’s easily accessible via car between late May and October/November, but only accessible via cross-country skiing between mid-December and March! If you don’t want to drive, you can also take a bus via the Glacier Point Tour, however there isn’t a shuttle service between Glacier Point and Yosemite Valley. From the parking lot, there’s a very short, paved trail that will take you to some more picture-worthy spots!

Taft Point

Taft Point is pretty much Glacier Point, but without the stone walls and guardrails. So, if you’re not afraid of heights, I’d definitely recommend it! With amazing views of El Capitan and Yosemite Valley, it’s open between June and October. The trail isn’t difficult, and the crowds are usually not too bad, especially in the early morning. Pro Tip- The parking lot for Taft Point is shared with Sentinel Dome, and fills up quickly. If the lot is full when you arrive, park along Glacier Point Road!

El Capitan Meadow

El Capitan has gained tons of attentions from climbers all over the world, and the meadow is the best place to view this gorgeous spot. Personally, I think the Cathedral Spires, across from El Capitan, are just as impressive. This spot is open year-round, which is perfect for couples looking to elope during the off-season. Keep in mind that the path to the meadow is dirt. If you’re looking for easily access, there are some spots along the road with similar views you can get from the car!

How to elope in Yosemite

Tips for Eloping at Yosemite National Park

  • Visit the park and the different elopement site options before finalizing your decision
  • No chairs, tables or other furniture is allowed at ceremony sites
  • Pets aren’t allowed at any ceremony sites, but are allowed in the park
  • There is a chance of smoky air conditions, especially in summer and fall
  • Balloons, signs, and other decorations are not allowed in the park
  • Road closures can occur at any time due to winter weather, fire, or rockfall
How to elope in Yosemite

Looking for a photographer for your Yosemite elopement?

Are you planning to elope in Yosemite? I’d love to chat with you about your elopement plans! Click here to fill out my inquiry form, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible! While you’re here, check out this Yosemite wedding and this Yosemite elopement for more inspiration!

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