Yosemite National Park: A Magical Wilderness in Northeast California
Yosemite Elopements: Best Spots & Tips to Know Before You Say “I Do”
Yosemite is without a doubt one of the most uniquely stunning places on earth. Its outstanding natural beauty draws in people from all over the world, which makes it the perfect destination for an elopement. There are hundreds of incredible spots to perform the ceremony, plus exploring with your photographer to get those incredible moments is a blast! If you’re contemplating eloping in Yosemite National Park, there are a few things you’ll need to know. I’ll provide you with some of the best spots and tips for your special day in Yosemite.
Amazing locations in Yosemite
There are tons of incredible spots for your ceremony or romantic photos to be taken in Yosemite National Park. Here are just a few of my favorites.
This is hands down one of the most breathtaking spots in all of Yosemite National Park. After the hour drive up hill, you’ll find incredible views of the valley and Half Dome! There are also tons of gorgeous pine trees and other scenery nearby that will add to the already amazing vibes. Also, the sunsets at Glacier simply do not compare to anything you’ve ever seen. Simply magical.
Taft Point is at the end of a mile hike right down the road from Glacier Point. I actually prefer Taft point to Glacier Point for photos. The hike is gorgeous and there is a huge expanse of cliff views. Taft Point overlooks El Capitan and Yosemite Falls (no Half Dome views). It’s 7500 feet from the valley below. There are so many amazing spots here but the one pictured below is the most iconic. It’s extremely dangerous though so you need to wear the right kind of shoes! At sunset, you can see the light streaming across the valley below.
On the way back from Glacier Point, you’ll find Tunnel View. It’s a famous landmark with iconic views including The Three Brothers, El Capitan, Bridal Veil Fall, and the Half Dome. Imagine exchanging vows with your love with a view this epic! It’s a once in a lifetime moment you’ll never forget.
Surrounded by beautiful trees and mountains, this “beach” location is pretty unbeatable. El Capitan is in the background too and you might even get some reflections of it in the water if conditions are right. It’s a great river spot with awesome backdrops and perfect for a small wedding ceremony.
This whole area has wonderful views, especially of the lower Yosemite Falls and nearby Sentinel Meadow. There are many meadows, trees, and other hidden gems around the bridge as well. It’s a good starting point for hiking to nearby destinations.
It’s a tiny spot on the south side that offers iconic views and plenty of parking if you have some friends and family tagging along!
The Merced River
Running through Yosemite’s valley, this river offers a ton of amazing shooting spots.
Lower Yosemite Falls
With Yosemite Valley Lodge directly across the street, there’s a lot of parking, it’s flat and easily walkable. It’s very beautiful!
Along with all of these locations, there are plenty of “off the beaten path” areas we may find along the way. I may yell “freeze!” at a random location if I envision something absolutely beautiful through my lens. With so many other nooks and crannies in Yosemite, it’s truly an incredible location.
Get a Permit
Even if your elopement will only consist of you two, the photographer, and officiant, you still need a permit. U.S. National Parks allow ceremonies to take place on their grounds through a “special use’ permit which requires an upfront fee of $150 at Yosemite. If you risk it and don’t get a permit, think of how awful it would be to have to pause your big day if a ranger stops by to see your (nonexistent) permit? It’s not worth it. Plus the money goes towards the national parks!
Tip: Plan to submit your permit application a few months in advance just to be safe.
Beware of Altitude Sickness
At 4,000 ft in Yosemite, most people will be fine, but it’s when you start to climb other spots such as Glacier Point where it gets iffy, especially if it’s hot! If you feel dizzy, sit down, take deep breaths and sip water. It’ll only last a few minutes, but it’s smart to take precautions and know beforehand it could happen to you!
What to Bring Along?
- Change of clothes
- Hiking shoes/comfortable shoes
- Jacket/hoodie (mountains or higher points can get cold!)
- Toilet paper/wet wipes (bathrooms are scarce)
- Props for pictures (rugs, flower petals, cute blanket, etc.)
- Flashlight (if you’re out near sunset)
- Umbrella/rain jacket if there’s a chance of rain
One of the most popular reasons to elope is that couples don’t want to deal with the stress of wedding planning. Who can blame them? There’s no guest list, no reception planning, and a whole lot less money spent. Elopements are very special because it’s entirely about celebrating the love and commitment being shared together. It’s for you two, no one else!
Say goodbye to stress, and say hello to unbelievable photos and a fun-filled day of memories. Yosemite will not disappoint!
I can help make your day exactly the way you envision and leave you with beautiful photographs that will last a lifetime. Learn more about me and what makes me different than other wedding photographers and get in touch.