Top 7 Best Places to Elope in Montana
Glacier National Park has the reputation as one of the most stunning elopement locations in the western U.S. But if you’re looking for a Montana elopement that’s a little more off the beaten path, you’ve come to the right place. I know my way around Montana (I lived there for five years, after all), and I’m going to share my favorite elopement locations that you might have never heard of. This state has so many options other than the famous national park, so let’s dive in!
1. Bozeman and the Gallatin National Forest: where city and nature meet
The great thing about Bozeman is that it’s an adorable city with great accessibility to forests and mountains. You can fly right in without having to take a massive driving trek to get there. This spot is great for adventurous and less-adventurous couples alike, since you can drive to the best views without having to hike up in your wedding day finery. Hyalite Reservoir elopements are stunning: mountains, sparkling blue water, and wind blowing in your hair are the norm. As a former local, I know all the right back roads that take you to the perfect scenic locations without the crowds.
And the exploring you do doesn’t have to be limited to the trails and the mountains. Downtown Bozeman is worth a stroll, and you’ll find tons of cute little shops to buy your new spouse a honeymoon gift.
2. Beartooth Mountains: my favorite elopement spot
My absolute favorite elopement location in Montana, the Beartooth Mountains are an outdoor-lovers paradise. You’ll barely see another soul in these craggy, remote mountains that you have to lean back to see the top of. One couple I photographed here even had a deer playing in a creek behind them in their photos! The endless fields of fireweed, a bright purple wildflower, made for a vibrant contrast. And the mountains reflected in the pools of water below made for *chef’s kiss* perfection.
The Beartooth Highway Scenic Drive is the perfect entry point to these remote mountains. Many of the view areas are easily driveable, making this an elopement location for couples who would rather avoid the hike in. You can even stop by Beartooth Basin Summer Ski Area, right on the border with Wyoming, which is the only ski area in the U.S. that is only open in the summer!
3. Central Montana: where mountains meet plains
There’s much fun to be had right on the mountainous border of Montana, too. Central Montana elopements are the perfect contrast of wide, golden plains with the towering Rockies in the background.
Here are some of my favorite Central Montana elopement locations:
- The Rocky Mountain Front of Montana: Much like the famous Front Range of Colorado but without the crowds, the Rocky Mountain Front of Montana has that stunning plains-to-mountains look that you won’t get anywhere else. Find a small town (Augusta is one of my faves!) and use that as your homebase to explore the rest of this stunning area. There are tons of activities available, from kayaking to bird-watching. Just check out this amazing guide to the Rocky Mountain Front, or reach out to me and I’ll start constructing a timeline for you!
- Sluice Boxes State Park: Right outside of Great Falls, Sluice Boxes State Park is full of towering cliffs with a sparkling creek running below. And if you elope here, you get the extra benefit of having a local show you around—my husband was stationed at the Air Force Base here for almost five years, so I know the secret spots.
- Showdown Ski Hill: A smaller ski mountain by western standards, this spot is perfect for winter elopements. There are great winter cabins to rent, which will give you allll the cozy hot chocolate vibes. I love the cute, small-town vibe of this resort, and even though I’m not the most talented skier, I promise to hit the (bunny) slopes with you at least once! Check out Adylee and Tyler’s Showdown Montana Elopement styled shoot for some winter elopement inspiration.
4. Flathead National Forest: the land of spectacular sunsets
Just outside of Glacier National Park, Flathead National Forest elopements are for the most adventurous spirits. Go off-roading, take a hike to a mountain summit, and escape the crowds of Glacier. The most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen are right here in this forest, and with me as your Montana elopement photographer, I’ll take you right to them! I also have a list of short, under-5-mile hikes that have the views you want without the gnarly elevation gain that defines so many of the hikes out west.
5. Eastern Montana: off the beaten path
For a truly unique Montana elopement experience, head east! Easern Montana is full of hidden gems that are rarely visited but deserve a spot on this list.
Hit up a small town and enjoy these stunning spots for your Eastern Montana elopement:
- Makoshika State Park: The largest state park in Montana, this spot is full of crazy cool Badlands-type formations. With a desert-like feel, Makoshika elopements are truly unique.
- Bighorn Canyon: The Grand Canyon of Montana, Bighorn is another stellar Eastern Montana elopement spot. With tons of hiking trails and endless great elopement locations, Bighorn is an undiscovered elopement gem. You can even spot bighorn rams, wild horses straight out of the movies, and sometimes a bear or two!
6. Glacier National Park: the big one
I can’t write a Montana elopement guide without including Glacier! Definitely the most popular elopement location in Montana, Glacier National Park has some of the most spectacular views in all of North America. The park can get a little crowded in the summer, so I have all the tips and tricks you need to find the perfect place to elope or propose without iphone-wielding tourists in the background. Just check out this Glacier National Park proposal I photographed! And if you’re sold on Glacier, read my post on how to plan the best Glacier National Park elopement ever, as well as my top list of places to elope in the park.
But, if you take away one thing from this post, I want you to know that Glacier is not the only Montana elopement location! There are so many other amazing, less-crowded spots that only a former local (cough cough me cough cough) can show you!
7. Endless hidden gems
After five years of living here, I’ve learned my way around, to say the least. If none of these spots strike your fancy or if you want something that only a local can show you, I’m your girl! Just head to my contact page and let’s get chatting.