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Lake Cushman is a gorgeous scenic lake here in Washington, with mountains and pine forests around the serene water. It’s the perfect place for an adventurous elopement, whether you tie the knot along the forested trails, on the shore, or even take a kayak out onto the water. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to plan a unique Lake Cushman wedding or elopement!
Here’s what you’ll find in this Lake Cushman Wedding & Elopement Guide:
- About Lake Cushman
- Lake Cushman Wedding Venues
- When to Elope at Lake Cushman
- Tips for Your Lake Cushman Elopement
- Lake Cushman Elopement Packages
About Lake Cushman
Lake Cushman is located in the Olympic National Forest, right outside the national park. It’s great for picnics, swimming, kayaking or paddle boarding, and hiking the stunning trails in the surrounding mountains! It’s the perfect place for any adventurous wedding day, and the national forest location means that most places around Lake Cushman won’t require a permit for your elopement ceremony – but there can be exceptions, so always double check.
Lake Cushman Wedding Venues
When you’re planning your elopement, the Lake Cushman “wedding venues” are actually stunning outdoor spots, where you can tie the knot amongst tree groves and mountain backdrops! Choosing a place to elope is incredibly exciting, and whether you want an easy to reach spot or a challenging hike you’ll find the perfect place. Here are a few of the best places to elope around Lake Cushman!
Formerly known as Lake Cushman State Park, Skokomish Park is one of the most popular places to go for views of the lake. You can tie the knot on the shore, or take one of the trails through the dense forest to get married amongst the tree groves! It’s also a great spot to swim, launch a kayak, or have a celebratory dinner with your guests in one of the covered picnic sites.
For something more remote, you can hike the Mount Ellinor trail. Once you get through the forest, you’ll walk through wildflower meadows and views of the lake below. At the summit, you’ll likely meet the mountain goat who hangs out there, and you’ll be rewarded with some of the most amazing mountain views! The trail is steep and definitely a challenge, but the scenery is just jaw dropping.
On the drive up to the Mount Ellinor trailhead, you’ll drive along national forest roads – if you want to find a super private spot to exchange vows, or a free place to camp, you can explore some of these too!
Copper Creek is a less popular trail, with secluded forest scenery and gorgeous moss. If you want greenery and plant life around when you tie the knot, this is the perfect place to go! You’ll walk along the creek, then ascend to views of the lake below. You can complete the 5 mile loop, or just walk part of it until you find the perfect place to exchange vows.
When to Elope at Lake Cushman
Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit Lake Cushman, and it’s a great time to elope. The weather is warm and sunny, mountain trails are snow free, and you get a break from the rainy days Washington is known for! To avoid the crowds, I recommend eloping on a weekday, and planning your ceremony for sunrise or sunset.
Spring and fall are the best times to elope at Lake Cushman if you want less people around on your wedding day. May and June, and September and October will give you a better shot at good weather, but definitely be prepared for some drizzle. From late October to early May, it rains often and most days are pretty gloomy.
It doesn’t snow much around the shores of Lake Cushman, but it’s definitely cold in the winter. The higher elevations see a lot of snow, so hiking in the mountains will require some snowshoes!
Tips for Your Lake Cushman Elopement
Planning an elopement is unique, and so different from a traditional wedding! So when you get married at Lake Cushman, keep these things in mind as you plan.
Research Marriage Laws
A marriage license is required to legally tie the knot. To get married at Lake Cushman, you’ll need a marriage license from the state of Washington, which you can get at any county clerk’s office. If you live in the state, I recommend finding the office closest to you. But if you’re traveling for your elopement, King County allows you to apply online and get your marriage license in the mail!
After you get your marriage license, it must be used within 90 days, and you’ll need an officiant and two witnesses to sign.
Find a Cozy Place to Stay
When you elope, the place you stay in will be a big part of your experience! Find something cozy to come back to after a day of adventures, like this adorable A-frame in the woods, or this waterfront cottage.
Practice Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is important anytime you explore the outdoors, so to make sure your elopement is eco-friendly and that you’re protecting the fragile nature around Lake Cushman, familiarize yourselves with these principles! We often have a bigger impact than we realize, so being aware of how we affect the ecosystems and the environment around us makes a huge difference.
These are the 7 principles to remember, and how they might apply on your elopement day.
- Plan ahead and prepare – download offline maps of any trails, be prepared if you go into the backcountry, and make sure you know what to expect!
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces – stay on the trail and camp at established sites.
- Dispose of waste properly – pack out anything you bring in.
- Leave what you find – don’t take anything that belongs there!
- Minimize campfire impacts – check for fire bans, make sure you know how to safely set up a fire ring, and only use branches and leaves that have already fallen.
- Respect wildlife – don’t approach or feed wild animals.
- Be considerate of other visitors – don’t block trails or walkways when you have your ceremony, and keep music and noise to a minimum.
Lake Cushman Elopement Packages
If you’re ready for an adventurous wedding at Lake Cushman, I’d love to help you plan it! As an elopement photographer, my job is to make sure you have everything you need to plan your day. I’ll give you personalized location recommendations, local vendors and places to stay, a timeline for the day, and more!
Contact me to learn more about Lake Cushman elopement packages, and let’s start planning your one-of-a-kind wedding!