Elopement Locations in Shenandoah National Park
Below is an in depth list of all the great elopement locations in the park, and videos and photos to help you decide what the best elopement location is for you!
Bearfence Trail has the best 360 degree views in Shenandoah National Park. This is a less sought out elopement location because it involves a rock scramble, and the terrain at the peak, is steep, and can’t reasonably hold a group of more than 15. If you are ok with a rock scramble, this is one of the most epic locations in the park, with a short hike, and unmatched views.
Pro Tip: Sunrise elopements here are the best! There is less foot traffic than at sunset.
Distance: 1.4-mile round trip hike
Hiking Time: 1 hour
Elevation Gain: 311 feet
Pros and Cons of eloping at Bearfence Trail
- a short 30 minute hike to the peak
- Lots of cool nooks, crannies, and caves for portraits
- Close to South Run Falls (an awesome 5.5. mile loop down to a huge secluded waterfall)
- Less than 20 minutes drive going North from the Swift Run Gap Entrance
- A rock scramble to the peak
- Tends to get a lot of hikers
- Not a lot of even standing ground at the peak
Surprise! You actually cannot have an elopement ceremony at Big Meadows. But you can do portraits and videos there! So if you want imagery at Big Meadows I’d highly suggest doing your ceremony at another nearby spot, to hit two birds with one stone.
Elopement Locations near Big Meadows
- Dark Hollow Falls (1 Minute Drive)
- Tanner’s Ridge Overlook (1 Minute Drive)
- Hawksbill Gap (9 Minutes)
- Crescent Rock Overlook (11 Minutes)
Crescent Rock Overlook
Only a 26 minute drive south, from the Thornton Gap Entrance, The Crescent Rock Overlook is a great choice for an elopement ceremony. Aside from the incredible backdrop for your ceremony, there is ample room for parking and portraits locations.
This overlook is also very close to Hawksbill Gap, which is another stellar location for portraits with an epic backdrop.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Crescent Rock Overlook
- Ample parking, and room for portraits
- Level ground, giving easy access to pets and the elderly
- Close to Hawksbill Gap (which has epic views but a lot of hiker traffic)
- 25 minute drive South from the Thornton Gap Entrance
- It’s an overlook, so you don’t have to worry about hiking to the ceremony
- There are none at this time.
Dark Hollow Falls
Just a short hike from the carpark, Dark Hollow Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in the park to get eloped at. You have the option of the upper or lower falls, and if the water is low enough, you can stand on the rocks in the stream right beyond the waterfall, giving you an epic backdrop.
Distance: 1.4-mile circuit hike
Hiking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Elevation Gain: 440 feet
Pros and Cons of eloping at Dark Hollow Falls
- 2 waterfall locations
- Lots of great photo spots on the hike to the waterfall
- Close to Hawksbill Gap (which can give you an array of waterfall and epic vista photos)
- You’re getting married at a waterfall! There are no cons!
Fishers Gap Overlook
Any overlook on Skyline Drive is a good choice for groups with elderly family or pets. Fishers Gap Overlook is a great choice because of it’s proximity to Big Meadows, which is a spectacular spot for photos and videos. For couples looking for an easier ceremony spot, then adventuring to other locations for portraits, this overlook is a very overlooked area.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Fisher Gap Overlook
- Gorgeous mountain backdrop overlooking New Market Gap
- Flat plane and ample parking for your ceremony
- Close to Hawksbill Gap and Dark Hollow Falls (which can give you an array of waterfall and epic vista photos)
- There really are none! The backdrop is perfect for your elopement.
Because of it’s epic 360 degree views of the park, Hawksbill Gap is one of the most sought after elopement locations in Shenandoah. The only downside to eloping here, is the heavier foot traffic, because it is one of the more popular hikes.
Pro Tip: A Sunset Elopement here can make for really epic photos and videos of your elopement. Sunrise elopements are also beautiful here, but because the view is west facing, Sunset Photos tend to be the preffered time frame.
Distance: 2.9-mile circuit hike
Hiking Time: 2 hour
Elevation Gain: 860 feet
Pros and Cons of eloping at Hawksbill Gap
- Insane mountain and valley backdrop
- Lots of little nooks and crannies for epic portraits
- Wide walking paths, compared to many trails
- Short Hike to the Peak (40 minutes)
- This hike gets a lot of foot traffic, and parking later in the day can be difficult.
- There really are none, because the views here are incredible
Hazel Mountain Overlook
This is a great overlook, by some great hikes. So, if you want an easy ceremony space with a grand backdrop, this could be it. Hazel Mountain Overlook is close to the Thornton Gap entrance, and nearby other great hikes and photo spots.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Hazel Mountain Overlook
- Beautiful Backdrop!
- Easy to get to. Easy to be in and out quickly.
- Near Tunnel Parking Overlook, and Mary’s Rock (both epic locations)
- Right off of Skyline Drive, so cars can drive during the ceremony.
- There isn’t as much ceremony and parking space here compared to other overlooks.
Hazeltop Ridge Overlook
Arguably one of the most underrated overlooks for elopements. And it’s right by Bearfence Trail, which has the best 360 degree views in the park. And if you’re a couple that really loves adventure, Bearfence is a great location because of the rock scramble and unmatched views.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Hazeltop Ridge Overlook
- There is a field with flowers below the stone wall to get different portraits
- Great for a sunrise elopement because of then sun hitting the backdrop
- Ample parking, and flat surfaces for the ceremony
- There are more epic views at other overlooks in the park
One of the most well known elopement locations, because of it’s amazing valley views. Being right at the Thornton Gap Entrance makes it easy to get to, however the hike is moderately difficult. This is one of those elopement locations that is worth the hike, but be prepared to catch your breath after hiking up for a little over an hour.
Pro Tip: This location gets a lot of hikers because of the views, and the plethora of parking at the Thornton Gap Parking Lot. So a Sunrise Elopement is going to be a better experience for you, if you want to avoid other hikers.
Distance: 3.7-mile round trip hike
Hiking Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Elevation Gain: 1,210 feet
Pros and Cons of eloping at Mary’s Rock
- Epic valley views, above the clouds
- Sunset elopements here are epic with the sun hitting the valley, behind you.
- The parking area has a large staircase and other areas for portraits.
- A somewhat difficult hike (about 75 minutes)
- Not the easiest location for elderly family
Pass Mountain Overlook
This is an under-rated elopement location, about 20 minutes north on Skyline Drive, from the Thornton Gap Entrance.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Pass Mountain Overlook
- Beautiful Valley Backdrop
- Close to the parking, there is a rock platform with mountains in the background
- Lot’s of room for portraits
- It’s an easy, flat spot for your ceremony with less traffic.
- Small parking area
- No great hikes nearby this overlook
Tanner's Ridge Overlook
Since you cannot have a ceremony at Big Meadows, if you wanted another beautiful location nearby, this is it! Although it doesn’t have an epic mountain backdrop, the tree line, with the tall brown grass, give it a warm, dreamy feel. This location is perfect for someone who wants a tall grass, and rolling hills sort of vibe.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Tanners Ridge Overlook
- Right next to Big Meadows, where you cannot have a ceremony
- Do your ceremony at Tanner’s Ridge, drive 5 minutes to Big Meadows for more photos, then carry on with your adventure.
- Great for portraits in a field, with soft rolling hills
- Not Much Parking
- It is right off of Skyline Drive, with no large pull off area.
The Point Overlook
This overlook is so cool! There is a short path from the parking area to a large stone surface with valley views. You can get those epic Mountain Views, on top of a rock, without doing a hike.
The Point Overlook is also right next to Bearfence Trail, so you could do your ceremony here, then hike a mountain for sunset right afterwards for more awesome imagery.
Pros and Cons of eloping at The Point Overlook
- Arguably the sickest overlook in the park
- A stairway from the parking area takes you down to a huge rock with a view for the ceremony.
- Plenty of Parking
- It is next to Bearfence Trail, so you can climb a mountain, after your ceremony for epic portraits
- There are none. This is my favorite overlook for elopements.
- If considering Bearfence Trail, Pets cannot go, and it is not recommended for people with mobility issues.
Timber Hollow Overlook
This location is amazing for a couple reasons. From the parking area there is a trail that goes down to a larger rock surface, that can be used for portraits with a mountain backdrop. You could have your ceremony up by the stone wall, of down in the field.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Timber Hollow Overlook
- The walkway down to th big stone in the field is great for ceremony and portraits
- It is close to Upper Whiteoak Canyon and Stony Man, if you want to include either hike in your day.
- Plenty of Parking
- It is a peaceful, not heavily trafficked location
- You don’t get as great of mountain views as some other locations
Tunnel Parking Overlook
This might not be a top pick for some, because of the heavier traffic by Mary’s Rock and the Tunnel, but it has some amazing views! I think that the depth of trees and valley view you get here is unmatched from a lot of the other overlooks. It’s almost like you’re looking at the heart of the park.
Pros and Cons of eloping at Tunnel Parking Overlook
- One of the best assortments of depth of valley views at an overlook
- There is a trail to get on top of the tunnel, for photos from below
- It is 5 minutes from the Thornton Gap Entrance and Mary’s Rock. Proximity to these give you more range for images in a shorter time frame.
- It is a busy area
- Parking is limited