The North Cascades have so much to offer year-round, from snowshoeing and backcountry skiing in the winter and spring, to warm summer days spent kayaking through crystalline glacier lakes, to my personal favorite – rugged autumn hikes bursting with color in every direction. With so many spectacular trails to choose from, it’s a photographer’s paradise and such a magical time of year to elope! This epic hiking larch tree elopement surrounded by towering mountain peaks and vibrant fall foliage was an absolute dream, and I’m already counting down the days until my next visit to the North Cascades for an October elopement!
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Larch elopement season in Washington
It’s the mostttt wonderful time of the yearrrr… and no, I’m not talking about Christmas 😉 Each October, Washington’s high-alpine larch trees (also known as tamarack) begin to change from their summer greens to brilliant, shimmering golds and oranges across the mountains. Unlike coniferous trees which keep their needles year-round, larches lose them each fall as colder temperatures and snow transform them into little wintery skeletons. Their vibrant colors only peak for a week or two, making it a fleeting but stunning phenomenon. Leaf-peeping hikers flock from all over the world for an annual “larch march” through these magical trees, and Lauren and Steph wanted to join in on the fun for their North Cascades October elopement!
sunrise vows among the mountain peaks
The day began bright and early at 5:30am as we brewed some coffee at the cabin, packed up our hiking gear, and headed to a nearby viewpoint to catch the sunrise. There’s just something about watching the first rays of the sun peek up through the mountains, coffees in hand, not a soul in sight, that is so peaceful and romantic for an early October elopement. In silence and stillness, it was all about these two and the views <3 After a few sunrise portraits, Lauren and Steph shared heartfelt vows among the trees, wiping away tears and belly-laughing at the same time. After 5 years together, they were officially Mrs. and Mrs.!!
Looking for more inspiration from the North Cascades? Check out more of our favorite elopements here!
beginning the “larch elopement march”
We celebrated with cinnamon roll breakfast cake from Baked (check out their drool-worthy menu here!) and more coffee, then it was time to hike! We headed off to our next destination, our backpacks stuffed almost as much as we were. As we meandered through the trees, Lauren in her dress and Steph in her suit, foggy light rays shone through the canopy and cast a spotlight onto the newlyweds. We must have stopped 100 times on the hike up because the views were so otherworldly. Fiery red heather stretched out through the meadows, and the glimpses of massive mountain peaks through the trees kept us motivated on our ascent.
Soon the famous larches we traveled so many miles to see began to appear, and we giddily snapped photos with them. As we continued the climb, they became more and more numerous until we were completely enveloped in the golden grove. We admired their fuzzy neon needles and twisting, Seuss-esque trunks as the trail exploded with color all around us. Avid hikers and national park visitors, Lauren and Steph were hoping for views unlike anything they’d experienced before, and the North Cascades delivered!