How to Have a Hot Springs Elopement
Who doesn’t love a natural hot spring? Soaking in the hot water, surrounded by nature, is truly one of the most peaceful experiences you could have. The Pacific Northwest has tons of natural hot springs in all kinds of landscapes, so here are a few of the best places for a hot spring elopement!
Why You Should Consider a Hot Springs Elopement
You probably won’t be eloping in a hot spring (unless you want to, I won’t judge), but imagine beginning or ending your elopement day with a relaxing soak! The day will be full of adventures, so taking some time to enjoy some natural wonders together is a great way to unwind.
A lot of hot springs require some hiking to find them – so you could have your ceremony somewhere on the trail, hike to the springs, and reward yourself for all the hard work with a dip in the hot water! It’s great for sore muscles, and will leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed.
Hot Springs Bring Relaxation to Your Elopement
Did you know that hot springs are incredibly beneficial for your health? They can boost blood flow circulation, reduce stress, promote better sleep, relieve pain and sore muscles, and heal skin problems! Having your elopement outside usually goes hand-in-hand with adventurous activities like hiking, camping, or just walking around. Being able to slow down a bit on your elopement day can give you all those amazing benefits and help you feel amazing on your wedding adventure
Hot Spring Soaking Can Provide You With Scenic Views
Once you are soaking in those hot springs, you’ll have time to literally soak in the amazing views. Oregon, Washington, and Idaho all have very scenic hot springs that will give you some of the most incredible views of mountains, forests, rivers, and even wildlife. Being able to sit in soothing, warm water with your partner will help you really take in the beauty of the outdoors while celebrating your wedding day.
You Can Include Hiking and Hot Spring Soaking Together
One of my favorite ways to enjoy a hot spring soak, is to hike in to them. There are countless hikes that include a hot spring at the end of it and are totally worth it! There’s nothing quite like getting your blood pumping and then relaxing in hot water to rejuvenate you spirits. If you don’t want to hike to your hot springs, that’s okay too! There are plenty to choose from and you can definitely find the perfect one fit for you. If you are okay with hiking a bit more, I can attest that you’ll get more of a secluded adventure!
Most Scenic Hot Spring Elopement Locations in The West
If you are choosing a location to elope in the Pacific Northwest – you’ll definitely want to consider adding a hot springs to your elopement adventure. It’s a perfect combination of relaxing and adventuring at the same time! Here’s a few of my favorite location throughout Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.
Oregon Elopement Hot Spring Locations
Known for its towering waterfalls, beautiful coastline, and lush forests – Oregon also encompasses over 37 hot springs! Although some are easier accessed than others, there is a hot spring for everyone here. Check out this map below to get a sense of where they are located.
If you are considering eloping in Oregon, you might be interested in this blog post on How to Elope in Oregon.
Alvord Hot Springs, Oregon
The Alvord Desert is located in the southeast corner of Oregon, and it’s extremely remote location means that getting there is a pretty long (but beautiful) drive. The desert itself is a beautiful place to elope, as the dry lake bed surrounded by mountains makes for some unique scenery, but the hot springs are icing on the cake!
There are two pools that fill with natural hot water – one is behind a steel wall for privacy, while the other is open and allows you to enjoy views of the desert. There is an $8 admission fee, but the remote location and natural beauty makes this an amazing place for a hot spring elopement!
photo credit: alvord desert bathhouse
You can also choose to stay here, which is the closest lodging near the Playa — you can make a reservation here at one of their bunkhouses, or camp on the alvord desert playa!
Cougar Hot Springs Springs, Oregon
The Cougar Hot Springs are located in Willamette National Forest. There’s a kiosk in the parking lot where you’ll pay a $7 fee, and after a short quarter mile hike through the forest you’ll be at the springs!
The tiered tubs allow water to flow down, so the ones at the top are hottest, and you can choose the temperature you’re comfortable with. The views of the forest are beautiful, and the sound of running water makes this a relaxing, peaceful spot for a hot spring elopement.
photo credit: Deric Samps
*2023 update* — due to a landslide and fires, this location has been rerouted along Forest Road 19. This road is not maintained and make sure you know where you are going before you set out. Check out the Willamette National Forest info to learn more here.
Umpqua Hot Springs, Oregon
This short hike will bring you an amazing hot spring experience. Just a short hike in will bring you to several layers of hot springs built into the side of a mountain overlooking the river below you. This is one of my favorite locations in central Oregon because it’s so close to many bright blue waterfalls and Crater Lake National Park is only an hour away.
photo credit: Uprooted Traveler
I’ve personally hiked this one barefoot in the pouring rain and it was one of the most amazing experiences! just bring $5 for parking and make sure to get there early because the parking lot gets full fast. lastly, if you are adventuring during the winter you’ll need to add about 1.5 miles to your hike as the road to the parking lot is closed typically from november-april.
Idaho Elopement Hot Spring Locations
Not a lot of people think that Idaho is great for hot springs, but did you know there’s over 130 soak-able hot springs?! That’s over 100 more than Oregon and is #1 in the US for the hot springs to enjoy.
If you are wanting hot springs incorporated into your elopement, I’d highly consider Idaho! Go check out why in my How to Elope in Idaho guide.
Boat Box Hot Springs, Idaho
Boat Box Hot Springs was built by the community in the small town of Stanley, Idaho. It’s located right off the highway, and is a unique metal tub that sits above the river. Its easily accessible location makes Boat Box hot springs a popular local spot, but the small tub can only fit two people, making it a cozy spot for a soak.
This is a gorgeous place for a hot spring elopement, but make sure to arrive early! There’s only one small tub, so if it’s occupied, you’ll have to wait. But don’t fret – there’s also several other hot springs in this small town.
Trail Creek Hot Springs, Idaho
Many hot springs require some hiking, but while Trail Creek Hot Springs makes you feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere, it’s actually just a short walk from the parking area. The drive in will take you into the mountains, but there’s a pullout close to the hot springs. Because of the easy access, this place tends to be pretty crowded, so I recommend going very early in the day.
There are a few pools, with water around 105 degrees, but a man made spigot was built to let visitors route some cool river water into the pools to regulate the temperature a bit. It’s a great place for a hot spring elopement!
Goldbug Hot Springs, Idaho
These hot springs are nestled between some of the most gorgeous mountains in Central Idaho. The hike up to the springs are a bit of a moderate climb and are an experienced hikers dream. Once you reach the top of the valley, you’ll be provided from the highest and hottest pool to the coldest down below the bridge. There’s even a waterfall that you can get drenched in! This hot spring hike is short, but worth making a trip out of.
It’s best to visit and enjoy these hot springs during sunrise or sunset during the summer due to high crowds. If you are looking for a unique adventure, consider visiting during the winter time and snowshoe in. If you are more of a fair weather person, then consider camping before or after your soak as you set up camp for free in designated areas along the trail.
These are some personal photos on our hike up to the springs!
Washington Elopement Hot Spring Locations
Although Washington might not be your first pick for hot springs, there are some of the most unique and desolated hot springs in the Pacific Northwest and are truly bucket-list worthy!
Scenic Hot Springs, Washington
As the name suggests, these are definitely some of the most beautiful hot springs in the PNW. They require some hiking, and are actually located on private property. This means reservations are required, so you can get them totally to yourself for a hot spring elopement! Hot springs open to the public definitely make it more difficult to get the privacy you want on your elopement day, so this is a great option – you can make reservations here. After you’ve made your booking, you’ll get detailed instructions to get to the springs, but you’ll pull off of Highway 2 onto a forest road, park your car, then hike to the hot springs. The hike is pretty steep, so be prepared with hiking boots!
Once you arrive, there are three plastic tubs that fill up with natural water, with incredible views of the forest. The remote location and reservation requirements ensure that these hot springs are clean, quiet, and peaceful – the perfect spot for a hot springs elopement!
Goldmyer Hot Springs
Near the Seattle area, another secluded hot spring option in Washington, is Goldmyer. This location does require a moderate to difficult 12 mile hike round trip, but limits the visitors to only 20 people a day but requiring reservations based on first come first serve basis. You can learn more about walk-in reservations here.
Like any hike, you’ll need to bring your proper food, water, and supplies for the visit but this gorgeous hot spring location has open-air cabanas, campsites with food hanging lines and containers, three stocked outhouses, two picnic tables, and a bike rack.
photo credit: washington trails association
This experience is open year-round and will provide you with a true backcountry experience with hot springs, caves, trickling waterfalls, and beautiful stone paths.
How to Have an Amazing Hot Spring Elopement
When you decide to elope at a hot spring, or to visit one on your elopement day, there are a few things you should keep in mind!
Keep the Hot Springs Clean
Hot springs often have a problem with people leaving behind trash, because there tends to be a lot of foot traffic – who wouldn’t want to soak! This not only ruins the views but is harmful to the wildlife and ecosystems. Make sure to respect the hot springs and pack out anything you bring in, and don’t use any soaps in the springs.
Respect Other Hot Springs Visitors
Some spots are smaller than others, and can only fit a few people – so do some research when you’re choosing a place to elope, and decide where to go. To get the most privacy, I recommend going to the hot springs early in the morning, or late in the evening.
Be Aware That Clothing May Be Optional
A lot of hot springs are clothing optional – especially those that are deep in nature. This can be a surprise if you weren’t expecting it, so be aware!
Create Your Hot Springs Elopement Timeline
- 8:00 am – Wake up in a scenic cabin and make waffles together
- 9:30 am – Hike to hot springs
- 10:00 am – Soak in hot springs, relax with your boo
- 11:30 am – Get ready together
- 12:30 pm – Go have lunch at local brewery
- 2:30 pm – Ride a scenic boat ride on redfish lake sharing drinks
- 4:30 pm – ceremony at stanley lake
- 5:00 pm – Celebrate with cake, have your first dance
- 6:00 pm – Wedding portraits and sunset watch
- 8:30 pm – Enjoy a catered dinner by a private chef
- 10:30 pm – Cuddle by campfire underneath the stars
Hire an Elopement Photographer to Document Your Hot Springs Elopement
You’ll need an experienced elopement photographer to capture all the adventures you’ll have on
your elopement day! As a PNW local, I’ve got the scoop on all the best hot springs – so let’s get connected if you’re ready to start planning!