If you’re thinking about eloping in one of the most beautiful places in Canada (and in the world too, if I dare say it) but don’t where to start, this Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies will be a big help in narrowing down the area for you to elope! The Canadian Rockies cover a vast amount of area in Alberta & British Columbia encompassing 5 national parks & numerous provincial parks. With so many beautiful spots, how do you decide where to get married? With the mountains covering such a large amount of land, it’s tricky to know how far apart the areas are & how to best get around. Sure, Moraine Lake looks amazing & so does Peyto Lake, but did you know it’s about a 45 minute drive to get from one spot to the next? Check out these maps to better acquaint yourself with the Canadian Rockies.
A Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies has to start with Banff National Park. Banff NP has the big names… Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Peyto Lake, all the insta famous spots with the crazy blue-green water. From the town of Banff west to Lake Louise & north toward the Columbia Icefields, Banff National Park is packed full of amazing mountain & water views along with gorgeous woodland areas. This area also has a ton of restaurants, hotels & other venues that makes getting married in the area easy. The town of Banff is just an hour & 15 minute drive from Calgary International Airport. Lake Louise is a 2 hour drive & Peyto Lake is a 2 hour & 20 minute drive. There are parts of Banff National Park that have no cell service like Moraine Lake and most of Icefields Parkway. This Park is definitely the busiest in terms of tourist traffic but there are lots of beautiful locations that are a little less busy if you travel along Icefields Parkway or Bow Valley Parkway. Mt Norquay is a beautiful location for a larger wedding near the town of Banff. The Fairmont Banff Springs has some lovely spaces for smaller weddings.
One of the most well known places in Yoho National Park is Emerald Lake. This particular location is stunning year round & it’s especially amazing in winter if you want a true winter wonderland wedding. There are a few smaller venues in the Park as well like Cathedral Mountain Lodge. The area also features the natural bridge (my favourite spot), Takkakaw Falls & Lake O’Hara. This area can be scarce on cell service too & sees a lot of snow in the winter! I love here most in the winter season. Emerald Lake Lodge is about 2.5 hours from Calgary International Airport. Emerald Lake Lodge is a top choice & a must have in a Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies! Most services for hair, make-up, flowers etc. travel in from Canmore, Banff & Golden.
Jasper National Park is accessible from Calgary International Airport, though it’s about a 6 hour drive through Banff & up Icefields Parkway. This road can close unexpectedly due to weather so it’s better to fly into Edmonton International Airport & make the less-scenic 3.5 hour drive. Jasper National Park is not as commercial as the Banff area, it’s a little more rustic. There are plenty of beautiful locations but the best spots are further out from town so to get to the really great spots, you’ll need to drive a lot more. It’s worth it though to get views like Athabasca Falls, Medicine Lake, Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon, Pyramid Lake, Jasper Lake (a personal favourite) & Spirit Island. Jasper is also beautiful in the winter & you have a better chance seeing more wildlife there than in Banff.
Canmore is the gatekeeper to Banff National Park but falls outside the boundary. It’s about a 20 minute drive to the Town of Banff from the Town of Canmore. Canmore has become a hot spot for weddings with numerous venue options. A lot of services are based here too. Travelling south from Canmore is Kananaskis, an area that is breathtakingly beautiful but it isn’t crazy popular with tourists. There’s a ton a of amazing locations to elope out here. One spot that needs to get a little more attention is Mount Engadine Lodge. Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge is also a great spot to elope. Kananaskis is a large area & is easily accessible from Calgary.
Driving North from Lake Louise towards Jasper on the Icefields Parkway leads you past the turnoff to Abraham Lake & Nordegg. This section along the North Saskatchewan River has some of the most amazing scenery is highly overlooked so I felt it deserved a spot in my Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies. This area has a great option to do an adventure helicopter getaway with Rockies Heli in Cline River. Even the side of the road has scenic views. Abraham Lake is amazing and has crazy blue green water & Crescent Falls would make a spectacular location for an elopement ceremony. There are accommodations in Nordegg & Rocky Mountain House nearby.
This is an area that I haven’t spent lots of time in but hope to in the future. The Columbia Valley area ranges from Golden (which features Kicking Horse Mountain, an amazing mountain top wedding venue) and goes south through Radium, Invermere & Windermere. There are lots of private vacation homes in this area. East Kootenay is southwest of Calgary & features Fernie, Cranbrook, Kimberley & Crowsnest Pass. This area has so much potential & I hope I will have more experiences to add to my Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies when I get to visit there more often!
I’ve only photographed one wedding in Waterton National Park but the experience was so beautiful that it had to make my Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies in hopes that I get to travel back there. This National Park is about 3 hours south from Calgary and it borders on Glacier National Park in the United States. This area is a lot quieter than the Banff area & the scenery is spectacular! The Prince of Wales hotel is iconic and overlooks the town but there are so many spots that would be great to elope.
This Guide to Eloping in the Canadian Rockies will continue to grow. If you find a great spot, please share it! There’s so much beauty in the area & the potential for an epic elopement adventure is unreal! There’s places for the mildly adventurous & spots for those that want to do a three day hike (I’m more the take a helicopter in sort & be home at night to sleep in my bed). There are wide open fields, amazing glacial lakes, woodland areas… there’s an amazing backdrop no matter what your style! Once you pin down the area where you want to get married it makes it easier to find great vendors who work in those areas to make your elopement experience complete including marriage commissioners, photographers (I’d love it if you’d pick me!), hair & make-up artists, wedding planners, cake artists & venues.
Also check out my 5 Tips for Planning your Dream Mountain Elopement!
Soheel, 2016 Groom