The Complete Guide to Eloping at Wahclella Falls



About Wahclella Falls 

Wahclella Falls is a breathtaking waterfall located in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. With its stunning natural beauty, it’s no wonder that many couples are choosing to elope at this picturesque location. If you’re considering an elopement at Wahclella Falls, here is your complete guide to everything you need to know.

The Hike to Wahclella Falls

Before you can elope at Wahclella Falls, you’ll need to make the journey to the waterfall. The hike to Wahclella Falls is a moderate 1.8-mile round trip trek. The trailhead is located at the Wahclella Falls Trailhead, just off of the Historic Columbia River Highway. The trail takes you through a lush forest and alongside Tanner Creek before reaching the impressive Wahclella Falls.

The hike is not overly strenuous, but it does involve some steep inclines and uneven terrain, so be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring plenty of water. The trail is also popular with hikers, so plan accordingly if you want to avoid crowds.


If you’re planning on eloping at Wahclella Falls, you’ll need to obtain the proper permits. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area requires a permit for any wedding or elopement ceremony that takes place on their land.

To obtain a permit, you’ll need to submit a Special Use Permit Application at least 30 days in advance of your ceremony date. The application includes information about the ceremony, such as the number of attendees, the date and time of the ceremony, and any equipment or decorations that will be used. There is a non-refundable $150 application fee, and additional fees may apply depending on the details of your ceremony.



How to Elope aka the Legal Requirements

Once you’ve obtained your permits and made the journey to Wahclella Falls, it’s time to start planning your elopement ceremony. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect Wahclella Falls elopement.

Before you can officially tie the knot, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary legal requirements in order. In Oregon, you’ll need an officiant to perform the ceremony and sign the marriage license. The officiant can be a religious or secular leader, as long as they are ordained or registered with the state.

You’ll also need to obtain a marriage license from the county clerk’s office. Both you and your partner will need to be present and provide identification, such as a passport or driver’s license. The marriage license is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.

Choose a Time of Day

The time of day you choose for your ceremony can have a big impact on the lighting and overall atmosphere of your photos. If you’re looking for soft, romantic lighting, consider having your ceremony in the early morning or late afternoon. If you’re hoping to capture the full majesty of the waterfall, midday may be your best bet.

Best time of year to Elope

The Columbia River Gorge experiences a range of weather conditions throughout the year, so it’s important to choose the right time of year for your elopement. Here are some factors to consider:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  • Spring: Spring is a beautiful time of year in the Columbia River Gorge, with wildflowers in bloom and vibrant green foliage. However, spring can also be a wet and unpredictable season, with rain and even snow possible.
  • Summer: Summer is the most popular time to visit the Columbia River Gorge, with warm temperatures and sunny skies. However, this also means that the trails and attractions can be crowded, and wildfires are a potential risk.
  • Fall: Fall is a stunning time to visit the Columbia River Gorge, with the leaves changing color and the crowds thinning out. However, fall can also be a rainy season, so be prepared for wet weather.
  • Winter: Winter can be a quiet and peaceful time to visit the Columbia River Gorge, with fewer crowds and the possibility of snow. However, the weather can be harsh and unpredictable, with icy conditions on the trails.

Consider your personal preferences and priorities when choosing the best time of year to elope in the Columbia River Gorge. Keep in mind that weekends and holidays are typically more crowded, so plan accordingly.

Consider your Wardrobe

Since you’ll be hiking to Wahclella Falls, it’s important to choose a wedding outfit that is both stylish and comfortable. Consider wearing a dress or suit that is easy to move in and won’t weigh you down on the trail. You may also want to bring a change of shoes for the hike.

Consider your Vendors

If you’re planning on hiring vendors for your elopement, such as an officiant, be sure to do your research ahead of time. Look for vendors who are experienced in outdoor weddings and elopements, and who are familiar with the logistics of a Wahclella Falls ceremony.

Make a plan for after the Ceremony

After your ceremony, you may want to explore the surrounding area or take additional photos. Consider packing a picnic or bringing along a bottle of champagne to celebrate your new marriage in the great outdoors. This is also a great time to consider if you want to potentially include friends and family! Some couples choose to elope in private and then go back into Portland for the evening and host a reception with their nearest and dearest! Best of both worlds!

Ready to book a photographer for your Elopement?

Elopements are truly some of the most intimate and magical things to capture! If you are ready to book me as your elopement photographer for your elopement at Wahclella Falls please click here to fill out my contact form with all the fun details of your day and let’s get the ball rolling! I can’t wait to celebrate with you!! If you want to see a list of some of my other favorite places to elope in Oregon click here!