The Best Mountain Destinations to Elope Near Asheville North Carolina


August 30, 2023

The Best Mountain Destinations to Elope Near Asheville, North Carolina

You’re eloping?! Wow! I am over the moon excited for you and your love, and let me just say, in my 10 years experience as a wedding photographer, elopements are my favorite, AND they are one of the most intentional ways to begin marriage.

One of the hardest parts about eloping is picking the, “WHERE.” It can be overwhelming (because the United States has so many incredible elopement locations), so let me give you a head start!

As a wedding photographer who has traversed through stunning landscapes and picturesque vistas, I can attest that North Carolina is a hidden gem for couples seeking an intimate elopement. In fact, I am actually based out of North Georgia, HOWEVER, 80% of the time I travel up to Asheville for my photoshoots because it is THAT remarkable.

And it’s worth it every time.

There are sooo many wonderful spots on this side of the U.S., but specially Western North Carolina, near Asheville, is my favorite. Hands down. To save you some time, I have but together a list of the 5 best places that are my absolute favorite in the area:

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway
  2. Roan Highlands
  3. Linville Wilderness
  4. Pisgah National Forest
  5. Nantahala National Forest

Are you looking for mountain tops with little to no hiking? Perhaps a roaring waterfall tucked in away in an evergreen forest? These areas just outside of Asheville have it ALL.

From the majestic Blue Ridge Parkway to the serene Nantahala National Forest, this region offers a plethora of breathtaking backdrops that are perfect for your special day.

Let’s dive right into it! Here is the “WHY” behind how these spots made it on my top 5 list of my favorite mountain destinations for a perfect elopement backdrop:

1. Blue Ridge Parkway Elopement

Distance from Asheville: 30 minutes to 1.5 hours

Hikes: 10 to 15 minutes

Permit Required: Yes – they cost $100. Read about it.

Best Months: April – October

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic highway that stretches for 469 miles through the Appalachian Highlands in the United States, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. (so what this means is that you have MANY options to chose from) Renowned for its breathtaking vistas, diverse flora and fauna, and serene atmosphere, the Parkway is often referred to as “America’s Favorite Drive.” It offers travelers a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Stretching across undulating hills and valleys, the Parkway is a haven for elopements. Imagine exchanging vows against a backdrop of rolling mountains and an ever-changing canvas of colors during sunrise or sunset. With its numerous overlooks, forests, and waterfalls, finding a secluded spot for your ceremony is effortless, providing both privacy and unparalleled vistas!

The Parkway has just about everything…and my favorite part? You don’t have to hike far to get 360 degree mountain views. Sometimes it takes just a 10 minute walk to get views like these:

  1. Scenic Beauty: The Parkway is celebrated for its stunning landscapes, featuring rolling hills, vibrant wildflowers, and panoramic vistas. These picturesque views provide a naturally captivating setting for exchanging vows and creating lasting memories.
  2. Privacy and Intimacy: Elopements are often chosen for their intimacy and privacy. The Blue Ridge Parkway offers numerous secluded spots and overlooks where couples can celebrate their union in a serene and personal setting.
  3. Easy Access: While the Parkway itself is a driving route, there are numerous accessible pull-offs and trails that provide convenient locations for elopements. This makes it easier to find a spot that suits the couple’s preferences and comfort.
  4. Photography Opportunities: The changing seasons along the Parkway offer distinct visual experiences. From the vibrant colors of autumn to the delicate blossoms of spring, the variety of backdrops enhances the possibilities for stunning wedding photography.
  5. Nature-Inspired Ceremonies: Many couples are drawn to the idea of getting married in nature. The Blue Ridge Parkway delivers a nature-inspired ambiance that allows couples to feel connected to the environment as they exchange their vows.

Where are the best places to elope on the Blue Ridge Parkway? Let me show you a few snapshots:


  • At least 10 degrees cooler than Asheville. This is great for summer elopements!
  • My go-to place for fog and mist. (It’s one of the highest locations in the NC mountains)
  • It has a variety of background options: Mountain tops, waterfalls, and forests.
  • Most hikes for the best views are less than 20 minutes!
  • Relatively close to Asheville.
  • All roads are paved to get to destinations. So you don’t need an off road vehicle or off road driving experience!


  • The Parkway can have seasonal, weather, and construction related closures. So it’s important to check to make sure the roads are open on your elopement day. Seasonally, on average, it is closed from November to March because of winter weather.
  • It’s colder! Like mentioned above it’s usually at least 10 degrees cooler. For the seasons outside of summer it can be quite chilly. So be ready to bundle up!
  • The Parkway can get quite busy, especially in Summer and Fall months. I strongly encourage couples to consider a weekday or an early morning to help avoid large crowds.

Check out other blogs from the Blue Ridge Parkway:

Love Amidst the Clouds: An Engagement Session on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Misty Mountains Blue Ridge Parkway Engagement Session

Adventurous Blue Ridge Parkway Maternity Session

Rainy Blue Ridge Parkway Elopement

2. Roan Highlands Elopement

Distance from Asheville: 1.5 hours

Hike: 10 to 15 minutes

Permit Required: No

Best Months: April – Early October

Roan Highlands offers an otherworldly experience for couples seeking an elopement surrounded by clouds and wildflowers. Known for its rhododendron blooms in late spring, this location creates a dreamlike atmosphere. Whether you’re standing amidst misty mountain peaks or meandering through vibrant alpine meadows, Roan Highlands grants a sense of elevation – both literally and emotionally – to your special day!

It is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, featuring rolling mountains, lush forests, vibrant wildflowers, and stunning vistas. (it has it all) Its ever-changing landscape, from colorful blooms in spring to golden foliage in the fall, provides a stunning backdrop for elopement ceremonies and photographs.

It is also one of my go-to spots for fog and mist. The mountain is at around 5800ft above sea level which makes it commonly “in the clouds.” This also can make it feel much colder than other places lower in elevation. So bring a jacket just incase!


  • At least 10 degrees cooler than lower areas. This is great for summer elopements in North Carolina!
  • One of my go-to place for fog and mist.
  • It has a variety of background options: 360 mountain views, lush evergreen forests, wildflowers.
  • Short hike.
  • All roads are paved to get to destinations. So you don’t need an off road vehicle or off road driving experience!


  • This is a higher mountain area, so winters come earlier and can be quite cold. Summer rain storms can be frequent too. It’s important to keep an eye out on weather.
  • It’s colder! Like mentioned above it’s usually at least 10 degrees cooler. For the seasons outside of summer it can be quite chilly. So be ready to bundle up!
  • Roan can get quite busy, especially in Summer and Fall months. I strongly encourage couples to consider a weekday or an early morning to help avoid large crowds.

Check out other blogs from Roan Mountain:

Rekindling Love: Vow Renewal at Roan Mountain Tennessee

3. Linville Wilderness

Distance from Asheville: 1.5 hours

Hike: 25 – 45 minutes

Permit Required: No to couple. Photographer is required to have a guiding permit.

Best Months: March – Early October

For those desiring a remote and untouched setting, Linville Wilderness fits the bill perfectly. This hidden gem is home to cascading waterfalls, moss-covered rocks, and dense foliage, offering a natural cathedral for your vows. The immersive forested landscapes create a cocoon of intimacy, allowing you and your partner to truly connect with each other and the surroundings.

Linville Wilderness is HUGE. And there are many hikes and areas you can explore for your elopement.

4. Pisgah National Forest: A Tapestry of Elopement Possibilities

With its diverse terrain, Pisgah National Forest caters to every elopement preference. From crystal-clear streams and waterfalls to dense woods and scenic vistas, this forest is a photographer’s paradise. Whether you’re envisioning a rustic woodland ceremony or a mountaintop exchange, Pisgah National Forest ensures your elopement encapsulates the essence of Western North Carolina’s natural beauty.

5. Nantahala National Forest: Reflecting Love by the Water

Nantahala National Forest is an idyllic choice for couples who want to incorporate the tranquil presence of water into their elopement. With its serene lakes, rivers, and creeks, this forest offers opportunities for waterfront ceremonies that are both serene and captivating. The peaceful symphony of water flowing harmoniously with your vows creates a uniquely serene atmosphere.

Obtaining a Marriage License in North Carolina

Planning the legalities of your elopement is essential. To obtain a marriage license in North Carolina, both partners need to apply in person at a local Register of Deeds office. You’ll need valid identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, and a social security card or another form of valid identification. There is no waiting period, so you can obtain your license and marry on the same day if you wish.

In conclusion, Western North Carolina offers a diverse range of elopement options that cater to various preferences, from mountaintop vistas to tranquil forest settings. With its accessibility, welcoming communities, and the ease of obtaining a marriage license, this region provides an enchanting backdrop for couples seeking an intimate and memorable elopement. So, if you’re yearning for a wedding day that’s as breathtaking as your love story, consider the mountains near Asheville – where nature’s beauty becomes the canvas for your eternal promises.

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Georgia based adventurer photographer