Red River Gorge Elopement Guide – Get Married at Red River Gorge


June 6, 2022

Located inside the Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky, Red River Gorge has towering sandstone arches, rugged cliffs, and incredible rock bridges.You can kayak into an abandoned mine, zip line 300 feet above the canyon floor, or go rock climbing up the canyon walls, and Red River Gorge is the perfect place to elope in Kentucky – you’ll be surrounded by nature and have plenty of options to turn your day into an adventure! 

Here’s what you’ll learn in this Red River Gorge  Elopement Guide:

C & S looked at each other lovingly at the Natural Bridge

The Best Places to Elope at Red River Gorge

When you’re picking an elopement location at Red River Gorge, you’ll have so many beautiful places to choose from! Between the rushing waterfalls, stunning rock bridges, and acres of gorgeous hemlocks, the possibilities are endless. While you can choose anywhere in the park to have your ceremony, I have a few favorites, so here are the best places to elope at Red River Gorge.

Hemlock Spring

A beautiful, private wedding venue right in the heart of Red River Gorge, Hemlock Springs is a stunning place to tie the knot. Their ceremony area is tucked away in the woods with an adorable gazebo and amphitheater-style seating for guests, but you can choose to say your vows anywhere on their 100 acres of property!

Natural Bridge

At 65 feet from the ground and 78 feet long, Natural Bridge is one of the most visited arches in the Red River Gorge. The beautiful sandstone bridge is accessible by one of the many hikes or by sky lift! The sky lift makes for a fun adventure and a prime photo opportunity. If you choose to hike, you’ll come across a ton of scenic lookout points to stop at for your ceremony – check out Lover’s Leap, Lookout Point, Skylift Overlook, and of course, the Natural Bridge itself! For inspiration, check out this adventurous couple’s elopement at the Natural Bridge.

S & E hiked to the Natural Bridge
S & E had a sunrise elopement at Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge Elopement
C & S were photographed near the Natural Bridge signage

Creation Waterfall

On this 1.5-mile long trail, you’ll walk along a creek to find a relaxing sandy beach, a rushing waterfall, and a huge rock arch – Creation Falls is one of the nicest falls you’ll find in the Gorge. The best view is from the sandy beach at the base of the falls – this is a great place to relax. The accessibility of this waterfall makes it so popular, so I have a few tips on how to avoid crowds! You’ll find fewer people around when you shoot for a sunrise or sunset elopement or have your ceremony on a weekday. You can also take the less popular Swift Camp Creek Trail to Pooch Turtle Falls, which branches off of the Creation Falls Trail – it makes your hike 5 miles long, but the privacy is totally worth it! For inspiration, check out this weekday elopement at Creation Falls.

The couple eloped at creation falls, red river gorge on a weekday and no crowds are seen
L & T eloped on a weekday (no crowds!)
The couple relaxed by the Creation Falls, Red River Gorge
L & T were photographed at Creation Falls

Weather & Seasons – the Best Time for a Red River Gorge Elopement

Red River Gorge is in the Midwest, meaning it experiences all four seasons. The weather changes drastically throughout the year, so it’s important to think about what you want your day to look like before you set a date for your elopement.

The summers in Kentucky are hot and very humid – it’s also the most popular time of the year to visit the park! I recommend a fall elopement – temperatures are mild, it’s not super rainy yet, and you’ll get more privacy with fewer crowds around. Weekends are still busy through the fall, so shoot for a weekday ceremony. The nights can be pretty chilly, though, so it’s important to layer up.

The winter provides a gorgeous snow-covered view from the Natural Bridge. It’s cold, but it’s typically less crowded than in the summer months. When the snow is deep, some of the roads close, so be sure to check the weather conditions when you elope. 

Spring in Red River Gorge is rainy, making it the perfect time to check out the falls. The temperatures are milder than in the winter, but the rain can make it cold and muddy so you’ll want to be prepared! 

Red River Gorge Elopement Permits

Since the Red River Gorge is on national forest land, most elopements won’t require a permit as it does not involve 75 people – yay! But, the rules do sometimes change, and there can be exceptions to every rule, so I’ll help you figure out what you’ll need to do when the time comes for you to say your vows.

You’ll also need to make sure you get your marriage license to get legally married in the state of Kentucky. You can check out my Kentucky elopement guide to learn more about Kentucky marriage laws!

C & S did a cozy camping for their elopement

Places to Stay During Your Red River Gorge Elopement

From tents to tree houses, there’s a place to stay for any couple eloping at Red River Gorge! Whether you want to relax in a bubbling hot tub, cozy up by a campfire, or listen to a calm creek while you watch the stars, you’ll find your perfect place to stay during your Red River Gorge elopement.

Red River Gorge Cabins

Beautiful cabins with stunning views can be found scattered throughout the Red River Gorge. Whether you want to retreat to a cozy cabin with a hot tub, stay up in a tree house with views of the cliff lines, or at a romantic lodge by the lake, Red River Gorge has over 70 cabins to choose from to turn your elopement into a romantic nature getaway. For inspiration, read this lovely couple’s story of their cabin elopement and its private waterfall at Hideaway Falls.

K & T at a private waterfall near Red River Gorge
K & T under a private waterfall near Red River Gorge


For a more rustic feel, check out one of the Red River Gorge campgrounds. Between the 7 different campgrounds with sites, they have a couple of lodging options including RVs, tents, and even a few cabins, and you can make reservations online. Because the Gorge is located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, you can find free camping in the surrounding area too!

An Airbnb

You’ll find unique homes with hot tubs, campfires, and adorable decor all close by Red River Gorge! Book a cute Airbnb, like this cute cow-themed glamping tent by the river – it’ll have you saying “Cowabunga!” If glamping isn’t your thing, soak in the hot tub at this tiny cabin that pays homage to the father of the U.S. Forest Service himself, Theodore Roosevelt. Stay among the trees right in the heart of the national forest at the Serene Ravine Private Treehouse.

K & J stayed at a cute cabin for their elopement
Their cabin had a lake nearby – perfect for another photo session

Red River Gorge Elopement Packages

Are you ready to plan the elopement of your dreams? A day that’s unique, intentional, eco-friendly, and full of adventure? My Red River Gorge elopement packages are created just for you! They include everything from location scouting to creating an elopement timeline, helping you choose your elopement activities, and everything in between – I’ll be your biggest supporter along the way!

Contact me to start planning your elopement adventure, and to learn more about my Red River Gorge elopement packages!

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  1. Shauna Ward says:

    Brilliant resource for Kentucky elopements. It looks super pretty there!

  2. Sienna says:

    Kentucky looks like such a cool spot to elope; who knew?! Love the forest vibes!

  3. Ann Marie says:

    What a great guide! Some great location options and beautiful photos. Love this!

  4. Jasmin says:

    Your blog gives me a lot of information and tips for preparing for elopement. Thank you so much!

  5. Andrea says:

    I love how informative this post is, giving different options for places to stay when you elope! And who knew Kentucky was so beautiful!

  6. Sierra says:

    What a great guide for those interested in eloping in the Red River Gorge! I love seeing East Coast elopement locations!

  7. Marla says:

    Love all of these photos, and the information you’ve laid out here!

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Mary Andrikus is a Kentucky & destination wedding, elopement & family photographer. Mary strives to create photography experience that you can relax into.

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