best time to elope to the hocking hills

The season and time of day will play a significant role in how your Hocking Hills elopement photos will look. There are pros and cons to every season and timeline. Check out my guide for info and tips.

Golden Hour


Time of Day

In most parts of the world, photographers love Golden Hour because of the soft, warm, and flattering light that comes with sunrise or sunset. Some open locations get spectacular sunrises and sunsets in the Hocking Hills. But most iconic spots miss out on sunset light - they get dark and spooky. Sunrise is a slightly different situation, however, because there is usually fog.

Photographers warn of the dangers of photographing during mid-day because of the sharp, bright light. But the Hocking Hills is different. Mid-day light can be sparkly as it bounces around the gorge. Unfortunately, mid-day is also the busiest time for other visitors. Pick an off-the-beaten-track location if you are interested in a mid-day ceremony.




The best part about a spring elopement is the waterfalls. The gorge is alive with the sounds of rushing water, and you'll have some epic backgrounds for elopement photos. Leaves start filling in in May, but plenty of Hemlock groves provide color before then. Try to avoid spring break time since there is increased traffic.

During the colder months, you'll find frozen waterfalls, icicles, and a giant ice column that forms at Ash Cave. The ice turns everything into a majestic view that offers stunning photo backgrounds. Colder temperatures mean fewer crowds. Exploring the gorge with fewer people on the trail feels more magical and memorable.



Fall is the favorite season for visitors. The temperatures start to cool down, and the foliage turns golden. The sky is usually overcast, making light soft, and diffused. But with this change comes an increase in visitors to the area. Avoid the crowds by skipping weekends and mid-day times.

The Hocking Hills is bright in the summer with green foliage and blue skies. But the temperatures can get above 100 degrees during mid-day. Pick a recessed cave area with natural, built-in cooling or a place with a water feature like a lake or river for fun splashing photos. Many of the waterfalls tend to dry up.

the best time to elope depends on your vision for the perfect elopement

There are pros and cons to every season and timeline. Here's an easy step-by-step method for figuring out when you would like to elope to the Hocking Hills.





pick a time of day

pick a location

pick a date

don't forget a plan B

What happens if it rains? Or if Hocking Hills State Park is closed due to flooding or icing? Always have a backup plan in place.

Choosing a time of day depends heavily on location, lighting, the crowds, and how accessible the site is for couples and their guests.

Some locations, like Ash Cave, are easily accessible year-round. Others might be dangerous in certain seasons.

Some couples pick a date that is significant to them, like an anniversary. Others choose randomly.

your local guide

feeling overwhelmed & need help planning your elopement?

I'm happy to help you find the perfect location and time of day for your elopement. All of my packages include guidance and planning help.

maddy + joe

Our experience with Elizabeth was perfect. We had both an engagement session and wedding session with her, and loved every single picture. The wedding photos were indescribably beautiful! She only had herself at our wedding but somehow managed to get absolutely every angle. She did a great job posing/guiding us, making us and our surroundings look natural, and she was very responsive to what we were asking for. Elizabeth is an extremely talented photographer and a lot of fun to work with!

Kind Words