Oregon Sand Dunes | Tips for Hiking Elopements

Oregon sand dunes

Mariah Treiber

February 21, 2021

We hit the jackpot with this elopement location between the rolling Oregon sand dunes. This location has it all: tall pines, gentle waves, soft sand, and moody fog. We even had a lake nearby with spectacular sunsets. Mother Nature provides the most extraordinary backdrops.

During the warmer months, I tend to share quite a few mountain elopements since summer is peak season for mountain hiking. But during these chilly months, I thought I’d share some beach elopement inspo to get you through the winter blues as we inch our way into spring.

Oregon sand dunes
Oregon sand dunes
Oregon sand dunes
Oregon sand dunes

Whatever your aspirations for an adventurous and romantic elopement, we’re sure to find a beautiful spot like this one to make your wanderlust dreams come true.

If you weren’t considering a sand dune elopement before, you will be now! It’s still pretty chilly here on the Oregon coast during the rainy season, but these couples stayed warm by running, dancing, and exploring the dunes. And I think we can all agree these phenomenal scenes were worth it!

Oregon sand dunes
Oregon sand dunes
Oregon sand dunes
Oregon sand dunes

The thing I find most remarkable about sand dunes is that you can find them in just about any climate and region. There are coast sand dunes like these in Oregon, but you can also find them near lakes, deserts, and mountains, and some seem to exist in the middle of nowhere. I’d love to share some of my favorite sand dune elopement locations here in the U.S. – simply drop a line here to get in touch!

Oregon sand dunes
Oregon sand dunes
Mariah Treiber Photography

A sand dune elopement is an experience of a lifetime, but it’s important to come prepared. Here are a few things to keep in mind for sand dune sessions:

Hike Time

As with many hidden gem locations, we may have to hike a little. I always recommend keeping your schedule flexible and allowing time to get to the site. This dune in particular required a short 30-minute hike through the woods and up the dune. I always scope out our locations ahead of time, so I’ll let you know what to expect for your specific session.

Mariah Treiber Photography
Mariah Treiber Photography
Mariah Treiber Photography
Mariah Treiber Photography

Appropriate Attire

Don’t try to walk barefoot to the dunes! I recommend bringing hiking essentials for most sessions (in fact, boots like this bride is wearing look pretty awesome in photos!):

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Hiking attire
  • Lightweight rain gear
  • A small hiking backpack with water and a jacket to warm up in after the session.

We can find a secluded spot to change once we get to our location.

Mariah Treiber Photography
Mariah Treiber Photography
Mariah Treiber Photography
Mariah Treiber Photography

Time of Day

Sunset is definitely best for dune backgrounds only; but for this location, the sun also rises over the lake for an incredible sunrise elopement! For any location that requires a hike, be careful to plan your time so that you’re not hiking in the dark. For remote Oregon sand dune locations, you want to stay with others and keep bear spray on hand.

We saw quite a few mountain lion tracks during these sessions, so staying in groups is the best way to stay safe.

If we do come across a mountain lion or bear:

  • First, try to keep your distance and back away slowly to get out of the situation.
  • Stay calm and don’t run (that might cause it to chase you out of instinct).
  • Do not crouch or bend over.
  • If you can’t get out of the situation, look big – raise your arms, widen your stance, and open your jacket.
  • Wave your arms slowly.
  • Speak firmly in a loud voice.
  • If you have a backpack, try to turn it to cover your front to offer some protection.
  • Throw rocks or sticks in its direction, but not at it. (Reserve something hard and pointy in case it attacks.)
  • If it attacks, fight back, and try to remain standing.

How to use bear spray (for mountain lions also):

  • If it’s coming toward you, turn the safety off.
  • Try to position yourself upwind so it doesn’t blow into your face.
  • Place one hand on the trigger, and use the other hand to hold the can firmly.
  • Wait until the animal is 10 yards away.
  • Spray the entire can toward the animal (keep it aimed directly at their face/snout, and do not spray upward).

Find more hiking safety info on the National Parks Service website.

I’d love to answer any other questions you might have about the Oregon sand dunes and hiking elopements. Learn about the elopement experience here, and get in touch here. Can’t wait to meet you!

Pssst…We do videography, too!

Have to give a shoutout to my handsome partner in crime. His videos are the perfect way to share your elopement experience with friends and family. Contact us today to inquire about services and pricing.


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  1. Nina Paul says:

    Thanks for sharing this. These tips will help a naive photographer like me