Of all the places in the desert southwest to elope, none are as spectacular as Zion Canyon. There are six locations where you can have your elopement in Zion national park, and then take off to explore the amazing canyon together for more epic photos. I LOVE this place and would love to share that with you as your Zion elopement photographer! The opportunities for hiking and adventures are endless for adventurous couples who love to be surrounded by nature, color, and take-your-breath-away views. Wedding permits are accepted between 3 weeks and 1 year before the event date and start at $100, plus your entrance fees. There’s no getting around it – Zion is a very busy National Park, so the best times to plan your elopement in Zion are on weekdays and early mornings for the best access. Consider a winter elopement for a touch more adventure!
The Temple of Sinawava is the last bus stop on Zion Canyon drive, but it should be on the top of your list of places to elope! The ceremony site is on the shore of the Virgin river, on a flat sandy beach shaded by the towering canyon walls, and it is absolutely stunning. In the spring and summer, the green trees on the valley floor contrast with the dark red rocks surrounding you and in late October, you can expect gorgeous fall colors. As soon as you step off the bus, you’ll know just how special this place is. The Narrows river walk is an unforgettable way to adventure together after your intimate wedding ceremony as you walk up the river, deep into the canyon’s heart with water rushing around your ankles and your best friend beside you.
Menu Falls is a quiet, unknown spot in the upper Zion canyon. It doesn’t have it’s own bus stop and it isn’t on the national park maps, so you have to know where it is to get to it! A short trail leads to a petite, two tiered deck just big enough for the two of you to exchange private vows in front of a delicate waterfall. The water is minimal in the summer, but the cool shade makes this a tranquil option for couples wanting to elope in Zion National Park. It feels very magical and spiritual as the water from the falls runs under the deck. Spring has the best water flow for the ten foot drop and May is an excellent month to visit Zion.
The Zion Lodge Lawn is perhaps the most well known locations for weddings inside Zion national park. The flat, open area is great for those who are planning to invite several guests, as you can have up to 75 at this location. Since the lodge is right there and Red Rocks grill just a stone’s throw away, the location of this site makes it easy to include a reception, or stay in the cabins and suites inside the park and spend a few days adventuring in this hiker’s paradise. Or keep it just the two of you with an intimate sunrise ceremony under the huge cottonwood and spend the day creating your own adventure on the many trails. It’s YOUR day, and you can make it reflect your passion for the outdoors – you can’t NOT have a giant smile on your face when traveling through a new place together! I can help you through the steps of obtaining the right permits, choosing locations based on your ideas and desires, and capturing your day with true to life colors and the little moments that are actually the big moments 🙂
Bouquets are allowed for your wedding – so long as they contain NO seeds, dried or alive. All leave no trace principles are enforced, and in keeping with the natural environment, additional wedding rules apply such as no amplified sound, no confetti, and no exclusive use of locations. Basically, if you wouldn’t do it while hiking, you shouldn’t do it at your elopement in Zion. The canyon’s formations are over 150 MILLION years old. This is a sacred, jaw-dropping place that must be experienced with respect and courtesy so we can all enjoy it for centuries to come.
Zion National park is perched on the corners of three great regions – The Great Basin, the Mojave Desert and the Colorado plateau. It is a photographer’s paradise in any season. The colors of the canyon come from Navajo sandstone that dominates much of the upper walls, but in all there are nine layers of sediment that make up the steep sides and huge mountains of stone. Angel’s landing may be the most well known hike in the park, but there are over 50 miles of trails with incredible scenery to explore. The Canyon overlook trail parking area fills up fast, but the payoffs for this short hike are stunning and it is a must for any post-ceremony photos! Sunset is a great time to visit this epic lookout.
The Emerald pools area is confusing – the trails all seem to criss cross, but that’s what makes it an adventure, right? The first half of the trail has no shade, and the second half takes you among pools of clear water, and streams seem to be everywhere, even spouting from above your head. Shower, anyone?
At the south end of the park, two elopement ceremony sites are easier to access without using the mandatory shuttle system that runs from April – November. The Amphitheater has rows of built in seating and can accommodate up to 100 guests, or just a few, with views of the red sandstone canyon walls, the watchman, and a picnic area nearby that is first come, first serve.
Or choose a more natural look on the green lawn at the nearby Nature center. Sunset rays will light up the nearby peak nicknamed The Watchman, and no matter where you are in the park, the cooler temps near dawn and sunset are heavenly. Early morning is definitely the best time to Elope in Zion because most tourists are sleeping in, and you and your beloved can enjoy spectacular sights without another soul around. Imagine being surrounded by ancient stone walls as sunlight comes into the canyon, lighting up your partner’s face as they speak their heart and chose you. It will be unforgettable!
There are so many areas to explore in the park, including the Kolob canyons area where the 6th ceremony site is permitted. I’ve also loved exploring the Kolob terrace area, which has everything from hte giant beehive formations to forests, overlooks, wildflowers and even a huge reservoir. Because you must exit the park and re enter, these parts of the park are much less crowded and remote. The Zion-Mt. Carmel highway is a must-drive if you get the chance, as long tunnels connect you on one of the most scenic drives in the country. Really, the entire park is a national treasure. I would love to be your Zion national park elopement photographer, and guide you into having the adventure elopement of your dreams. The first step is to inquire and start the conversation! Let’s have an adventure!