One of my favorite places in the desert southwest is Page, Arizona. The town itself isn’t the draw, but instead the dramatic and varied landscape surrounding it. In this area that overlaps the southern Utah border, you can find buttes, (haha, butts.) slot canyons, rivers, natural arches, beaches, pools, grottos, islands, washes, cliffs and rocky red deserts. Centered around the man-made Lake Powell, hundreds of miles of water fill the intricate canyons, providing many side-canyons to explore. Of all the places I’ve been in the desert southwest, it’s Page that I can’t wait to go back to. The entire area is spectacular, as you’ll hopefully see from my photos below, and I’d love to know what spots get you excited to elope there!
The most famous place near Page is certainly Horseshoe bend, an epic u-turn in the Colorado river just a few miles south of Page. The 1.5 mile flat hike is well worth the baking sun to reach the 1,000ft drop off vista to the river below. High visitation means this spot is very busy, with the rim getting packed especially on weekends and midday. Sunset is also popular as the sun sets just over the horizon behind this spot. Horseshoe Bend is within the Glen Canyon Recreation area, and a special use permit is required for all elopements within those borders. Make sure to apply more than 45 days in advance – Apply and find more information here. The application costs $100 and additional admin fees may be required once accepted – remember that these fees support the staff that takes the time to process and oversee you application, and support our national parks and sites. Although the bend is within the parks system, the parking lot is not, and therefore the city of Page requires a parking fee. Your National parks pass won’t work here, but it’s a small price to pay for this iconic view. It’s important to know all the details for where you plan to elope when you apply for your permit, so get in touch with me and I can help you plan the spot that’s perfect for what you imagine for your horseshoe bend elopement. Imagine just the two of you standing at this vista to say you vows – can you picture a more majestic backdrop for your desert elopement?
The first thing you need to know about Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Rec Area is that IT IS HUGE. Though well visited, the expansive nature of this region, and the fact that much of it can only be accessed by boat, means that it isn’t as crowded as the Grand Canyon or Moab. It would take years to explore all there is here. Which is exactly why you should hire one of the many local boat captains to access the lake and many remote hiking areas from the Wahweap marina for your elopement adventure. April, May, September and October are the best times to elope in Page, for milder temperatures rather the baking summer heat. While the slot canyons provide some shade in the morning and late afternoon, there aren’t many trees so most hikes are exposed. If you’ve been dreaming of a richly textured rocky landscape for your desert elopement, I can definitely help you find it here. A winter elopement in Page would also be incredible, as a light dusting of snow on the desert landscape would look like a frosted dream! You could follow up by cozying up in a lodge together rather than camping out with a campfire which is more possible in the warmer months. The remoteness of this area lends itself to stargazing in every season.
By boat, you can access a pitted ridge, an anasazi dwelling from 1250 AD, reflection canyon, diagenetic arch, and pool canyon which are places I can’t wait to explore (and shoot elopements!) myself. The hundreds of bays, inlets and watery canyons mean there are endless possibilities for eloping at Lake Powell – or you could get married on the boat itself! How amazing would that be? On land, many areas are within Navajo Nation’s federal reservation, and permits are required for access, like the Rainbow bridge, Waterholes canyon, and both of the stunning Antelope Canyons. These areas are especially sacred and special, and like all of our natural resources, need to be treated with respect and all Leave No Trace principles. However, there are some arches, vistas and hikes like Stud Horse Point that don’t require access permits and offer incredible views of the scenery for your desert elopement. Early morning is a great time to elope in Page, as the temperatures will be cooler and the light less harsh, with plenty of color in the skies.
Here’s my map of potential places you could elope in Page, Arizona, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Southern Utah and Lake Powell. Want to find out more about each of these locations and the logistics of each? Get in touch!
I hope I’ve inspired you to plan your epic desert elopement at horseshoe bend, or the greater Glen Canyon & Lake Powell area. If you have questions about any of these locations, dispersed camping areas, or are ready to start the conversation about making me your Lake Powell & Horseshoe Bend Elopement Photographer, don’t hesitate to get in touch! I’d love to guide you in building your perfect desert elopement day that reflects your desires and priorities with epic photography!