The Grand Canyon is perhaps one of the most iconic features in North America, right up there with Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Arches NP, Horseshoe Bendand The Maroon Bells. The huge park, made up of the Grand Canyon National Park, Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon – Parashant National Monument, and the Hualapai and Havasupai Reservations and Navajo Nation lands, is bisected by the Colorado river into the North rim and South Rim areas. The South rim is more well visited and has many of the more famous viewpoints, accommodations and tourist services. But for this blog post we’re going to focus on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and why you absolutely should plan your destination elopement on the edge!
The North Rim sits about 1,000 feet higher in elevation than the south rim, meaning temps are cooler and you’ll feel the lack of oxygen at around 8,000 feet – in some places, that’s more than a mile up from the bed of the canyon. More importantly, the north rim is well forested! Ponderosa pine forest and some deciduous aspen woods make up much of the landscape right up to the edge of the canyon – so you can say your vows in the shade when you elope at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s not as barren, and in spring the greens of the foliage compliment the layers of rock that dominate the canyon. There’s more biodiversity and birdsong in the trees, too. Did you know there are BISON on the north side? I had no idea a herd of American bison lived in Arizona! You might even see the Kaibab Squirrel, exclusive to the north rim. The whole area is gorgeous and would make a great place to have your elopement ceremony.
Even though the North rim has much fewer visitors than the South rim, the parking areas are very small so it’s still best to plan your elopement at Grand canyon on a weekday and close to sunrise or sunset. Sunrise is the best time for photography on the north rim, and the temperatures are more mild even in summer, so you won’t be a sweaty mess while you get married. (That’s always good, right?) Elopement ceremonies are allowed at both Point Imperial and Cape Royal, which are in my opinion the two best spots on the north rim anyway! However, the entire North rim is only accessible between May and October, because the road to it is not maintained in winter. The application for your wedding permit is $240 and you can apply between 30 days and 1 year from your desired elopement date at one of these two locations. Chat with me about which location might be best for your needs- and if this view doesn’t make you want to say your vows at Cape Royal, I don’t know what will!
May is a great time to elope at point imperial, then follow up with photos all over the place – and there are many incredible options to make epic elopement photos at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. For adventurous couples, no trip to the North Rim would be complete without taking the backpacking Kaibab trail down Bright Angel gorge to the Colorado river. Make sure to stop at Ribbon Falls – if you’re hiking from the south side, you’ll miss this gem! You can also hire a heli tour, a float tour down the river, or just cozy up together in the lodge after your elopement. There are so many ways to have fun there! Point Sublime and Bright Angel’s Point are two more popular locations for photos or picnicing on the North rim.
Here’s my map of great photo spots & epic elopement locations at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these spots, get in touch below!
What do you think? Would you elope at the north rim after seeing these photos and the incredibly low cost of the elopement permit? If this post gets you inspired to plan your Grand Canyon Elopement and create amazing, epic photos there- get in touch right away to secure your date and start dreamin’ and schemin’ with me!
Bright Angel Point Trail, North Rim, AZ 86052, USA