Three parks make up the dreamy desert destination that is Moab: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park. All of them are spectacular and have different highlights – if you’re reading this, you’ve probably considered eloping in Moab’s dramatic scenery but need some location help! In this elopement guide I’ll go over the best places to Elope in Moab, what it takes to get your permit, and the epic elopement photos you can get at each spot! It is going to be hard to choose, as this area will take your breath away (and replace it with sand.) All of the following locations have slightly different rules for elopements & intimate weddings, and knowing where to start can be daunting. Get in touch with me to describe your goals and I can help point you in the right direction! Count on using only artificial flowers in all the parks; even dried seeds can spread easily in the landscape and spread invasive species. Throughout this guide, I will also throw in some do’s and don’ts that I learned from my first trip. Starting with: Don’t arrive after midnight in remote camp area and then pitch your tent in the dark on top of a MASSIVE fire ant nest. Just don’t.
Our primitive campsite
Canyonlands National Park Elopements
Canyonlands is on the west side of the town of Moab and has less visitation than Arches, but with massive sweeping viewpoints of large canyons and a diverse landscape among it’s 4 districts. There are three locations to elope in Canyonlands national park, each beautiful in it’s own way, and all contained in the most popular district named Islands In The Sky. Grand Viewpoint is just that, the last stop on the main road in canyonlands that ends in a big sweeping vista. The rim trail is wide enough for an intimate ceremony without being cramped, and there is plenty to explore here especially in the early morning and evening. The view of the La Salle mountain range is contrasted with the vast white-rimmed canyon below. Plenty of rock outcrops and scrub make this location a colorful and beautiful option for your Canyonlands Elopement photos.
Mesa Arch is one of the most famous and well visited arches in the region. And yes, you can get married there! This spot is very well photographed especially at sunrise, as the first light of dawn lights up the underside of the arch on a clear day. In Canyonlands, you must restrict wedding activities to slick rock & dry washes, and there’s a few great slick rock areas near Mesa Arch and the trail to it that I can show you. The final elopement location is the Green River Overlook, which is incredible at sunset as it faces west. Other locations may be possible if you get special approval. A ceremony permit in Canyonlands is $185 plus entrance fees and more Canyonlands regulations for elopements, and the link to apply and pay can be found here.Do apply at least ten days in advance, and chat with me to plan the the time of day for your elopement ceremony before you apply for your permit.
Dead Horse Point State Park Elopements
Sounds romantic, right? In all seriousness, this vast Utah state park wedged between Canyonlands and Arches covers much of the same beautiful desert landscape, but with a great number of available locations for your Moab Elopement. Though no sites are truly exclusive, this being a state park with no famous landmarks translates into a more secluded desert elopement than in the neighboring national parks. Here you will find canyons, vistas, and desert formations for miles, as well as camping options including a cluster of yurts that would make an incredible base camp for your Dead Horse Point elopement. Permits cost as low as $60 plus entrance fees per vehicle – more information about the application and regulations here. I’ve got a few great spots in mind, and I can help you plan your elopement location so you know what to put on your application at least 30 days in advance. Do: bring a 5 gallon water supply as if you were camping. Even if you’re not, you will appreciate the extra hydration on the high altitude plateau.
Arches National Park Elopements
Arches National park is probably what most people picture of when they think Moab or Utah- after all, Delicate arch is on the Utah state license plate. There are TEN incredible elopement locations in Arches National Park, all $185 for the permit just like Canyonlands. Any visitor will tell you – Arches is HOT. Do get up for sunrise as much as you can, as you’ll have a better chance of finding a parking spot and a moment of peace in the sprawling landscape before the sun bakes you half to death. The Devil’s garden area is so named because of it’s oppressive heat, and it’s the starting point for several of the lesser known arches elopement spots and an amphitheater where you can plan your Moab elopement ceremony. Do plan to camp in the park if you are eloping in Arches, as you can then avoid all the morning traffic of campers fighting to get into the park.
Delicate Arch is practically the definition of “awesome” – this huge freestanding arch is iconic, and you can elope right at it or at a viewpoint that doesn’t require a hike across the exposed rock. However, you absolutely should do this hike – at sunrise, daytime, sunset, or twilight as it is incredible at any time. However, don’t do this hike while you have a lung infection and bronchitis like I did. Funny story – my husband planned to propose to me at delicate arch, however I was so miserable because of the dry conditions on my raw throat that he kept the ring to himself. Happy ending though – he proposed in Bryce canyon instead 🙂
One of the lesser known spots in Arches, and surely the most underrated, is this overlook that is spread with flowers in spring. Because no trailheads start here, many visitors skip it in favor of the more well known areas- but you can elope here with 360 degrees of amazing scenery and rich orange sand beneath your feet. You guys – how beautiful is this spot??
I’ve saved the best for last – the windows & double arch area of Arches National Park is my favorite in the region. The north and south windows are part of the same formation and are absolutely amazing to photograph at sunrise – and through them you can see the third arch, if you know where to stand 🙂 Within a short walk is Double Arch, and I challenge you to find a more epic spot to say your vows than in it’s shadow. If you’ve dreamed of a dramatic backdrop for your intimate Utah elopement, the windows area of Arches has everything you’re looking for with easy access.
As with most elopement locations, there are a few spots outside the bounds of these parks that offer the adventurous elopement seeking couple even more opportunity for a unique experience. And any elopement could be followed by photos in some of the many beautiful locations here on my map of Moab photo locations. Ready to find out more? Get in touch below to talk about your Moab elopement dreams – as your destination elopement photographer, I can guide you into making your elopement day incredibly beautiful and special.