Best Desert Elopement Locations
Desert elopements are beautiful and adventurous just like the more popular mountain locations! Here I’ll go over my 5 favorite desert elopement locations so you can get started dreaming of your perfect desert elopement. Eloping in the desert has another major advantage – you can choose a winter date and escape the snow! The best months for desert elopements are from October to March. There are amazing desert elopement locations in Southern California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and even parts of Colorado.
Tips for desert elopements:
Pack layers – light linen shirt, a flannel or denim jacket.
Keep footwear practical and closed-toed if possible. There are lots of pokey plants!
Sun protection is key – sunglasses, chapstick, sunscreen, and umbrellas for shade.
Avoid monsoon season from July to early Sept due to flash flood risk.
Wildlife watching is best in the early morning and late evening.
#1 Best Desert Elopement Locations: Joshua Tree National Park
Iconic Yucca trees stretch to the horizon in this unique and ancient desert in Southern California. This huge park is an awesome elopement location for so many reasons. Choose Joshua Tree if you want to feel like you’re on another planet, or want a unique backdrop or camping elopement. The stargazing here is absolutely pristine. The best Joshua tree elopements would include a full day of watching the sun rise, exploring a hidden oasis, offroading, climbing, hiking, camping or glamping in a nearby Airbnb. The best months for an elopement here are in the shoulder seasons – November, March, and April.
Sample Joshua Tree Elopement Timeline
5:00 Get up early to look at the stars together in your campsite.
6:00 Start getting ready and travel to a first look location.
7:00 Sunrise first look & joyous portraits in the trees.
8:30 Cook pancakes on a camp stove at a picnic area.
10:00 Hike to the palms Oasis with a picnic lunch
12:00 Lunch at the beautiful palms oasis. Create a secret handshake you’ll use later.
2:00 Set up hammocks in the shadow of a rock and relax. Tell each other stories or draw each other.
4:00 Meet up with a few besties and visit skull rock and goof off.
6:15 Sunset ceremony with secret handshake at Cap Rock. Pop some Champagne, you’re married!
7:30 Stay up late having quality time with your besties and a private chef dinner at an airbnb
I have availability for 1 more Joshua Tree Elopement from October 20th to November 30th, 2023.
#2 Best Desert Elopement Location: Zion National Park
This popular and dramatic desert canyon is unlike anywhere else on earth. Located in Southern Utah, the park is centered around a deep canyon that cuts through towering red and white walls, domes, buttes and mesas. Chose Zion as your desert elopement location if you love hiking, jaw dropping sights, and getting up early. There is so much to see and do here, from epic hikes like Angel’s Landing and The Narrows, to hidden slot canyons and deserted vistas – even helicopter rides! There are 6 designated ceremony sites within the park and my favorite is called Temple of Sinewava. The best months to elope in Zion are October, November and May.
Sample Zion Elopement Timeline
9:30 Hike up Zion Narrows
12:00 Get dressed at lodge & First Look
1:00 Family arrives for lunch together
2:00 Intimate ceremony in Zion
2:30 Family photos & toasts
3:00 Shared cake & first dance
4:00 Cool off in the river, go tubing!
6:00 Hike to Canyon Overlook for portraits
6:00 NEXT DAY
Sunrise Hiking adventure to epic location
I have availability for 1 more Zion Elopement from October 20th to November 30th, 2023.
#3 Best Desert Elopement Location: Sedona, Arizona
Sedona isn’t a national park, or a park at all! Sedona is a town in central Arizona that is home to red rock formations and TONS of adventure. If you’re looking for some excitement on your desert elopement day, look no further than Sedona. Here, you can take a hot air balloon ride, jeep tour, atv ride, scenic helicopter flight, horseback adventure, or get your palms read at a fortune teller. The climate is perfect for hiking in spring and fall, but you should definitely plan for a weekday elopement here and be prepared to jump through a few hoops to make sure your ceremony is legal.
Sample Sedona Elopement Timeline
6:00 Get ready together at your Dome Home airbnb
6:30 Watch the sun rise from a knoll with 360 views of the pink and purple sunrise light
8:30 Get breakfast together in town. Get the extra maple syrup.
10:00 Go off roading in a jeep or take a scenic helicopter tour of Sedona
1:00 Picnic lunch of all your favorites, fresh bread, cheese and fruit
2:30 Go for a hike, Feel the energy of a vortex, experience a salt room, get a tarot card reading or explore ancient ruins
4:00 Short hike to an incredible ceremony location as the late afternoon light glows around you
4:45 Champagne and cake! You’re MARRIED!!
5:15 Dinner at a swanky place.. or by the fireplace with a private chef back at your Airbnb
7:00 Prickly pear ice cream around the firepit
I have availability for 1 more Sedona Elopement from October 20th to November 30th, 2023.
About me – Desert elopement Photographer
I’m a nomadic and colorful elopement photographer with an obsession for deserts, hiking, and my cats. My photography style emphasizes the epic landscape of your dreams and the authentic moments that make you two.. well, you two! I love my job and my nature-loving clients. Sunset in the desert is one of my very favorite places to be. Maybe I’ll see you there!
#4 Best Desert Elopement Location: Valley of Fire, Nevada
There are 4 ceremony sites in this small Nevada State Park, located just an hour’s drive from Las Vegas. All the sites are surrounded by some of the most colorful desert rocks you can find. Before or after your ceremony, you can explore the rest of the park’s iconic sights, like Fire Wave. Look for elusive wildlife, like Desert bighorn sheep, Chuckwallas, and Gila monsters. Valley of fire state park is the best desert elopement location for you if you want to stay close to a major city, and are planning for a November to March elopement date.
Sample Valley of Fire Elopement Timeline
6:30 Get ready at your tent at the campgrounds
7:00 Sunrise first look at the beehives
7:30 Make camp French Toast at your site
8:30 Begin the short hike to Fire Wave. You’ll have the trail mostly to yourselves.
9:30 Read letters from loved ones to each other at Fire Wave
10:30 Meet up with 10 friends at the Cabins for a sweet ceremony
12:00 Your friends brought lunch and beverages! It’s group picnic time.
1:30 The group hikes to Captain Kirk’s grave site, or play telephone in the slot canyon
4:00 It might be time to get Slurpees in Overton
5:00 Sunset dip at the hot spring Oasis
7:00 Dinner in Vegas
I have availability for 1 Valley of Fire Elopement from October 20th to November 30th, 2023.
#5 Best Desert Elopement Location: White Sands National Park, New Mexico
White Sands is a desert national park unlike any others. Instead of the usual color palette of reds, oranges, yellows and browns that typify the classic desert, this location is painted in shades of blue, white, and pastels. The sparkling gypsum sand invites couples who are playful and want to be spontaneous. Sand sledding, horseback riding, stargazing, camping, hiking and frolicking are the experiences you can expect here. Bring on the tacos!
Sample White Sands Elopement Timeline
6:00 Sunrise First Look in the mountains
6:30 Campsite waffles for breakfast
7:00 Begin 4 mile hike in the mountains
11:00 Head to White Sands
12:00 meet up with 10 closest loved ones for a cook off with Mexican corn and Horchata
1:00 Sand dune sledding or horseback ride in White Sands
4:00 Afternoon ceremony in the dunes
5:00 Sunset portraits
6:30 Twilight smores back at group campsite (Or hike to a backcountry campsite to spend the night truly alone!)
8:00 Starry first dance
I have availability for 1 more White Sands Elopement from October 20th to November 30th, 2023.
Want more desert elopement locations?
Grand Canyon National Park
Colorado National Monument
Bryce Canyon National Park
Death Valley National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Saguaro National Park
Snow Canyon State Park
Horseshoe Bend, Tucson, and the Chiricahuas
Arches & Canyonlands National Parks
Desert Elopement Inspiration
Here are three real, all day elopements in the desert! Seeing each couple’s day, start to finish, will give you an overview of how your day could come together.