How to Elope in Moab, Arches and Canyonlands
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.)
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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.
How to elope in Moab – Canyonlands
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 its 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.
Eloping at Mesa Arch
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 heavily photographed especially at sunrise. 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. Good news is, there are a few great slick rock areas near Mesa Arch 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. The link to apply and pay can be found here. Do apply at least ten days in advance, and chat with me before you apply for your permit.
How to Elope in Moab – Dead Horse Point State Park
This vast Utah state park wedged between Canyonlands and Arches covers much of the same beautiful desert landscape. Having no famous landmarks means a more secluded elopement than in the neighboring national parks. Here you will find canyons, vistas, and desert formations for miles. Camping options include 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 so you know what to put on your application. 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.
How to Elope in Arches National Park
Arches National Park is probably what most people picture when they think of 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 are just $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. You’ll have a better chance of finding a parking spot before the sun bakes you half to death. The Devil’s Garden area is so named because of its oppressive heat. It’s the starting point for several of the lesser known Arches elopement spots. Do plan to camp in the park, as you can then avoid all the morning traffic!
How to Elope at Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is practically the definition of “awesome”. This huge freestanding arch is iconic, and you can elope right at the base. Or choose to elope 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 raw throat that he kept the ring to himself. Happy ending though – he proposed in Bryce canyon instead 🙂
Arches is Full of Hidden Gems
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??
The Windows and Double Arch
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 its 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. See an adventure session here!
Eloping Outside the Parks
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 custom map of Moab area locations. Ready to find out more? Get in touch below to talk about your Moab elopement dreams and make this map interactive. I can guide you on how to elope in Moab & making your elopement day incredibly beautiful and special.