I hope you love cactuses, because my this guide on how to elope in Saguaro National Park is full of ’em! This is a desert lovers’ paradise. Both Saguaro and Joshua Tree National Parks are located in the Sonoran Desert, which means – don’t touch anything. Even if it doesn’t look spiny, it probably is! I love exploring desert landscapes and Saguaro was a treat. Saguaro National Park allows you to select anywhere you want within the parks for your elopement ceremony. This makes having someone with first hand knowledge of the area key to planning. I’ve been to both sides of this park and can’t wait to recommend my favorite areas.
Saguaro is pronounced /sah-wah-ro/. Now you know 🙂
How to Elope in Saguaro West District
This is the more well visited of the two Saguaro National Park districts. It’s located just west of Tucson, Arizona and borders on Tucson Mountain Park. The main loop of SNP West is mostly one way and includes many areas to plan an elopement. The most popular hike in the park, Valley View, is especially gorgeous at sunset. The flat, paved nature trail is so easy to access and offers great Saguaros up close. My favorite picnic area in a mountain cove features a stone cabin and miles of Saguaros stretching to the horizon.
How to Elope in Saguaro East District
It’s an hour’s drive across the city of Tucson to reach the East District. This district is actually quite different from the western half. The Saguaros are branchier, creating a more classic shape. This is the starting point for many of the longer backcountry hikes in the park. It’s less crowded, so the chances of having a private elopement ceremony are higher. Your backgrounds will have more mountain peaks and your foregrounds will be rockier than the West District.
When to Elope at Saguaro National Park
Saguaro is a parched southern National Park in the Sonoran Desert. As you’d expect, Summer is oppressively hot here, and June to August should be avoided. In the winter, it’s a fabulous place to elope. In Spring and Fall, consider planning to be active with the wildlife, at dawn and dusk. If you’ve never experienced a Sonoran Desert sunset, treat yourself! The color changing sky goes on forever! We were lucky enough to see a gorgeous bobcat at sunset in Saguaro West in January.
Where to Elope outside the Park
Like most National Parks, the lands outside of the parks are amazing too! Picacho Peak State park is a great nearby option. Tucson Mountain Park covers much of the same scenery as SNP and includes a beautiful mountain pass. If you can’t elope within the park for any reason, I’ve got more than a few backup locations in mind! The city of Tucson is vibrant and odd. Did you know you can feed ostritches, stingrays, and lorikeets and more at a roadside attraction here? I’ve got many recommendations for this area, and two other Arizona elopement guides: The Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
Applying for the Ceremony Permit
The Saguaro National Park ceremony permit is a whopping $100 and can be found here. Amazing adventures await! When you fill out the application, you will need to put down a location. And you need to tell the park certain things that will persuade them to approve your permit. Especially if you are planning on a weekend. I’ve got the inside scoop and can’t wait to help you nail it.
I’m a nomadic and colorful elopement photographer with an obsession for mountains, 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. There is so magical about the silhouette of a Saguaro and the never-ending Arizona sunsets. Maybe I’ll see you there!
I offer full day, 1.5 day and 2 day elopement photography in National Parks and the wild lands outside of them. See my pricing and package details here. I would love to chat with you and help see if an elopement with me is what you’ve been dreaming of. Get in touch below!
Here’s a preview of my interactive location map for my booked clients:
This map is like a virtual tour of Saguaro National Park and the surrounding highlights with color photos I’ve taken of each place. So you can see all the great spots without leaving your living room. If you’re planning from afar, this is a visual key to picking out the elopement spot that works for you. Details like what seasons and time of day are best for each location are included. It will help you plan your activities, accommodations, and your day’s itinerary. Lastly, it’s easy to have a great backup location picked out with this map in front of you. Having that Plan B in your back pocket will keep your planning stress-free!
Ready to talk about your Saguaro elopement photography? Contact me!
Check out my other Desert Elopement Guides:
– Zion Elopement Guide
– Grand Canyon Elopement Guide
– Bryce Canyon Elopement Guide
– Snow Canyon State Park Elopement Park
– Moab Elopement Guide
– Horseshoe Bend Elopement Guide
– Valley of Fire Elopement Guide
– New Mexico Elopement Guide
– Death Valley National Park Elopement Guide
– Joshua Tree National Park Elopement Guide