Death Valley Elopement Guide Updated for 2024

Listen up, desert lovers – my Death Valley Elopement Guide is here! This huge National Park in South Eastern California is an uncrowded desert paradise. My impression before visiting the park was that it was going to be a flat, boring desert, and I could not have been more wrong. The park straddles the Panamint and Amargosa mountain ranges and the valleys between them. Elevation ranges from over 12,000 feet at Jubilee Pass to -282 feet below sea level at Badwater Basin salt flats.

2024 Current Closures in Death Valley

In August 2023, the effects of Hurricane Hilary flooded much of Death Valley and closed the park until October of 2023. Flash floods covered almost all of the roads in thick inches to feet of sediment. Now, most of the main park roads are fully open, so proceed with your trip to Death Valley! You can check the current closures page for all the updated information.

The Temporary Lake at Badwater Basin

Since the floods in August of 2023, Badwater Basin has been filled with a temporary lake. This is a rare, once in a lifetime sight and nobody knows how long it will last. It’s only a few inches deep, so if you’re willing to get your feet wet you can grab some incredible photos mirrored reflection photos. It’s also one of the best places for star photos.

When to Elope in Death Valley

When should you elope in Death Valley? There is only one answer: Winter, winter winter. Daily high temperatures in December, January, and February usually top out between 65 and 85 degrees. November and March are balmy, with temps reaching the high 70s to mid 80s usually. I would not choose to elope here from April to October, as daily highs can reach over 100 degrees which can be dangerous when you’re having the time of your lives. Plan for early mornings, sunset, twilight and starlight magic in Death Valley for the best experience. Bonus tip: there can be intense wildflower blooms in Death Valley from mid February to mid April.

Monthly Temperature Chart for Death Valley

Is Death Valley dangerous?

When I visited at the height of summer, it was 121 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t do that! The heat here is NO JOKE. In summer, it is dangerous to exert yourself at all and ALL hiking is discouraged. Just making it up to the lookout at Zabriskie point made us nauseous and dizzy. The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was here on July 10th, 1913 at a whopping 134 degrees. There are just a few trees in the park, so don’t expect to find any shade.

  • Be over prepared. Pack tons of water, food, and emergency shelter.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back.
  • Always carry a map, compass, and or GPS tracker.

Where to Elope in Death Valley National Park in 2024

Provided you get approval on your permit, you could elope anywhere in this park. The application fee is $300 and all the info and application is here. Your photographer does NOT need an additional permit. Include your insurance and vehicle testing applications at the same time for the best results. You can drive up to many of the great views, or hike into the colorful layered canyons. Artist’s Palette is a favorite place of mine, as are the sand dunes for playing in. In the spring, some of the valleys in the south become blanketed in wildflowers. And how cool would it be to exchange vows at the lowest place on the entire continent?

#1 Elopement Location in Death Valley – Artist’s Palette

Located in the central area of Death Valley near Furnace Creek, the Artist’s Pallette is a one-way scenic loop drive. It offers the best views of the most colorful formations in Death Valley.

#2 Elopement Location in Death Valley – Mesquite Dunes

A huge dunefield near Stovepipe Wells is surrounded by rugged mountain ranges on all sides. The dunes offer a fun chance to explore for the playful at heart couple. The dunes are mild and not very steep.

#3 Elopement Location in Death Valley – Badwater Basin

The lowest place in the continental USA, this spot is -282 feet below sea level. The ground is covered in a salty deposit or if you’re lucky, a seasonal lake offering mirror-like reflections.

#4 Elopement Location in Death Valley – Zabriskie Point

This viewpoint is located near Furnace Creek and is a short hike from the parking area. The rolling hills stretch to the horizon.

Additional Elopement Locations in Death Valley

Death Valley is a HUGE park – in fact, it’s the largest National Park outside of Alaska. There are countless incredible places to explore that go beyond the roadside attractions. Check out more amazing elopement locations in Death Valley:

  • Dante’s View
  • Ubehebe Crater
  • The Racetrack
  • Mustard Canyon
  • Darwin Falls **Access road currently closed
  • Father Crowley’s Overlook **Currently closed in 2024
  • Scotty’s Castle **Currently closed in 2024

Elopement Locations Outside of Death Valley

Because Death Valley is a long drive from any major cities and any other landmarks, it’s best visited on a road trip. So if you want to honeymoon in the desert, get married while you’re there! But, If the remote nature of Death Valley is too much travel time for you, consider eloping outside of the park’s boundaries. Or, if you are pulling together a short-notice elopement, I can recommend spots that aren’t regulated by the National Park’s permit system.

Death Valley Elopement Photographer & Planner

I’m a colorful Death Valley 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. Death Valley is a colorful desert and a hiker’s dream. Maybe I’ll see you there!

How to plan a Death Valley Elopement:

Planning a Death Valley Elopement doesn’t have to be difficult! Follow these steps:
1. Select a season and date for your elopement. November to March is best.
2. Hire a Death Valley elopement guide & photographer who you LOVE! Contact me below.
3. Make your bookings for flights, rental car and accommodation
4. Coordinate with your photographer to select a ceremony location & time and apply for the ceremony permit with the park
5. Hire additional vendors – Officiant, beauty, and florist if desired.
6. Obtain your California Marriage license and bring it and the permit with you!

And boom! You’re ready to elope in Death Valley National Park!

Do I need an officiant to get married in Death Valley?

California law requires that an officiant signs your marriage license. Hiring an officiant can cost $500 to $2000 depending on how far they have to travel and how much time they’ll spend creating your ceremony. However! I’m ordained, so I can non-denominationally officiate your ceremony to make your marriage legal! Alternatively, have one of your friends or family become ordained so they can be the one to sign the paperwork. So while you do need an officiant, you don’t have to hire one. Additionally, you will need 1 witness to sign your California Marriage license to make it legal. My husband is volunteering right now, or you can ask a stranger for the honor.

Officiant in Death Valley Options:
– Hire a professional officiant ($500 to $2000+)
– Elect for me to officiate and create your ceremony for $0
– Bring a friend who gets ordained
– Get legally married in your home state and have a non-legally binding ceremony in Death Valley.

How much does it cost to get married in Death Valley?

Of course it depends on how much you want to spend. Eloping can be a cost saving option or a luxury experience depending on your preference and goals. You can elope by paying the $300 permit fee and the $91 California marriage license and run away. Or, if you’re the kind of couple that values experiences over things, you can splurge on a week of fun and backcountry exploring.

  • $300 Death Valley Special Use Permit
  • $91 California Marriage License
  • $7000 to $10,000 Elopement photographer & planner
  • $500 to $2000 Accommodation
  • $500 to $2000 Optional officiant
  • $500 Hair & makeup
  • $600 Flowers

Death Valley Elopement Packages

I am an Elopement Photographer & planner offering Death Valley elopement packages to couples who want to sink their teeth into an amazing desert elopement. There are no travel fees, download fees, watermarks or other hidden fees. These prices are for 2024.

2 Day elopements in Death Valley – $9900

1.5 Days of elopement photography in Death Valley – $7900

1 Full day adventure elopement in Death Valley – $6900

Up to 4 hours elopement in Death Valley – $5500 **Only available on select dates in 2024**

How to get to Death Valley

Death Valley’s closest airport is Las Vegas, Nevada. From there, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive to many of the main attractions in Death Valley. The northern half of Death Valley National Park is the least visited and is extremely remote, taking many hours to get to. Additionally, to access unique craters and the racetrack valley, a 4wd high clearance jeep is required. Death Valley is north of Joshua Tree, South of Mammoth Lakes, and East of Sequoia National Park.

Where to Stay In Death Valley in 2024

There are nine campgrounds within Death Valley National Park, a few RV parks and hundreds of miles of dirt roads. The only other accommodation inside the park is the Furnace Creek Oasis, which is surrounded by palm trees and greenery. If you need a place with showers and modern luxuries like walls, that’s your go to! Nearby towns of Death Valley Junction and Pahrump offer a few hotels. Better yet, unique airbnbs offer a more private experience with pools, hot tubs, ranches, full homes, tiny houses, cabins, and more! Browse my list of Death Valley airbnbs here.

What is there to see in Death Valley?

This park is full of a crazy amount of diverse landscapes. I had no idea that there were huge sand dunes within Death Valley. I didn’t know that the layers of rock have every color imaginable. Deep reds, pinks, blacks and browns contrast with yellow, white, and pale blue bands. There are deep canyons, scenic drives, slot canyons, and mountains galore. There are even a few volcanic craters that you can walk down into and explore. If you love geology, rocks, deserts and unique landscapes – this is the elopement location for you.

Death Valley Elopement Timeline

Not sure what your Death Valley elopement could look like? Let me paint the picture of a hypothetical death Valley elopement.

10:00 Write your vows poolside at your Airbnb
11:00 Get ready together and pack your bags
12:00 Stop for lunch
2:00 Take the scenic drive through Artists Palette. Say your vows at a beautiful vista.
3:30 Pop some champagne or cider to celebrate the fact that you just got married!!
4:30 Explore up a slot canyon or tour the wildflowers
5:00 Eat dinner at Furnace Creek among the palms
7:00 Watch the sunset together from Dante’s View
8:30 Explore under the stars at badwater basin

Day 2 Ideas:
Visit Ubehebe crater and the racetrack – camp in the backcountry under the stars
Hike in to Darwin falls and then play in the sand dunes at Mesquite Flat

Interactive elopement location map of Death Valley

I have created a custom, interactive map of the incredible photo locations and elopement hotspots in Death Valley. This map is like a virtual tour 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! I can’t share all my tips for how to elope in Death Valley with you!

Inquire to start planning your Death Valley elopement with me!

The california coastal elopement location of Big Sur has colorful foliage, ocean views, and big mountains.

California Master Elopement Locations Guide

See my ultimate guide to all the best places to elope in California, from San Francisco to Big sur, Yosemite, Mammoth Lakes, Sequoia, the redwoods, Channel Islands, San Diego, Joshua tree and more!

See my other California Elopement Guides:
– Mono Lakes Elopement Guide
– Yosemite Elopement Guide
– Sequoia & Kings Canyon Elopement Guide
– Mammoth Lake Elopement Guide
– Joshua Tree Elopement Guide

More Desert Elopement Guides

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