desert elopement location, horseshoe bend elopement, utah elopement photographer

With so many people eloping these days, elopement locations are limitless! Whether you’re looking to elope in the mountains, on the beach, or in the desert, we’ve got you. Are you excited by wide open spaces? By warm air, wise aged cacti, and adventuring the shit out of exquisite landscapes with your honey!? Then look no further than this guide of desert elopement locations! If you’re not quite sure where to start when planning your elopement, check out our complete elopement checklist and answers to the top 10 questions eloping couples ask us! 

Now, without further ado, we present to you our favorite desert elopement locations:   

joshua tree, california

When talking about desert elopement locations, we had to start with Joshua Tree National Park. Spanning across 594,502 acres of California, on the eastern side of this enormous national park you can enjoy creosote bushes, ocotillo, and “jumping” cholla cactus. The Western half of the park contains the Mojave Desert, where you can be surrounded by Joshua trees, one of the most iconic desert plants! One of the perks of eloping – less red tape and more options! Provided you have less than 25 people at your celebration, you can get hitched at any of these Joshua Tree locations: Hidden Valley Picnic Area (not permitted in March–May), Quail Springs Picnic Area (not permitted in March–May), Cap Rock, Live Oak Picnic Area, Split Rock, and Rattlesnake Picnic Area.

Joshua Tree provides some epic hiking opportunities, and don’t get us started on the stargazing! Actually – get us started, we love it and can’t wait to take night shots of you and your honey. Check out Ryan Mountain Trail, a 3-mile moderate out-and-back trail offering incredible views of the desert, or Baker Dam Nature Trail if you’re planning to have a few family members or friends join you – it’s an easy 1.3 looped trail featuring beautiful desert flowers. For those looking for an epic hike adventure, check out Fortynine Palms Trail, a 3-mile difficult hike that’s easy to access and shows off the true beauty of the desert landscape.

note:

It does get, like, really really hot, so plan for a sunrise or a sunset elopement. Good news: champagne goes super well for both! 

arches national park, utah

Dubbed a “red-rock wonderland”, Arches National Park has the highest concentration of natural stone arches found anywhere in the world – over 2,000! If you’re like us and nerd out on how these Arches are formed, check this out. The Arches are also the most visited area in Moab, so try to plan for a weekday elopement and to arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon to find space for your ceremony. Make sure to leave the Arches (and all of Moab!) the way you found it – avoid scrambling, walking or standing upon, or rappelling off any arch in the park.

The Arches do require permits and offer 10 locations to get hitched: La Sal Mountains Viewpoint, The Windows Section, Sand Dune Arch, Delicate Arch, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Pine Tree Arch, Landscape Arch, Park Avenue, Devils Garden Campground Amphitheater, and Panorama Point.

Looking to camp among slickrock outcroppings before or after your elopement? You can! Devils Garden Campground is the only campground at Arches National Park, and you can reserve campsites from March 1 through October 31. Sites are first-come-first-serve the rest of the year.

a few unique things to keep in mind about eloping in arches national park:

–   The total cost of a wedding permit (see: permits) is $185 (a non-refundable application fee of $55, and an administrative and management fee of $130). In addition, all elopement attendees will pay an entrance fee of $30 per car.

–   You are only allowed to occupy an area for 10 minutes when others are present (so they can also take in the views). Don’t worry – we can definitely make this work for photos before/after your ceremony!

–   No use of rice, birdseed or any non-native plant seed.

–   Playing musical instruments or having amplified sound is prohibited.

extra tip

if you’re looking to adventure on a bike or four wheels, check out Sand Flats Recreation Area! Known for its bike and 4×4 trails, this area features a high plan of slickrock domes, bowls and fins. Campsites are first come, first serve, and you’ll need to purchase a day use pass online before enjoying this 8,000 acre area. Ready to ride to your elopement destination? You’ll know better than we can what you and your partner can handle – definitely check out all mountain bike options in Moab. Four-wheeling more your thing? You’ll want to head to Fins and Things and Hell’s Revenge – both are world-renowned 4×4 trails!

Check out our full guide to eloping in Moab – full of more Moab elopement locations and fun ideas for what to do after you elope!

desert elopement location, moab elopement photographer

waimea canyon, kauai 

Did you know there’s an incredible desert IN HAWAII?? True story. Waimea Canyon on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai can be thought of as the ‘grand canyon’ of Hawaii and might just be the perfect desert elopement locations for you and your honey. “Waimea” in Hawaiian means ‘reddish water’ (from the erosion of the red soil) and boy, does this red soil shine. Honestly just stopping at an overlook on the drive to trailheads takes your breath away! True adventurers go past the lookouts and get to really experience the canyon. Take the Kukui Trail for a 5-mile difficult hike that takes you 2,000 feet INTO the canyon where you’ll enjoy waterfalls in the distance, a river at the bottom, and a gorgeous hike through the Kukui Forest. If you and your partner are looking for a real challenge, look no further than the Waimea Canyon Trail, a 13-mile hike leaving no view unseen of this incredible canyon. You can even camp in ​​Kōkeʻe State Park – the uplands above Waimea Canyon before or after you elope! 

Fun tip: Plan a day to sail along the Napali Coast so you can see the other side of this stunning island! Also, make sure to check out the Waimea Canyon State Park website for road and viewing site updates.

sedona, arizona

If you’re a sucker for red soil and rocks like us but want a mainland option, Sedona, Arizona is the desert elopement locations for you! Of course we’re going to start with the breathtaking Cathedral Rock, famous for backdrops in just about every set of photos in the area. While it is suuuper popular and can get quite crowded, we totally understand why and if this is your rock, we’ll help you plan a sunrise, weekday or even sunset elopement with you. Plus – we’ll enjoy a 1-mile out-and-back hike getting there and back! 

Did you know there are SECRET CAVES in Sedona? Whether you and your partner are super adventurers and want to really work for your special (and secret!) elopement location or you’re looking simply for an epic, secluded spot to say your vows, the secret caves of Sedona are perfect for you. Check out Devil’s Bridge for a 4-mile moderately difficult hike for a view of the largest natural sandstone arch in Sedona, or enjoy a 2.5-mile easy hike for the perfect views of Sedona on the Fay Canyon Trail. Best news of all? These locations do not require elopement permits! Just please ensure you pack out everything you pack in, and we’d absolutely be honored to help plan your desert elopement in Sedona if you’re stuck on where you’d want to elope.

fun tip

After a long day of hiking, check out this Glamping Yurt, where you and your SPOUSE can rest up and sleep under the stars!

Check out 6 sweet wedding traditions you can include in your elopement!

grand canyon, arizona

While we’re talking about Arizona, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a huge desert elopement locations shoutout to the Grand Canyon. If warm tones and a desert vibe are your thing, the Grand Canyon has all the bohemian desert wedding vibes you could want! Whether you two are river rafting adventurers or you’d rather stay on land and take a bike tour of the canyon, hiking is not the only option at the Grand Canyon! 

There are a few rules and permits required to get married at the Grand Canyon, but we can help you every step of the way. On the South Rim, you can elope at Pima Point (Dec-Feb only), Rim Worship Site, Grandeur Point, Shoshone Point (May-Oct only), Moran Point, and Lipan Point. On the North Rim, you can elope at the Cape Royal Amphitheater and Point Imperial Viewpoint. If you’re wondering which point is best for your desert elopement locations, we can definitely help – simply give us a call! We will tell you that we’re a bit partial to Point Imperial Viewpoint as it’s the highest viewpoint along the rim (8,800 feet!!), and features a quintessential view of the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon.

fun tip

OMG stay at Under Canvas. Located just 25 minutes from the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, you and your honey can honeymoon in style and comfort in a luxury tent providing everything you’d need and more post hiking!

Check out 100 other fun things you can do on your elopement day!

horseshoe bend, arizona

You know what, let’s just keep the Arizona train going. Horseshoe Bend is one of the coolest and most popular (aside from of course the Grand Canyon) spots in Arizona. As a desert elopement locations, you can enjoy the beyond unique backdrop of Horseshoe Bend, a 1.5-mile out-and-back hike, and your pups can even join you! Just make sure they stay on leash at all times. To get married at Horseshoe Bend, simply acquire a special use permit, which currently costs $300 and you must apply a minimum of 45 days before your elopement date. There’s also a $10 entrance fee, and it truly is a popular spot so plan for an early morning or weekday elopement. That being said – there is plenty of space away from the crowds to enjoy the 1,000-foot drop view that Horseshoe Bend provides. 

red rock canyon, nevada

Red Rock Canyon is such a beautiful desert elopement locations, full of desert buttes and rock formations. There are three elopement locations you and your honey can get hitched at: Overlook on State Route 159, featuring a hiking trail and a scenic panoramic view of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Red Spring Boardwalk Platform in Calico Basin, and Ash Spring Overlook in Calico Basin. If you want to camp among desert landscapes, look no further than Ricardo Campground – we’re talking scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located on the eastern side of the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada, 92 miles south of Lone Pine. 

slot canyons

While Antelope Canyon might be the first slot canyon you think of, it is unfortunately no longer available for weddings or photos due to its recent popularity. Fear not – there are still plenty of slot canyons you can elope in! Slot Canyons are epic for adventure elopements, and provide a super unique elopement based on the type of adventure you’re looking for! Many slot canyons are on sacred ground, so we’re not going to list actual locations in an effort to respect Navajo land. If you think you’d like to hike into a slot canyon for your desert elopement, we are more than happy to help you plan for the perfect location! 

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it – Your elopement is exactly just that: YOUR elopement! We have so many tips and tricks up our sleeve to make sure your desert elopement experience is perfect. From the moment you hire us, we are a team. 

It all starts with the questionnaire so we can find out what is important to you for your elopement. You’ll get a list of customized location options, resources to help you plan, and vendor recommendations. We’ll dream and scheme! We’re available for advice, jumping ideas around, and talking through logistics. No matter what, we’ll create an elopement timeline to make sure we’re at the right spot at the right time. We’re your dream team and we’re ready to guide you through all things eloping!

Whether you’re looking for a two-day elopement experience (think: two 8 hour days of documentation, or mix it up and do a 12 hour day and a 4 hour day), a full day elopement experience (up to 12 hours of coverage), an 8 hour elopement experience, or a partial day elopement experience (up to 4 hours of coverage), we can’t wait to plan your dream desert elopement experience. Reach out today and let’s dream together!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.