Top Desert Locations to Elope in Arizona

Dreaming of a picturesque elopement among the beautiful deserts of Arizona? Look no further. From the iconic saguaro cacti of Saguaro National Park to the breathtaking slot canyons like Antelope Canyon, Arizona offers an array of breathtaking locales for your intimate ceremony. Whether you’re interested in the rugged beauty of the Superstition Mountains or searching for bohemian vibes of Joshua Tree House, there’s a desert oasis to suit every couple’s vision. Join us as we explore the top desert locations to elope in Arizona.

Phoenix Area + Superstition Mountains

Lost Dutchman State Park

Eloping in Lost Dutchman State Park can be a romantic and memorable experience. Located in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, this park offers stunning landscapes, gorgeous rugged mountains, and beautiful desert scenery. This location checks all of the boxes for a perfect backdrop for your intimate wedding ceremony. Check out their pricing here!

Planning Your Elopement in Lost Dutchman State Park

  1. Permits: As of my last update in March 2024, Lost Dutchman State Park does not specifically list elopements or small weddings among its permitted activities. However, regulations and policies may change over time, so it’s essential to verify this information directly with the park authorities. They will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding regulations, permits, fees, and any other requirements for holding your event in the park. Reserve your date here!
  2. Choosing a Location: Lost Dutchman State Park offers several scenic spots for your elopement ceremony. Consider locations such as the Superstition Mountains, Siphon Draw Trailhead, or any other scenic trail within the park.
  3. Timing of Ceremony: Keep in mind the weather conditions and the time of day for the best lighting and ambiance. I highly recommend avoiding mid-day because of how busy the park can get. If you are wanting a more soft, glowy light, the “golden hour” shortly after sunrise or before sunset can create a beautiful and romantic atmosphere.
  4. Lodging: Arrange transportation to and from the park, as well as accommodations if you plan to stay overnight in the area. There are nearby towns like Apache Junction or Gold Canyon where you can find lodging options.
  5. Activities to do: Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, or adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful Arizona destination. 

Get inspired for your boho elopement at Lost Dutchman State Park on my blog here!

My Favorite Spots in Sedona to Elope

Bell Rock: 

Eloping at Bell Rock in Arizona can be a breathtaking experience! Here’s a general guide to help you plan your elopement:

  1. Permits + Logistics: You do not need a permit for this location and only need to buy a red rock parking pass which you can buy when you enter the parking lot. Also depending on how many guests you are having, I would recommend hiring transport because the parking lots can fill up on the weekends. 
  2. Ceremony Location: Choose a specific location at Bell Rock for your ceremony. There are several stunning spots with beautiful views. A personal favorite of mine is the Bell Rock Vista because of the panoramic views, however, it is one of the most popular trails and can become easily crowded.
  3. Activities to Do: Bell Rock offers a stunning backdrop for outdoor adventures and relaxation, perfect for before or after an elopement. Enjoy yoga, stargazing, hiking, mountain biking, Jeep tours, and hot air balloon rides for unforgettable memories! Explore more inspiration for your Bell Rock Elopement here.

Merry Go Round Rock:

Eloping at Merry Go Round Rock in Arizona can also be a stunning experience! Here’s a general guide to help you plan your elopement:

  1. Permits: You do not need a permit for this location! It is only accessible through 4 wheel drive on a very rough road. If you do not feel comfortable driving on it you can hire a company to escort you to the location — like pink jeep tours in Sedona. You can also rent your own jeep and drive yourself! The road is a 6.4 mile round trip trail that takes around 45 minutes or 1.5 hours  to drive. 
  2. Ceremony Location: Select a specific spot at Merry Go Round Rock for your ceremony. There are several beautiful locations with scenic views. You can exchange your vows directly at Merry Go Round rock while being surrounded by panoramic views of the red rocks. You also can explore the many scenic overlooks, creeks, or meadows for a more intimate elopement ceremony. 

Cathedral Rock: 

All things considered, eloping at Cathedral Rock in Arizona can be a magical experience! 

Cathedral Rock Desert Elopement Planning Guide

  1. Permits: Check with the Coconino National Forest Service to see if you need any permits for your ceremony at Cathedral Rock.
  2. Ceremony Location: Cathedral Rock is another iconic and breathtaking red rock formation located near Sedona, Arizona. Top ceremony locations include Red Rock Crossing, Cathedral Rock Trail, Baldwin Trail, Crescent Moon Ranch, and Red Rock State Park.
  3. Logistics: When planning your elopement at Cathedral Rock, sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times to capture the red rocks glowing in the soft light.
  4. Shuttle: Sedona Shuttle is also a resource that you can use during your elopement for easy access to the trail! Be sure to check the dates and times for the shuttle so that they align with your day of events! The shuttle runs Thursday – Sunday! I highly recommend elopements Monday-Wednesday!
  5. Activities to Do: Before or after your elopement at Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona, there are plenty of activities to enjoy that will enhance your experience and create lasting memories. Here are some activities to consider:
    • Hiking: Cathedral Rock Trail offers stunning views, while Bell Rock Pathway provides an easier option.
    • Visit Vortex Sites: Experience the spiritual energy at sites like the Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock vortexes.
    • Shopping and Dining: Explore shops and restaurants in the Village of Oak Creek or downtown Sedona.

I’m still in awe of this bridal session at Cathedral Rock that we had the honor of documenting – Check out the blog here!

Desert Elopements in Page, Arizona: 

Eloping in Page, Arizona, can be a beautiful and memorable experience, especially with stunning locations like Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend nearby. 

Horseshoe Bend:

  1. Choose a Date and Time: Consider the time of day for the best lighting and fewer crowds. I have found that avoiding going midday is the best time to avoid the crowds. 
  2. Permits: You can access permits for your elopement at the National Park Service!
  3. Ceremony Location: There are several areas along the rim of the Colorado River with stunning views. Here are a few ideas to consider: 
    • Overlook Area: Offers panoramic views of the Colorado River, cliffs, and desert landscape, ideal for sunrise or sunset.
    • Rim Trail: Provides secluded spots along the edge with various viewpoints of the bend.
    • Lower Viewing Area: Less crowded and accessible via a short hike.
    • Sandstone Ledge: Unique locations along the cliff’s edge.
  4. Parking: Horseshoe Bend has a parking lot with a short hike to the viewpoint.
  5. Weather: Be prepared for the weather:
    • Summer: Hot and dry with possible afternoon thunderstorms. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing and bring water.
    • Fall: Comfortable temperatures with occasional cold fronts. Layer clothing for changing conditions.
    • Winter: Wettest season with rain and snow showers. Bring waterproof clothing or an umbrella.
    • Spring: Comfortable temperatures but can be windy. Layer clothing for temperature changes throughout the day.
  6. Activities to Do: Here are some activities to consider:

So, check out these beautiful engagement photos that we captured at Horseshoe Bend here!

Slot Canyons:

Eloping in the slot canyons of Arizona, such as Antelope Canyon or Secret Canyon, can be a magical experience. So, here’s a general guide to help you plan your elopement:

Slot Canyon Desert Elopement Planning Essentials

  1. Choose a Slot Canyon: Decide which slot canyon you want to elope in. Antelope Canyon is the most famous, but there are other beautiful options like Secret Canyon or Canyon X.
  2. Permits: Check if you need permits for your chosen slot canyon. Permits are required for commercial photography in Antelope Canyon, and some canyons may have restrictions on ceremonies.
  3. Logistics: Plan for any logistics, such as transportation to the canyon and any equipment you may need for the ceremony. Some canyons require a guided tour to access.
  4. Canyon Weather: Be prepared for the weather, as slot canyons can be hot during the day and cold at night. Dress accordingly and bring plenty of water.
  5. Activities to Do: Exploring the slot canyons of Arizona offers a unique and memorable experience that can complement your elopement. Canyoneering is the perfect activity for those seeking adventure. Navigate through narrow passageways, scramble over rocks, and rappel down waterfalls under the guidance of experienced instructors.

Eloping in the Tucson, Arizona Deserts

Saguaro National Park:

So, eloping in Saguaro National Park in Arizona can be a beautiful and memorable experience surrounded by the iconic saguaro cacti and stunning desert landscapes. 

  1. Choose a Location: Saguaro National Park is divided into two districts, the Tucson Mountain District (West) and the Rincon Mountain District (East). Choose a specific location within the park for your ceremony, such as a scenic overlook or a peaceful desert trail.
  2. Permits: Check if you need any permits for your ceremony. Permits are generally required for weddings and ceremonies in national parks, so be sure to inquire with the park authorities.
  3. Weather: Be prepared for the weather, as it can be hot during the day and cold at night. Check the forecast and dress accordingly.
  4. Activities to Do: Pack a picnic and enjoy a meal surrounded by the beauty of the desert landscape. Many of the park’s picnic areas offer shaded tables, scenic views, and opportunities to relax and unwind after your elopement ceremony.

Joshua Tree House: 

Above all, eloping at the Joshua Tree House can be a magical experience surrounded by the desert landscape and bohemian vibes. So, here’s a general guide to help you plan your elopement:

Joshua Tree Desert Elopement Guide

  1. Check Availability: Contact the Joshua Tree House to inquire about availability for your elopement date.
  2. Book Accommodation: Reserve a stay at the Joshua Tree House for your elopement. The property offers a unique and picturesque setting for your ceremony.
  3. Guests: Decide if you want any guests to attend your elopement. The Joshua Tree House can accommodate small ceremonies and intimate gatherings.
  4. Logistics: Plan any additional logistics, such as transportation to the Joshua Tree House and any special decorations or items you want for your ceremony.
  5. After the Ceremony: Enjoy a romantic getaway at the Joshua Tree House and explore the beauty of Joshua Tree National Park during your stay. Whether you choose to explore Joshua Tree National Park, immerse yourself in the local art and culture, or simply relax and enjoy the tranquil desert environment, there are plenty of activities to complement your elopement experience and create lasting memories in the Joshua Tree area.

Since the Joshua Tree House is known for its bohemian and desert-inspired decor, you might consider incorporating elements like succulents, macrame, or desert flowers into your ceremony to complement the vibe of the space.

Leave No Trace: All in all, remember to respect the natural environment and leave no trace of your ceremony behind. So, pack out any trash or belongings and be mindful of the fragile desert ecosystem.

Arizona Wedding and Elopement Photographer + Videographer | Kali M Photos + Film 

Whether you’re seeking to infuse a non-traditional vibe into a conventionally classic wedding or crafting an entirely unprecedented way to say “I do,” you deserve more than just an ordinary photography experience. You deserve an Arizona wedding photography and videography experience as distinctive as you are, and my friend, you’ve just discovered it. Secure your date here!

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