Have you ever visited Sedona? If you haven’t, let me tell you: it’s like stepping into a dream. The red rock formations seem to rise up out of the earth like they were always there, and they make you feel as though you’re standing on the edge of the world. It’s an incredible experience, and it makes it a great place to elope. Learn how to elope in Sedona!

Location

Sedona is located just over 2 hours from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, which is the closest international airport. Sedona is a beautiful desert city surrounded by red rock canyons and towering mesas. It’s known for its excellent hiking, biking, and jeep tours, as well as its vibrant art scene and many unique shops. The city of Sedona has a population of over 10,000 people, but it hosts more than 2 million visitors each year who come to explore the area’s many natural wonders.

The destination of Sedona has a plethora of magical locations that would be perfect for your elopement. Today, I’ll cover my top three favorite locations in Sedona!

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock is one of the more popular hiking trails in Sedona. The trailhead is located on Highway 179, about 3 miles north of downtown Sedona. This route will take you past many other popular sites such as Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte.

The trailhead is marked with signs pointing to Cathedral Rock from the highway, but once you leave the parking lot there are no signs indicating which way to go or how far away it is—so be sure to bring a map! Once you begin hiking up the trail you’ll come across several forks but they’re all marked with arrows pointing in different directions so it’s pretty easy to stay on track if you’ve got some sense of direction (or even better: GPS). This hiking trail is popular for a reason and it’s because you can’t beat the stunning views of the gorgeous rocks and canyons.

Merry Go Round

If you’re thinking about getting married in Sedona, consider eloping at Merry Go Round! This spot will make your ceremony feel like it happened in another world. You can still be a fan of the great wild outdoors and not have to do the hike if you don’t want to; just rent an off-roading vehicle or take a Jeep tour to get there. You’ll be sure to have an intimate ceremony or elopement experience with all the vast land around you. You don’t want to miss the view here when the sunset hits every corner of the canyons and cliffs!

Devil’s Bridge

The Devil’s Bridge in Sedona, Arizona is a natural wonder of the world. It was formed by the weathering away of stone and is considered one of Arizona’s most iconic landmarks. This is a 4 miles out-and-back trail that takes you to the base of the bridge, where you can walk across it and see its beauty up close. The hike itself isn’t too strenuous—there are some steep sections but nothing too crazy—but it will definitely get your heart pumping. The payoff at the end is totally worth it though!

Permitting

  • Parking passes are $5 for this location, to obtain your red rocks parking pass
  • Per the Sedona city’s rules, you may not set up arches, chairs, or things of that nature for an elopement or wedding in this location
  • For your elopement, you will need a licensed officiant, two witnesses, and pay the $83 filing fee

Accessibility

  • With the recent popularity of this Cathedral Rock, parking and accessing this spot has become very difficult. Unless you’re planning for this spot at sunrise, the road is often blocked off and doesn’t allow anyone to reach the parking area due to the traffic of this spot. If you’re dead-set on being there for sunset, you will likely need to book a shuttle service. (just keep in mind, Uber and Lyft are pretty unreliable in the Sedona area!). After arriving at the trailhead, there’s a 1.2-mile round trip hike with steep elevation gain (including being forced to use all fours to climb up a crack portion of the rock on this trail).
  • For Merry Go Round rock, the road is very rough – it’s not only unpaved but has large rocks that take time to drive up and definitely require high clearance and 4×4. The road is only about 3 miles long, but it takes around 45 minutes to drive up! Once arriving at the top, it’s a 10-minute hike out to the edge.
  • Parking is limited for Devil’s Bridge, so you’ll want to make sure you get there early. The good news is that the city of Sedona offers a free shuttle service from a designated park-and-ride location within central Sedona—it operates Thursday through Sunday and is free and open to the public. Parking at the park & ride location is also free.

Nearby Activities

Hiking, off-roading, camping, stargazing, hot air balloon ride, wineries, breweries, spas, resorts

Crowd Levels and Best Time of Year to Go

When you think of Sedona, you probably imagine a place that’s quiet and serene. But the truth is that Sedona gets very, very crowded. And if you want to get away from all the people and enjoy the scenery in peace, you’ll need to plan ahead.

The most popular destinations like Cathedral Rock, Devil’s Bridge, and Merry Go Round can get so crowded during peak season that they’re practically standing room only. These destinations are typically best at sunset—and just about everyone in Sedona climbs up to the cliffs to watch the sun dip below the horizon line.

There are many areas to take photos at the top, but the main area with the cliff edge always has a little bit of a line wait to get out there.

The most popular time of year for Sedona is Summer—it’s extremely hot with temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Highly recommend Spring or Fall for an elopement since crowds will die down a bit and the weather won’t be as hot. The weather will be more manageable and you’ll be able to see more plants in the landscape.

Best Hikes

Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock are considered the best hikes in Sedona, which makes them popular for a reason. Here are three other hikes that everyone also loves in Sedona:

Sedona Shuttle

Need a way to explore Sedona’s favorite trails, but don’t want to pay for parking or waste gas?

Sedona’s trail system is as diverse and beautiful as the surrounding landscape. The area offers a wide range of hiking trails, from easy to difficult, and they’re all totally worth exploring. But if you’re looking for a little more guidance, Sedona got you covered.

Sedona has a Trailhead Shuttle program that is a free, easy, and eco-friendly way to explore some of Sedona’s favorite trails. They run year-round, from Thursday thru Sunday. You can find more information about the free Sedona Shuttle here.

Lodging

There are various options for lodging in Sedona from hotels, luxury spa hotels, AirBnB, camping, vacation rentals, cabins, hostels, and more. Here are some recommendations:

Jeep Tour Companies

If you don’t want to rent your own Jeep to drive yourselves up, you can totally do a Jeep tour for getting up to Merry Go Round Rock! The only downfall to doing a Jeep tour is that you have limited time up there instead of your own timing with driving yourselves. Here are some Jeep tour companies and rental Jeep companies:

Nearby Wineries

Did you know that Sedona is also known for its wineries?

If you’re looking to add a little wine tasting to your elopement, Arizona has plenty of wineries that are worth checking out. In fact, there are over 20 wineries in the state of Arizona alone!

The first thing that should come to mind when you think about Arizona wines is reds. They have a long history in the state and are very popular with locals. Here are some local wineries nearby:

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