It’s truly an incredible thing to witness the grand landscapes of huge sandstone cliffs with a mix of pink, red, and yellow – the places that have rugged red rocks, narrow canyons, enchanting rivers, and wildlife genuinely just leaves you in awe. They’re destinations that are filled with wonder and adventure. One of those destinations is Zion National Park. I’m stoked to share with you all of the deets about how to elope in Zion National Park!
Zion National Park is located in Utah and covers 229 square miles. It’s the first national park in Utah and was established in 1919 and boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. The closest airport to the Zion National Park is the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, which is a 3 hours drive.
There’s a $35 entrance fee that’s valid for a week. To elope in the park, you’re required to obtain a special use permit for one of their pre-approved locations! The permit must be received at least 3 weeks before the elopement date and there is a $100 fee. You can find more details on the permit and the application here. It’s important to be respectful at any national park and to leave no trace, which means to leave the area originally how it was in the beginning and to pick up after yourselves. A marriage license needs to be obtained in person, but you can get it at any time.
There is a shuttle system around the Zion National Park. There are two shuttles, the park shuttle and the town shuttle. The town shuttle runs from the visitor center up the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive to destinations including the Zion Lodge and trailheads for hikes to Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, West Rim Trail, and the Narrows. The town shuttle is located in Springdale and goes to 9 locations in town. This shuttle is great for visitors to travel between town and the national park.
Couples elope at the Zion National Park all year round and really depends on the experience and scenery that you want. The most popular time of year is Summer and that is when it gets the most crowded. The weather is also hot, so the best time to go is during the weekdays during sunrise or sunset – sunrise helps to avoid some levels of crowds on the trails. Winter is the least crowded time of the year and you’ll see the snow over the red cliffs. Fall and Springs are the perfect seasons in the sense that they are not too hot and not too cold. Be mindful to pack in layers, since it can get cold at night in the desert.
The Zion Canyon Overlook is the most popular place in the national park with iconic views of the canyons. Most hikers visit this place in the park and it’s relatively flat, so it’s easy to get to this viewpoint. It’s recommended to get here early in the morning since this is a popular and crowded place. (This place isn’t available on the pre-approved list of ceremony locations but is great for photos of the two of you!)
If you want to escape the heat, then the Narrows is fantastic!. This canyon has beautiful swirls of red, yellow, and orange. It’s recommended to not go to this destination during the rainy season (July-September) since these canyons can be filled with water. When hiking at this spot, you’ll be wading through water! It’s an adventurous location, without a doubt. (This place isn’t available on the pre-approved list of ceremony locations but is great for photos of the two of you!)
Want an intimate elopement experience and epic views? The Temple of Sinawava is for adventurous couples that want an adventurous hike and views of towering red cliffs. This location is towards the end of Zion Canyon. The location is vast enough to give an intimate experience, however, it can be popular during the Summer so it’s recommended to come during the weekdays in the morning to have the most intimate experience.
The Timber Creek Overlook is easy to access by car and provides an intimate elopement experience. There are grand views of the red cliffs and canyons, lush cedar trees, and large flat rocks. It’s beautiful during sunrise or sunset when the sky glows softly and warms up your surroundings.
You can avoid the crowds and be surrounded by enchanting waterfalls at Menu Falls. It’s a secluded area with waterfalls, wooden decks, and lush trees which creates a relaxing scenery for your elopement. The best time to go to this area is Spring and it’s an easy walk from the 8th shuttle stop.
The best hiking trails in Zion National Park are Angels Landing Trail, the Zions Narrows Riverside Walk, and the Zion Canyon Overlook Trail. The Angels Landing Trail is an extremely challenging trail and not for the faint of hear! I don’t recommend it for anyone afraid of heights or as an elopement photo location. It has grown popular due to its epic views and incredible adventures! To deter overcrowding and have more safety measures, the park does require that you need a permit. The permits are only given through a lottery system and you can find more information to apply for the permit here.
There are so many adventures to experience at Zion National Park such as hiking, backpacking, bicycling, bird watching, camping, canyoneering, rock climbing, horseback riding, driving and hiking through Kolob Canyons, hiking The Narrows, ranger-led activities, river trips, learning how to bring your stock animals to Zion, and sunset and stargazing.
An elopement at Zion National Park is an adventure of a lifetime and a unique destination to celebrate the union of your love. The unique beauty of an elopement at Zion National Park is an epic spot to get married – no doubt about it.