If you’re wanting to elope in Zion but aren’t sure where to start, look no further. I’ve put together this thorough guide to give you all the information, tips and photo inspiration that you need to plan the perfect Zion Elopement!
You can click the links below to go to a specific section of the guide, or keep scrolling to read it all.
How to elope in Zion National Park
First, you will want to decide if you want to have your elopement ceremony inside of the park or outside, near it. If you are wanting to elope inside the park, you will need to follow some rules and obtain a wedding permit. Zion has various ceremony sites ranging from a maximum of 10-100 guests, including bride, groom, vendors, etc. Another important thing to keep in mind is you may be required to have an event monitor for your ceremony in the park.
An event monitor is a Zion National Park staff member who oversees the event. There is a charge of $50 an hour for this. Usually an event monitor is required if you have a large group size or your ceremony is more complex. However, intimate and simple elopement days likely won’t require a monitor.
Permits and Rules
In order to get married in the park you’ll need a wedding permit, regardless of guest size. In order to get a wedding permit you will need to fill out a Special Use Permit application and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additionally, you must submit your application 3 weeks in advance to be considered. There are only 6 spots you can hold your ceremony in the park, so I would recommend doing this step as early as possible to secure your date and preferred spot.
Along with the application you will need to pay the current fee of $100 electronically.
Is there anything else we should know?
It is important to note that many of the ceremony spots are on Zion Canyon Scenic Drive – and it is closed to vehicles from March to November. The only way to access it is via the shuttle bus, which is free and on a first-come, first-serve basis.
When to hold my Zion elopement?
From my experience shooting in Zion, I would recommend planning your elopement in the spring or fall. I have found that Late February/March and October/November tend to be the best months to avoid crowds and have mild temperatures. However, if you want warmer temperatures you could push to early April/late September. But submit your application early and be prepared for the crowds! Zion receives 70% of its visitors each year from April to September.
If you choose a summer or winter elopement there are a few things to keep in mind.
In the summer, the park can hit capacity early in the day making it difficult for your guests and vendors to attend your ceremony. I would consider holding your ceremony around sunrise while the park is still fairly quiet and accessible.
On the contrary, you should have no problems getting into the park in the winter and the Zion cliffs will be beautifully dusted with snow. However, ice and snow may limit where you can go. The roads are plowed regularly but the trails are not, so many could close. The park will be nice and quiet but come prepared and dress warm!
Where to elope in Zion National Park
There are 6 locations you can hold your ceremony in Zion. However, you can go anywhere in the park to take photos in your wedding attire. I would recommend choosing a photographer that has experience shooting in Zion so they can give you the best location recommendations. Below are the ceremony locations:
- Menu Falls – maximum 10 guests
- Timber Creek Overlook – maximum 20 guests, available parking for 4 cars
- Temple of Sinawava – maximum 35 guests
- Nature Center North Lawn – maximum 50 guests and only available November through early April
- Zion Lodge Lawn – maximum 75 guests
- South Campground Amphitheater – maximum 100 guests
Although you will have a permit for your ceremony location, they will still be open to the public and not completely secluded.
Where to elope or hold a wedding outside Zion
Another option is to hold your ceremony outside of the park and then take you wedding portraits anywhere inside the park. This is a great option for couples that want a secluded ceremony or have a larger group. If you plan to have a reception and don’t want to be driving between locations throughout the day, there are venues outside, but close to the park.
Zion Red Rock
Zion Red Rock is a great spot to hold your wedding. It is only 10 minutes from the park entrance so you can easily go into the park or stay on site for wedding portraits. The property sits on 15 acres with 360 degree breathtaking views of Southern Utah. They have three venues to choose from so you can find the one that best fits your needs.
- Red Rock Oasis: The Oasis can sleep up to 60 people and is designed to entertain. The property has a swimming pool, hot tub, a soccer room, free internet, and more activities.
- Red Rock Villa: The Villa is a gorgeous venue with large indoor and outdoor areas, great for large weddings. It can sleep up to 56 people and also has a pool and hot tub.
- Red Rock Chalet: The Chalet provides room for smaller wedding parties. It can sleep up to 22 people and has close access to trails and the river front.
If you want to hold your ceremony and portraits in the same location, but keep the Zion views, Open Sky Zion would be a great option for you. They have a beautifully scenic open field ceremony site at the top of their venue with Zion cliffs in the background. Their luxury camps make for the perfect private and intimate Zion elopement experience. Open sky is great for travelers and destination elopements – reserve a camp at open sky for a week for the ultimate glamping experience!
Zion elopement day activities
If you’re looking for an adventurous elopement day activity in Zion I would recommend hiking:
- Angels Landing – A 4.4 roundtrip hike for the thrill seekers! It is 1500 feet high with steep cliffs on both side of the trail. You will need to receive a permit early in the year for this hike.
- Observation Point – A challenging 7 mile roundtrip hike with epic views of Zion Canyon. You’ll be so high up you will be looking down on Angels Landing and the rest of the park!
- Zion Canyon Overlook – A fairly easy 1 mile roundtrip hike with stunning views of the canyon. I’ve had multiple brides hike it in their dress! The downside of this being a short trail is there will be a lot of visitors on this trail, especially at sunset. I would not recommend taking photos at this location in the summer unless you go at sunrise.
Unfortunately you cannot hold your ceremony at these locations but they are all great spots to enjoy the park after your ceremony. I will happily join you for any of these hikes and take incredible photos of you two!
Sound amazing? Contact me for information on my Utah and Zion Elopement Packages!