How to elope in Zion National Park

Your guide to planning your Zion National Park wedding.

When it comes to eloping in Utah, there are few places more iconic than Zion National Park. 

This popular, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind park is one of the most visited national parks for a reason–and one step inside its bounds will show you why. It’s, without question, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. 

But it’s one thing to visit Zion National Park as a tourist–it’s a whole other thing to get married in Zion. And if you ask me, I can’t think of a better place for adventure-lovin’, view-seeking, can’t-get-enough-of-national-parks couples to tie the knot. 

But why is Zion such a must-consider for your adventure elopement? 

And further, how exactly do you plan out all the details of a wedding in Zion National Park? 

Good news–this blog has got your back. Read on to find answers to your burning questions and take you a few steps closer to planning an epic, amazing, and unforgettable Zion elopement day.

Why you should elope in Zion National Park

Spoiler alert: I could talk endlessly about this subject. In fact, I wrote an entire blog on the reasons why you should elope in Zion National Park. I highly recommend giving it a read, but if you want a quick summary, I’m laying out my top reasons right here, right now. 

For starters, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more unique, jaw-dropping landscape. Zion–like a lot of Utah–features landscape, rock formations, and views that are breathtaking in every sense of the word. There are times I’ve stepped off a trail in Zion and found myself almost fully believing that I’d found my way to a new planet. Zion looks and feels magical because there’s nothing else out there like it. 

Zion’s also a super popular park, and while that means it can get a little crowded sometimes, it also means things are incredibly accessible. And that’s perfect for couples who fall on any end of the adventure spectrum. 

If you love intense, epic hiking that’s challenging and demanding, you can do that in Zion. 

If you enjoy picnicking in scenic places without doing anything too strenuous to get there, you can do that, too. 

If you fall anywhere in between or out of those bounds, there’s something for you in Zion. 

Another benefit of Zion being a popular, visited park is that the elopement and wedding rules are super seamless. In lots of other national parks, you might have a tough time figuring out what’s OK and what isn’t; but you won’t have that problem with Zion. 

They’ve got all the details hammered out for you. 

Why else should you elope in Zion? 

  • There’s so much adventure in the park–but there’s more adventure to be had outside of it (all within a few minutes or miles). 
  • There are adorable places to stay all over the park and outside the park. This little corner of desert-and-canyon land is filled to the brim with all sorts of stays–from luxury resorts to glamping to backcountry camping. 
  • The Fall and Spring seasons are perfect temperatures. And you’ll see all sorts of Fall colors and Spring blooms through a desert scope. 

There’s something for everybody–from offroad eloping to hiking to scenic spots, there’s no limit to what you can do in Zion.

When is the best time to elope in Zion National Park?

Zion National Park is located in South West Utah, which means it’s pretty much a part of the desert. The desert is known for being intense–either super hot in the summer or frigid cold in the winter. But that intensity isn’t a year-round thing. 

In fact, Zion’s peak seasons–and the best for eloping–are Fall and Spring. And by that, I don’t just mean the weather is tolerable–I mean it’s downright beautiful!

The Best Seasons to Elope in Zion

As I mentioned, Spring and Fall are musts for mild temperatures, unique blooms, and gorgeous (and pretty predictable) weather. I’m not hating on Summer in the desert–especially if you’re looking to elope early in the morning or late in the evening. But I’ll warn you–Zion can get scorching fast in the summer months. 

And the opposite is true in the winter–unless you’re planning to elope in the middle of the day (with a super bright sun in your way!), you’re probably going to be a little too chilly to enjoy the day fully. That being said, if you and your love are all about the cold weather and don’t mind bundling up, eloping in Zion in the winter can be the ultimate hack to beat the crowds! 

Another downside to eloping during the summer? Even though it’s brutally hot, it’s mega-crowded because that’s when everyone has time off work and school and plans to explore the park! Eloping during an “off-season” can help you beat the heat and the crowds.

Sunrise vs. Sunset Elopements in Zion National Park

I’m a big fan of getting in the golden light that goes hand-in-hand with sunrise and sunset. In my opinion, which of these you choose is going to be totally up to you and what you and your partner enjoy the most. 

If you guys aren’t into early morning starts, don’t cramp your wedding stay style by getting up way too early. Wake up slowly, take your time getting ready, and enjoy a sunset elopement. But this does come with a warning. Zion is a majorly popular park, so sunset is going to be a bit more crowded than sunrise. 

Ultimately, if privacy matters, I’d recommend you opt for a sunrise elopement to “beat the rush” and avoid the big crowds of tourists. If you’re less worried about privacy and really value your sleep, a sunset elopement will work just fine.

Weekends & Weekdays: When's the Best Time to Elope in Zion?

It’s all about what matters most to you! If privacy is key, I’m always going to recommend the less busy times during the weekday when fewer people will be in the park. If convenience matters more than total seclusion, a weekend can work just fine! 

Though weekends are pretty packed, there are always ways to find a little privacy–even if that means eloping half the time in the park and the other half outside the park (in secret spots that only I know about!)

Where to Elope in Zion National Park

This is a list that could go on and on–but for brevity’s sake, I’ll just name a few of my top faves to give you a taste of what Zion (and just outside Zion!) has to offer you on your elopement day. 

Must-Consider Elopements Inside Zion National Park

Before I dive into the list, I want to point out that Zion is pretty specific on where you can have an elopement ceremony and where you can’t. Don’t get me wrong, you and your partner can take wedding day pictures of you exploring just about anywhere in the park–but if you want to have a ceremony (and I hope you do!), that will need to happen at a specific location in the park to abide by their rules. 

Zion’s elopement rules state that your elopement ceremony can take place at these spots in the park: 

Of course, if you’re just looking to explore epic spots in the park (while in your wedding attire, of course), I recommend areas like:

The Top Elopement Locations Just Outside Zion National Park

Want to get those Zion-esque views without going into the park? As a local Utah elopement photographer, I know the perfect spots to help you beat the crowds, get those stunning views, and not worry about breaking any park rules. I highly recommend spots like these for an epic Zion elopement: 

As a plus, there’s BLM land galore all over southern Utah. I have all sorts of beautiful, unnamed spots up my sleeve that are totally public (and legal!) for you to get married on!

Planning your Zion National Park Wedding: The Need-to-Know Details

Let's Talk Permits & Paperwork

To elope in the bounds of the park, you’ll need to do a few things to make sure it’s all by the books. 

  • Paperwork–yep, you’ll have to sign stuff! 
  • Permits–You’ll need to file for the right permits to make sure you’ve planned it all out with the park itself.
  • Payment–You’ll need to pay $100 to apply for that special use permit, but that application fee doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your date. 

The park requires you to file paperwork and permits at least three weeks before your date to get approval, but I highly recommend applying as far in advance as possible. Sometimes, the gears turn slowly in the approval process!

The Best Lodging near Zion National Park

If you’re planning to elope in Zion, you’ll need an epic place to stay. Thankfully, Zion–and the surrounding area–has you totally covered! This desert national park might feel remote, but it’s filled with amazing options for elopement day lodging! 

Here are just a few of the options out there to consider!

And, of course, don’t forget to check private Airbnbs, VRBOs, van rental companies, and more for adorable and unique desert rentals!

My Top Zion Vendor Recommendations

Of course, planning your elopement day often includes finding the right vendors. From makeup artists to florists to offroad tour guides, there are hundreds of vendors who can bring something special to your elopement day. 

Being local to Zion has its perks–aside from just being able to explore the park on any given day. It’s also helped me foster close relationships with amazing vendors who I trust more than anything. I’m proud to recommend these vendors to every couple eloping in (or around) Zion National Park. 

Your Dream Zion Elopement Can Happen - Let's Do This Thing!

Ready for some really good (and helpful) news? I’m a local Utah elopement photographer–and I live within striking distance of Zion National Park. I’m here to help you plan the wedding day of your dreams, no matter what that looks like. 

If you’re on the hunt for answers, need planning guidance, or simply want someone to capture your wedding day as authentically as possible, I’m your girl. 

Reach out to me anytime to hop on a consult call–let’s plan your dreamy Zion wedding!