These two knew they wanted a red rock background with vast landscapes for their elopement. They planned to do a big southwest trip for the week of their elopement. Ultimately they decided to elope in Zion National Park in between their time exploring Page, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. We picked a trail that was easily accessible with stunning views and that would be the least crowded. How to avoid the crowds? Hike in at sunrise of course! We met as the stars were shining and began our hike not being able to see anything on the trail except for the path to take to the view point. We arrived before the sun rose and and the morning blue hour light really brought out all of the color in the canyon walls. It was stunning! A great way to see Zion for the very first time!!! We explored the area before they selected the perfect spot that felt right to them to say their hand written vows to each other. They had previously gotten legally married at a lake near their hometown with their dog to make the trip easier and let this day be truly just about them sharing this experience together. They said their vow in complete privacy on a rock overlooking all of the huge canyons, sealing the deal with a kiss! Before hiking back to our next location they popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate, BUT there was an extra surprise. I pulled another bottle out of my bag for them, but told them not to pop it, but to read the card I also gave them. A friend had contacted me on Instagram and set everything up to deliver them a hand written card on this day with a nice bottle for them to enjoy that evening. We hiked back down the trail seeing all of its beauty for the first time. We headed over into a slot canyon, that was so beautiful with stunning pockets in the wall, sand to play in and of course Vanessa’s favorite the red rock canyon walls!! We ended the day in the river by the visitor center that was quite cold, but had the most beautiful sea-foam green color. It was such a perfect day that these two best friends, turned partner’s, turned married couple deserved to celebrate their love! Big congrats Vanessa and Trevor!!! I hope you have so many epic adventures on anniversaries in Zion National Park!
Fall or Spring is the best time to visit Zion. The winters can get a lot of snow and the summers can be super hot! Let’s be honest summer heat is a whole other type of hot when the sun bakes the red rocks that you’re surrounded by when hiking. The park is less crowded early spring and late fall, but be sure to keep an eye on the weather in case winter is coming early or late. It is also best to elope at sunrise to beat the crowds on the trial. I also always recommend eloping on a weekday to avoid crowds since the weekends can be even busier.
I have to say I am partial to staying in Kanab, UT due to its cute small town vibe, restaurants, being less busy than other areas near Zion and it being close to Page, Arizona. If you are strickly going to Zion I recommend staying in Springdale since it is the closest. The other option would be Hurricane, Utah. Below are some great Airbnb options to check out:
Well this depends on the next question too! There are several trails that are perfect for an elopement! When it comes to picking a trail it is important to think about how far and how hard of a hike you are willing to hike. The trail Vanessa and Trevor did was under three miles and was rated easy/moderate. There are trails with just as epic views that are around 7 miles, which would be even less crowded! One other thing to consider is do you need the bus shuttle to access the location? Currently you need a ticket to get a shuttle ticket and they sell out FAST. So if you pick a location that you need the shuttle for it is important to have a back up plan you would be just as happy with if you do not get a ticket. The only way to purchase a ticket is by visiting recreation.gov. Helping you find the best trail for your day is a huge part of what I do for you two!
Zion is known for it’s beauty and for sure the Angel’s Landing trail. There are many other hiking trails that are super epic for your elopement day. Outside of hiking there are also countless technical and non-technical slot canyons to explore! Perfect for a wedding day adventure! You can also take guides down into the slot canyons if it is something you want to do together, but maybe need some help! You can also take a horse back ride on one of the trails! Outside of the National Park there are so many countless places to explore if you want to do a half day in Zion and a half day somewhere on the lake, on the sand dunes, off roading or in any of the state parks.
So if you are legally getting married in the park, yes you will need a permit. You can apply for your permit on the parks website and you can see which locations the ceremony is allowed as well. If you get married outside of the park say at the court house, nearby BLM land or at a private location like an approved Airbnb, etc and are just taking photos in the park then no, you do not need a permit. If you are needing a permit then it is important to apply around 45-30 days in advance to your wedding day.
I am Traci, an elopement photographer and planner based in Northern Arizona! I love hiking and exploring the perfect spot for my couples to elope that speaks to them. If you are looking for someone to be just as excited about your day as you are, but bring the expertise in planning, executing and photographing the you are in the right place!