Where Can You Elope in Moab? How to Elope in Moab Guide

A bride and groom on a hanging rappel in Moab on a famous arch rock.

Moab Elopement Guide – Currently updated for 2022 + 2023

moab-elopement

So you are thinking you want to elope in Moab! This blog is a resource to help you plan the most epic day in the desert. Moab, Utah is a beautiful desert oasis for those who enjoy mountain biking, canyoneering, hiking, off-roading, climbing, base jumping and/or visiting National Parks. Moab is home of a lot of BLM land, several National Parks, a state park and more. The cute downtown area is perfect for dining and entertaining guests. There are some awesome places to stay from camping, glamping, Airbnbs and endless hotels. If you are open to the desert, being in a remote area and going full on adventure then Moab is the perfect places for your elopement! We know how special this place can be and we are so excited to share with you for your potential wedding location!

A couple holds hands and looks into each others eyes as they stand on a sandstone boulder overlooking Moab.

Where Can I elope in Moab?

These are some of the best elopement locations in Moab:

  • Dead Horse State Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Canyon Lands National Park
  • La Sal Mountains / National Forest Land
  • Moab BLM Land like Fisher towers, Castleton tower and other areas
  • Private land like Red Earth Venue + other resorts and locations

Now let’s dive deeper into some of these locations and how you can get married at them!

Dead Horse Point State Park Elopement

This state park is just about 9 miles out of Moab and has so many miles of hiking and dirt biking trails. A lot of their trails are pet friendly which is great if you want to bring your pup along for your elopement! It is best to plan your elopement or small wedding at this location at least 30 days in advance so you can properly apply for the permit. At this location through the state park you will need to apply for a special use permit to get married on location. This is one of the few locations within the Moab area that you can include a set up for your ceremony like an arch or other ideas. This location is also a great family location option since the parking areas are very close to the elopement ceremony options. The entire state park for the most part is a flat plateau overlooking the East and West side of the valley of red rocks. While most people think sunset is the very best time to elope here you can also go for sunrise and blue hour for more privacy. For complete information on getting married at Dead Horse Point State park you will want to read this guide.

A couple stands holding hands at sunset on a red rock cliff overlooking the canyons.

Arches National Park Elopement

What a gold mine this place is for all desert lovers! The 2,000+ red rock arches are so beautiful and it is just out of town center. Eloping here would mean getting married at a staple location of the America Southwest. Since this location is a National Park there are regulations that need to be followed and permits that need to be applied for in advance for specific locations you are allowed to hold a ceremony at within the park. The National Park put everything you need to know and actions to follow here. This is one of the most popular National Park’s in Utah. It is important to make sure you are tracking closures due to high visitor volume and understand your privacy will be limited. To elope here with privacy my suggestion would be to elope in one of the non-popular locations in the park, to elope at sunrise and or during the off season. Some of the most iconic shots you have seen of elopements in Moab are 100% at Arches. If you can plan it properly to be a good fit for the experience of your day it is worth it!

These are the locations within Arches National Park that you can hold your wedding ceremony:

  • La Sal Mountain View Point
  • The Windows Section
  • Sand Dune Arch
  • Delicate Arch View point
  • Pine Tree Arch
  • Park Ave
  • Landscape Arch
  • Devils Garden Camp Amphitheater
  • Panorama Point

These locations are dependent on obtaining a permit + how many guests you have attending your ceremony. Outside of this you can take portraits almost anywhere in the park. Note the park has expressed changing their current rules around elopements for 2023.

Canyon lands National Park Elopement

This national park is just past Dead Horse Point State Park, but is vast. You may know this park best for the Island in the Sky region which is where all three of the locations the parks allows weddings to take place. If you’re interested in eloping at this mind blowing national park you will need to apply for a permit and make sure your event falls into place with the parks restrictions. Note that this is one of the furthest areas from town.

Places you can hold your wedding ceremony in Canyonlands National Park:

  • Grand View Point
  • Green River Overlook
  • Mesa Arch
  • Shafer Canyon Overlook
  • Pothole Pt in the Needles Section
  • Needles Group Campsites

Canyonlands is just like Arches in how it handles permits, ceremony locations and that they may possibly have changes to this process for next year.

Castle Valley + more BLM Elopement Locations in Moab

Well you guessed it! This small town just North East of Moab got its name from the castle like rock formations that surround the area. There are many great trails for hiking, mountain biking and horse back riding in this area. Or you can spend part of your elopement day floating the Colorado River! Not too far out of Castle Valley you will also find Mary Jane Slot Canyon which would be so dreamy for an elopement and (bonus!) it is dog friendly and currently no permits are required!!

This is just one of the areas laid out by BLM (Better Land Management Bureau) that are per-approved elopement locations for photographers already holding a permit with the Moab BLM. Several areas on the list include places you can hike to, off road to, climb at or even mountain bike or kayak. If you find a location that is on BLM and sustainable to hold your even there is the possibility of applying for it through your photographer to still get married there. As permit holders we are provided an entire list of locations you can elope at. Some of which we have already scouted and we keep scouting every time we go to Moab to know if this is a good location experience and photo wise for our couples. For the sake of Leave No Trace we will not lay all of these locations out publicly, but we do share with each of our couples eloping in the area so they know all of their options!

With all of the red rocks around it is easy to forget about the beautiful mountain range right outside of Moab. The La Sal Mountains are stunning, full of Aspen trees, a few lakes here and there and vista points. Not to mention, surprise visits from the local free range cattle. If you are eloping in the Moab area in the Fall you do not want to miss the yellow explosion of color that will be along the mountain range. I think that this is a component that makes Moab super special, because you get the easy diversity of desert and mountains all in one place.

Top things to do in Moab on your elopement day:

Moab is a place where adventure literally never ends. It is a complete dream elopement location for a couple who really wants to get out there and experience the desert together on their wedding day. Our personal favorite things to do in Moab include taking the cat canyoneering, hanging out at Wall Street and off roading for an epic sunset view. What will you do on your elopement day?!

  • Backpack
  • Camp
  • Off Road
  • Explore Slot canyons on a canyoneering trip
  • Hike
  • Sight See
  • Rope Swing
  • High Line
  • Base Jump
  • Sky Dive
  • Horse back Ride
  • Float the River
  • Rock Climb a spire or at the crag
  • Star gaze
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Take your pup out on an adventure
  • See Dinosaur tracks
A bride and Groom sit on a tree together in the La Sal mountains reading letters from their loved ones.

How to Elope in Moab

Here is a simple check list for how to elope in Moab:

  • Pick a date
  • Pick an Elopement Photographer + Book them for your date
  • Pick an elopement location in Moab (more info above)
  • Book your travel: flight, rental car, stay, experience + check out restaurants you may like
  • Book any other vendors needed like hair/make up artist, flowers, etc
  • Pull permits as needed for your elopement location
  • Get your Utah Marriage License

Now, let’s dive deeper into each of these important steps of planning your elopement in Moab!

When is the best time to elope in Moab?

We think the best time to elope in Moab is the time on the outskirts of the best! Why? Less crowds, less traffic, more privacy! Season in Moab is typically Mid March through mid October. So to us, all of March, October and November are the best times to elope in Moab. We highly discourage eloping here in Summer for the desert temperatures are very high and there are lots of crowds. Also, avoiding Jeep week would be advised, unless you are wanting Jeep Week to be apart of your wedding day 🙂

Outside of picking what date to elope in Moab, selecting if you elope at sunrise or sunset can be a big factor in helping you get more privacy for your ceremony out on the trial.

A couple shares a slow dance by the back of their jeep as a vendor plays guitar and sings for them.

How to get to Moab + Best Places to Stay in Moab for your Elopement:

Moab is basically in the middle of no where, but also conveniently near everything. The best thing to do is fly into Salt Lake City, rent a car and drive down. Alternatively, you could fly into Grand Junction Airport in Colorado then drive over. Moab has a very small airport that you can also fly into, but expect tickets to be much higher and I would still say you need to rent a car or Jeep. If you are up for a road trip and want to see other places or honeymoon elsewhere you could also fly into the Denver or Las Vegas airport for a 5-6 hour drive.

Moab has sooooo many hotels in town center there are literally endless options of just hotels. However, there is lots of “dirt bag” camping options on BLM land, paid campsites, glamping and of course VRBOs + Airbnbs. Below is a list of locations to stay that we recommend based on having an epic experience and places that would photograph super well.

  • Under Canvas – This is a super cool unique glamping opportunity. You can stay here just you two or you two and all of your guests! It is conveniently located near Arches National Park and other areas for eloping. While all of their other locations have an in house chef this location does not. If you wanted to host a dinner here after your elopement I recommend reaching out to Cloth + Flame.

  • For paid camping you can check out the Moab KOA, any of the camp grounds along the river will have great views or outside of town for the ability to have cell service. I also highly recommend checking out HipCamp options in Moab for the ability to stay somewhere private, beautiful and get to know locals!

  • Hotel wise I recommend the Hyatt but do not be afraid to look around because there are so many hotels in the area.

  • I highly recommend checking out VRBO and AIRBNB for options in Moab.

  • While you can not stay here, this venue is a great option to host your dinner and/or after elopement reception in Moab OR even have your ceremony at if you have a large amount of guests wanting to attend your day: Red Earth Venue

How to Legally Get Married in Moab:

In the state of Utah you will both need to apply in person for your marriage license with all of your proper documents and ID’s. You will need an officiant to hold the ceremony and have two witnesses. To make sure you are properly prepared to legally get married in the state please read all of the guidelines. Note, if you are eloping you can also always handle the “paperwork” side of things prior to your official elopement in your home state if that is easier for you two. If you are working with us for your elopement, we are both ordained and can officiate your ceremony for you and one of us can sign as a witness. If you are eloping just you two, then we can find the second witness anywhere on trail, in the parking lot or back at your stay/town.

There is a local clerk office right in town in Moab, Utah making it super easy and easy to obtain your marriage license and drop it back off after the elopement. Just remember, they have basic bank hours so plan your pick up around that.

A bride and groom kiss as the wind catches the bride's dress.

Things to keep in mind when planning a wedding in Moab:

  • Moab is in the desert, so all of our usual tips for eloping in these dry climates exist here too. Bring lots of water, be aware of the temperatures, know your dress will get red dirt on it, bring sunscreen and more water 🙂
  • If you have never been to Moab and you just starting your research into where you want to elope I suggest browsing the Discover Moab website since it is packed with information on lodging, food and more! Always feel free to reach out to me! I am here to help you two find the perfect location for your elopement. Moab has so many countless amazing spots for an adventure wedding and I am happy to help you narrow it down for what would best fit your day <3
  • Restaurants in Moab can close early, especially during off season. Our favorite spot for coffee + breakfast is for sure Moab Garage. Our go to for lunch in Moab is a visit to the Moab Food Truck park in the center of town. Our favorite spots for dinner at Arches Thai, Bangok House Too and Spit Fire BBQ. There is no shortage of options for places to eat in Moab. There are also a couple of grocery stores.

How to follow Leave No Trace while eloping in Moab

Leave No Trace is 7 principals laid out by LNT.org and that the public land systems uphold for people recreating in on the land. It is so important important to follow LNT when you are eloping on the land for several reasons like preserving the land, keeping the ability to get married on public lands available for other couples, protecting animals, allowing others visiting the area to still enjoy their visit if you are eloping while theyre visiting and more! The seven principals are:

  • Plan ahead and prepare (this saves your life and others!)
  • Travel on Durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impact
  • Be considerate of other visitors
  • BONUS: do not geo-tag on social media platforms

One of the very most important and special things about Moab is that there is a lot of cryptobiotic soil. This soil is what helps keep animals and plant life alive in the desert. It takes endless like millions of years to grow and form and one step can kill it. This is one of the reasons it is SO important to stay on trail in Moab and other desert regions. Cryptobiotic soil comes in a few different forms so it is important to look it up before you go to know what to look out for, but in doubt stay on trail.

We highly recommend if you are eloping in any of the popular areas of Moab or anywhere with fragile soil to keep your elopement guest count below ten people. This helps give you the ability to really follow the leave no trace principals. If you want the iconic places, but want a larger group of guests we recommend doing the ceremony/things with the group on private property or sustainable places then adventure just you two to the fragile locations.

Book your Moab Elopement Photographer now!

When booking an elopement photographer in Moab, it is important to book someone that already holds a photographer permit with the BLM office or has enough time to obtain a new one (recommended early or late in the year with at least 60 days in advance). We already have a BLM permit with the Moab office and we are familiar with the State and National Parks. While there are plenty of places to elope in Moab outside of BLM land those locations tend to be busier and you can get more options with someone permitted. Also, there are only certain times of year this permit can become obtained.

We love adventuring in Moab and would love to help you plan your epic adventure and capture all the memories. Moab holds a special place in our heart as we have many memories of taking our cat canyoneering there, adopting our dog Tucker from Under Dog, friends-giving, hosting workshops, climbing and more! We would love the chance to get to know you and help you create special memories here on your big day together! <3

Some of our Moab elopements have been featured in Trends Magazine!

5 Best Places to Elope in Moab Promo Material

Save these Top Five Places to Elope in Moab locations to your pinterest board!

Amazing! Traci and her partner were more than amazing, and made us feel like best friends and so comfortable and not to mention the photos they took were out of this world. We wouldn’t want anyone else. They did more than just take pictures, they made our elopement something we will never forget and went above and beyond to make our day special. They truly care. We really wouldn’t have it any other way.

Erica + Alex, Moab Elopement

43 Responses

  1. Holy heck this list absolutely rocks!! I’ve been wanting to visit Moab so badly, I’ve always loved the desert. The images and that light are absolutely gorgeous!

    1. They were super cute and committed to drive there and back on a weekday night! Had the view to ourselves though!

    1. Congrats Sarah! That is awesome, if you are still looking for a photographer I would love to chat with you!

  2. That’s such an amazing place for pictures out there. I know Arizona has the look in some places, but it really reminds me I need to make a trip out to Utah in the near future.

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