Everything you need to know for a Slot Canyon Elopement
(updated for 2023 by an Arizona Elopement Photographer)
Why should you elope in a Slot Canyon?
Slot canyons are super fun – they can offer you an adventurous elopement experience or one that is peaceful, fun, romantic, etc. Slot canyons are unique places to visit – which means a core memory experience. You can make an elopement experience at slot canyon be the entire elopement or just part of the elopement. Surrounding the slot canyons in Arizona there are many, many other things to see and do. It is truly a diverse place, great for a year round elopement!
- Why should you elope in a Slot Canyon?
- Knowledge on Slot Canyons in Arizona
- How to plan an elopement in a Slot Canyon?
- Slot Canyons in Arizona
- Planning the details of your elopement trip
- Slot Canyon Elopement Photographer
Knowledge on Slot Canyons in Arizona
This particular slot canyon used to be open to the public to hike or visit without a permit. In the last two years the family that owns the land decided to start to require permits and a guide. They made this choice partly because people were ruining the canyon walls by carving their names on the sides. If you visit the canyon today you will not see any of this because they repaired the walls and keep a watch on visitors now days. They also made this choice for safety reasons, animals were getting stuck and dying in the canyon and people were visiting the canyon during rainfall which can be extremely dangerous. Now they are able to keep the canyon, people and animals safe!
I really enjoyed speaking with the guide during our session and highly recommend taking the time to talk to your guide when you visit a slot canyon to learn more about its history and the Navajo history. As we road through their land to the canyon we saw many dogs herding sheep across the way. My country girl roots came out and I just thought it was the coolest thing, lol!
I asked the guide about how that works and she said the dogs herd the sheep all day on their land and then at night sleep with them in their pen. It is amazing how smart those little fellas are, they did not have to be trained and they just do their job all day without any humans keeping watch. The sheep are one of the ways that the Navajo keep up their land, eat and make money. She told us stories of growing up with the slot canyon in their back yard and sledding through the canyon in the snow as a child. Her family has taken care of the land they are on and protecting it, including the slot canyon, since the early 1940’s, so you can imagine it means a great deal to her and her family.
I always think it is important to learn about the place you are visiting and remember you are a visitor. I love learning about the Navajo culture, especially since it makes up a great deal of Arizona. Many of my favorite places to photograph elopements in Arizona is on either Navajo Nation or the Hopi Reservation so I think it is important to respect their lands in the same way that they do while enjoying it. I feel blessed that we get access to such beautiful places and that it is welcomed to a couple to be able to share their wedding day on. If you would like to follow some accounts that talk about this history and it’s connection to places in Arizona then I recommend following Trails Inspire and Shio Waline.
How to plan an elopement in a Slot Canyon?
So how does one go about eloping in a slot canyon?? Almost all of the Arizona slot canyons require a permit and a guide to access and to photograph in. Antelope canyon, a famous guided slot canyon, is split up by the upper and lower canyon and the lower being the better option for any photos. There are least six different slot canyons you can visit in Northern Arizona. My best advice for deciding which one to go is doing a lot of Google research and calling the corresponding trail guides for information on access, how busy the trails are and how to permit in order to elope in the canons.
While Google will give you plenty of information and options I recommend using The Outbound’s website to look further at the trail. The beauty of being in Page is that you’re right next door to Utah. Do not be fooled though, while Lake Powell starts in Page to get to the other side of it in Utah can take a longgg time! I find often times in the desert things that appear close are often pretty far from each other, especially if you have to off road.
A lot of the slot canyons require off road driving so it is important to know this information ahead of time and be comfortable driving the specific conditions to the trail head or hire a guide! Now back to Utah… seriously so many beautiful places not to terribly far from Page like Kanab, Zion, Bryce and many more slot canyons. Now that you have chosen a slot canyon to elope in or found a couple of options and called the corresponding trail guides to get all the information that can give you about their tours and what type of experience to expect, what do you do??
So you have found the one! If you can, book the private tour!! After you have a plan with your location you want to get in touch with the Navajo Parks to pull any permits you may need from them for the special event, photography or parking.
Once you have all the details determined you need to get to Page!! If you are coming by flight it is best to fly into Phoenix and drive or layover to Flagstaff and drive, Las Vegas is also about the same distance to Page as Phoenix or you can drive in from Salt Lake City. If you’re flying I would pick the airport based off of what drive offers you the most out of what you want scenically. Yayy!! You got here, now let’s get your marriage license. You must get your marriage license at the local Justice Court in advance to your wedding, you both must be present and show forms of ID and pay the current fee of $83. In the state of Arizona you need two witnesses and an officiant to legally get married.
Slot Canyons in Arizona
This is by far the most popular slot canyon to visit in Page, Arizona. Meaning this slot canyon is the busiest. There is upper and lower Antelope. You 100% need a guide to access upper Antelope canyon. Lower antelope can be accessed with a guide and is slightly less busy. However, you can also access the lower canyon by kayaking in from one of the marinas – which is a super fun adventure.
Can you elope in Antelope Canyon?
No, you can not elope in Antelope Canyon. Previously, this was allowed with a private photo tour, but recently they decided to not allow weddings or elopements anymore. This is a great tour to do if you want to see it before or after your elopement day. You can elope in the lower part of Antelope Canyon that is Glen Canyon land before reaching the Navajo land.
This is the canyon that all of the images in this blog were taken. You used you be able to visit here without a tour, but now you can not enter without a tour guide. This slot canyon is a bit more private than Antelope canyon and is super fun to walk through. You can elope here with a guided tour, we recommend a private tour for the accurate amount of time needed to fully enjoy it + privacy. This canyon can also be accessed by kayaking the Colorado river and longer hike in before the private land area.
If you have any canyoneering experience you can consider one of the more technical slot canyons. We have all of our own gear and have ventured many times into a few of these options, sometimes with our couples!! The technical slot canyons in the area are typically shorter than the tours, vary in color from white to orange and are guaranteed more private. Our personal favorite one is located in Page just North of town. However, you may want to consider technical canyons in Moab or Zion instead for more options + more orange rock.
Slot Canyons you can Hike into without Tours
There are slot canyons you can access that do not require a permit to visit or a guide. However, they do take a little extra, but very fun work to get to. They are on Glen Canyon land so if you are eloping there you will need a permit for that. If you just want to visit and do your ceremony elsewhere then you do not need a permit. Some of these closest to Page though you will need a boat + kayak or a car you can take off road.
Not so close to Page, but still in Arizona there is the longest slot canyon in the United States – great for backpacking or a shorter hike. There are also slot canyons that aren’t as narrow as most, but still unique that head down to the Colorado River. No matter what – there is an adventure for everyone when it comes to Slot Canyons in Arizona.
Planning the details of your elopement trip
Where to stay in Page, Arizona?
We recommend staying at the Amangiri if you want a luxury, private stay with access to private adventures. We also recommend checking out Under Canvas as an option if you are interested in glamping and the ability to have access to a chef for dinner. Page also has a lot of dispersed camping, Airbnbs, VRBOS and a large amount of hotels to consider! Or you can stay on a house boat on Lake Powell!
When is the best time to visit Slot Canyons?
While Page, Arizona can be a great place to visit year round here are a few important things to consider to pick the perfect time to be in the slot canyons.
- SUMMER: This is moon-soon season which can be extremely dangerous for being in the slot canyons when a storm hits, but also even a day or so after a storm. The slot canyons are prone to flooding. Lake Powell (where the slot canyons lead to) is also prone to flooding, but also attracts lighting strikes. Outside of the rain and storms this time is also the hottest with temperatures reaching three digits, not ideal for enjoying your wedding day.
- Spring: The weather is quite perfect in spring, this is the windest time of year in the desert, but that isn’t really anything to turn you away from choosing this time period for your elopement, especially in a slot canyon. However, recommend for couples to try and dance around the spring break dates for students as travel in this area is very high during that time.
- Fall: This is probably the perfect time of year to elope in the area and visit the canyons. The temperatures are great and less folks are out on the lake which means less folks in the canyons.
- Winter: While Winter for most the US is not ideal, here it is. Temperatures are a bit chilly, but it is still enjoyable to be out and about in the day. Canyons are definitely colder in the morning so consider visiting them mid day to early evening. This is also the least busy team to visit.
Wow!!! Well, now you are all set to elope in a slot canyon here in Arizona!! Oh wait, you’re missing something right??? A photographer!!! Hiring a photographer for the slot canyons is a little different than most elopement locations. The photographer needs to know how to shoot in low light and ever changing light, have the right gear and be okay with being closed in tight places. I absolutely LOVE working in Arizona and would love to help you in the planning process of your elopement and be there to capture the day. I know it may seem like a lot picking a canyon, dealing with the permits and all of that, but that is what I do! Let me help you have the most stress free day and let’s adventure!
Slot Canyon Elopement Photographer
The slot canyons were by far one of the coolest things I have experienced since moving to Arizona. My husband, and partner, have explored many slot canyons in Southern Utah + Northern Arizona since this shoot. We know beautiful canyons where you can back pack, explore without a tour, canyoneer into, white canyons and orange canyons. We have explored the Page, AZ area now for over 4 years. We would love to help you plan your wedding in the beautiful southwest and capture the day for you.
“I would recommend that every couple who is getting married or eloping have Traci and Bill shoot it. They helped us plan and coordinate everything and made it super easy for us! They gave us periodic updates from start to finish.
My wife and myself along with our small wedding party and Traci and Bill all took kayaks and Kayaked the Colorado river to have our ceremony at the bottom of horseshoe bend, I can’t even explain how wonderful of an experience this was and I don’t have to because Traci and Bill captured every second of it perfectly!
Traci and Bill went so far above and beyond to make not only our wedding day but the entire trip an absolutely wonderful experience!
My wife and I are so grateful for everything you both have done for us and cannot wait to go out west again and visit!!” – Ben + Kahla, eloped in Page in 2021
Elopement day stories from the Page, Arizona Region captured by us!
Slot Canyon Elopement Vendors to be created for images in this blog.
Jacket – Ellen Walker Design
I am all about making your elopement day perfectly detailed to you! I can not think of a better way to do that if you’re eloping where it is cold by getting a hand painted jacket! Her designs are unique and one of a kind. Besides, are you not swooning over this leather fringe with delicate flowers that Jodi is wearing?? I sure was 🙂
The Slot Canyon – Navajo Nation
There are a lot of slot canyons in Arizona, essentially all of them resting on the Navajo Nation. It is important note that if you plan on visiting or eloping in the slot canyons that you will need a permit and/or a guide. Please respect the land you visit and the people that live there. Before visiting the Navajo Nation or any National Parks please refresh yourself on the Leave No Trace principals.