What comes to mind when you think of Utah? Lofty towers of red rocks that make you feel tiny? Rugged cliffs that hang over the valleys below? Warm golden sand under your feet? Snowy mountain peaks?
With five national parks, 43 state parks, and millions of acres of public lands, Utah is an absolutely magical place to visit, and an incredible place to elope. If you and the love of your life crave adventure on your wedding day – whether it be skiing down the rocky mountains or off roading through desert trails – you can’t go wrong with eloping in Utah!
I can’t blame ya if narrowing down where you and your boo want to elope seems daunting – Utah has so many options, and each one is incredibly beautiful. So without further ado, sit back, relax, grab your Cafe Rio sauce – here are the best places to elope in Utah!
With so many pretty locations to choose from, how do you pick the best one for your elopement or engagement photography session? I always say, pick a place that’s gorgeous (duhhh) and far enough away that tourists won’t be in the background of your shots!
One reason you’re likely eloping in Utah is because the state is SO diverse – we have red rock, cliffs, sand dunes, mountains, lakes, and snow all within a few hour radius. I hope this blog post helps you find the most photogenic (and easy to get to) locations from the Salt Flats to Canyonlands!
Remember when eloping in Utah to please research appropriate permits/access and practice “Leave No Trace Principles“. Leave the environment better than how you found it! Let’s begin, shall we?
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park, located in southeastern Utah, is known for the whitewater rapids of the Colorado River that carved through the desert landscape. If you elope here, you can explore the dramatic desert, take in the panoramic views, explore the canyons, and take in Native American rock paintings.This national park is on my list of the best places to elope in Utah because it’s so otherworldly – there’s nothing quite like seeing the sun reflect off of the red rock. You can check out this engagement session for a glimpse of the magic!
Canyonlands is broken up into several “districts”, or areas of the park: Island in the Sky (which is the closest section to Moab), The Maze, The Needles, and The Rivers district (which can be accessed by river rafting).
Canyonlands is one of the quieter and more open National Parks, as many people bypass it for some of the more popular areas in Southern Utah. This makes it a top contender for an elopement or engagement session, as you won’t have to worry about tourists getting in the way!
Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
With over a million acres of colorful sandstone, craggy cliffs, narrow slot canyons, this national monument that lies along the state’s southern border is an amazing place to elope in Utah. The gorgeous backcountry has been the backdrop of quite a few old Western movies, and with so much to explore, your only challenge will be narrowing down your options!
You can visit the Escalante Canyons to see waterfalls and arches, or the Grand Staircase area for a more remote adventure through the slot canyons. Wherever you end up eloping, you’ll have endless options for scenic drives, desert hikes, and wilderness adventures.
Bonneville Salt Flats
Next on the list are the Bonneville Salt Flats, located west of the Great Salt Lake. (Don’t worry, they aren’t always this wet!) This is what they look like most of the year:
That white stuff, believe it or not, is all SALT. Right after winter as the snow melts, about an inch of water covers the surface and makes it a giant reflecting pool. But most of the year, it’s dry and packed down like the picture above.
The Bonneville Salt Flats, west of the Great Salt Lake are one of the most unique places to elope in Utah. The Salt Flats were formed when the ancient Lake Bonneville dried up, leaving deposits of salty soil behind, and creating a lake bed that seems to extend forever, with mountains in the distance to the north and west. In many parts of the Salt Flats, the land is so flat that it looks like it’s covered by snow!
If you choose to elope at the Salt Flats, you can choose from viewpoints that you can drive right up to, such as a popular rest area along I-80, or drive along one of the many roads that extends into remote locations for some solitude. Pro tip: There are no facilities or services in the area, so it’s best to get everything ready before making the drive out there!
Zion National Park
Zion National Park was Utah’s first ever national park! Throughout the park, you’ll find everything from overlooks you can drive right up to, to backcountry trails for seasoned adventurers. You can stand in the valleys and look up at the towering, multicolored cliffs above, or you can hike up the rocky formations for a birds eye view of Zion’s unique landscape. You can explore narrow slot canyons, wade through river crossings, and experience the array of plants and animals throughout the wilderness of the park.
One of Zion’s most popular hikes is Angel’s Landing – but it’s not for the faint of heart. The 5 mile trail ends with a narrow, rocky ridge that offers sweeping views that rivals any other viewpoint that you’ll experience.Check out Selena & Jonath’s elopement here for some Zion National Park inspo!
Arches National Park
Arches National Park, located just north of Moab is known for its… you guessed it! Arches. The park is home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches of all sizes, and you could spend weeks exploring the park’s trails and rocky formations, as well as enjoying the other worldly sunsets.
One of Arches National Park’s most iconic formations is Delicate Arch. It’s even featured on Utah’s license plates! As the park’s largest free-standing arch, it attracts tons of visitors each day. The arch can be seen from a distance from the main park road, but you can get up close and personal with a 3 mile round trip hike. If you’re dreaming of eloping at Arches National Park, Delicate Arch at sunset (or anywhere else in the park at sunset, really) is an amazing choice!
At Snow Canyon State Park, you can elope amongst ancient lava flows, colorful sandstone cliffs, and incredible views across the canyon. This park was founded to protest the habitat of the desert tortoise – so if you keep your eyes peeled, you might spot one! Other incredible wildlife found in the area includes coyotes, foxes, leopard lizards, and even gila monsters!
When you elope at Snow Canyon, you’ll have no shortage of trails to choose from. One of the most popular hikes is Jenny’s Canyon, an easy, half mile walk into a slot canyon and an overlook.
Last on this list but certainly not least, is this special park called Monument Valley. Located in Southeastern Utah, this red rock wonderland is home to some of the most unique rock structures. It’s easy to navigate and to find views without having to hike! Pro tip: please make sure to stay on the designated areas as this is a Navajo Tribal Park and you don’t want to damage the surrounding areas! You can hire a guide to take you to more remote spots if you wish, but the main road is gorgeous as well! Check out this post to see some more views of Monument Valley.
The Best Places to Elope in Utah
There you have it, my list of all the best places to elope in Utah! Are you sold yet? If you’re ready to start planning your elopement (or if you still need a little bit of convincing), check out this blog post – my ultimate guide to eloping in Utah! As an elopement photographer, one of my favorite parts of the job is all the remote, less travelled locations I get to share with my couples – so, if you’re ready to get this party started, let’s talk about where the best place would be for you to elope in Utah!