Six Epic Places to Elope in Arizona | Aimee Flynn Photo
You have to consider these three epic places to elope in Arizona! If you love the desert vibes and are curious where you could tie the knot read this.

Six Epic Places to Elope in Arizona

Six Epic Places to Elope in Arizona: Updated for 2022

How to Elope in Arizona

So. You’re thinking of eloping in Arizona. Friend? That is the BEST FREAKING DECISION. Arizona is stuffed full of amazing places to elope- some super familiar and some that are total hidden gems. The whole western United States are basically a candy store of stunning elopement locations. You could probably throw a dart at a map and wherever you hit is almost guaranteed to be a epic location. It’s interesting to me though, because it often seems like AZ is not usually the first location that pops into people’s mind but there are SO MANY places to elope in Arizona.

This may have something to do with the infamous summers here, and the (incorrect!) belief that it’s always hotter than hell here. Here’s the truth though- Arizona has such a wildly diverse landscape. Arizona is home to six different biomes and I love each and every one. You’ve got cactus covered hills, snow capped mountains, stunning red rocks, deep canyons (The deepest canyon!), sloping sandstone walls, towering pine forests, I know I’m hopeless biased here because I love this quirky state- so I’m here to set the record straight on Arizona, all this place offers, and show you what a great place Arizona is to Elope.

AZ does not want for beautiful spots to elope. There are three national parks (The Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro), 34 state parks, 6 national forests, and over 20 National Park Service units in the state. I actually wrote a whole post specifically on how to elope in National Parks so if you’re interested in a NP in Arizona (or any state!) check that out.

4 Arizona Elopement Locations You May Have Heard Of…

Whether or not you are native to Arizona you’ve probably heard of one if not all of these places. And for good reason. They’re amazing and lovely places to consider for your elopement.


Sedona

Plopped right between Flagstaff and Phoenix is our Red Rock Country. I dare you to drive down the looping switchbacks of 89A and not fall in love with this totally bananas place. There’s countless amazing hikes here (like Fay Canyon Trail, Devil’s Bridge, and Cathedral Rock ranging in difficulty from easy to hard), off-roading (also ranging from easy to… quite difficult), swimming, horse back riding, shopping, relaxing, etc etc etc. Downtown Sedona is quite the tourist attraction but this allows for a very solid home base (complete with grocery stores, spas, and a top rated Mexican Restaurant). Sedona is where I first fell in love with the desert and has seen a massive boom in popularity over the last year or so. It is definitely possible to have an adventurous, private experience here but you definitely have to venture off the beaten path (and DEFINATELY want to elope on a weekday). You can check out one of my Sedona adventure sessions here, an adventure elopement here, and even check out a whole flippin’ guide on How to Elope in Sedona here.

Also, PRO TIP. If you love the look of Sedona but are keen to avoid crowds, there are some truly amazing locations in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona that are drop dead gorgeous… but with a fraction of the crowds of Sedona. It’s for sure something to consider!

Do you need a permit? Not at this time, but note that set ups (arches, standing florals, etc) are not allowed in Sedona.

What time of year is best? Early spring and late fall. Through I suggest avoiding Sedona during ASU’s and U of A’s spring break- Sedona gets *super* congested during that time. Winter can also be a great time to elope in Sedona, but know that it is possible to get snow in the winter time! I strongly discourage Summer (and in fact won’t shoot in Sedona in summer months because it is a) uncomfortably hot- think temps in the 90’s and 100’s and b) gets heavy monsoons very frequently in the Summer.

Closest airport? While Flagstaff airport is technically the closest, flying into Phoenix is only 2 hours away and will likely be much cheaper!

How busy will it be? Sedona has gotten extremely crowded in recent years. It’s still an amazing place to elope in Arizona, but if crowds are a concern you’ll want to be strategic about what spot you elope in, time of day, and especially time of year.


Horseshoe Bend

For the wow factor. I saw pictures of Horseshoe and honestly thought it was part of the Grand Canyon…which is not accurate though it is part of the Colorado River (the river that runs through the grand canyon). Horseshoe Bend is really spectacular AND it’s also very popular. It used to be one of the best secret spots in the region but from increased geotagging and social media buzz, this place has recently been commercialized and is usually pretty crowded. It’s definitely possible to be strategic and have a more private experience. Want to see more of Horseshoe? Check out this post!

Do you need a permit? Yes- if you want to have a ceremony at Horseshoe Bend you will need a permit from the Glen Canyon Recreation area. I can help you walk through this process!

What time of year is best? Early spring, late fall, and winter.

Closest airport? While Flagstaff airport is technically the closest, flying into Phoenix is only 2 hours away and will likely be much cheaper!

How busy will it be? Gone are the days of Horseshoe Bend being a hidden gem- it is a very, very busy spot. Sunrise is super pretty there and a great way to avoid crowds, as is eloping during off season (late fall, winter, early spring).


Flagstaff

For those of you who are not super fans of the crazy heat of the valley (Hi… most people), Flagstaff is a great option. It doesn’t even look like what most people think of when they think Arizona. Flagstaff is a super cute city with great food, great vibes, and GREAT views. Lot’s of hiking (the aspens in the fall are INSANE) and there’s even snow in winter time if that’s your thing. It’s also a stone’s throw from places like the Grand Canyon and Page, AZ  if you still grave some traditional desert vibes.

Do you need a permit? It depends- there are lots of different areas in and around Flagstaff and the permit situation will vary! Mostly likely no- but I can help walk you through this process.

What time of year is best? Autumn.

Closest airport? Though a small mountain town, Flagstaff actually has its own airport. It is cheaper to fly to Phoenix (and you’ll likely have a layover there anyway) but the closest airport is the one in Flagstaff.

How busy will it be? It is fairly easy to find a spot that is quiet in and around Flagstaff. Some of my favorite spots rarely have other folks in the area.

The Salt River

The Salt River is a great place for an Arizona Elopement. It kind of turns your typical thought of the desert on it’s head, right? You’re in the middle of the desert surrounded by cacti… and also hanging out next to a river. If you get super lucky, you even may get to see the herd of wild horses that call this area home. The best thing; this awesome place has tons of options for amazing elopement locations and it’s under an hour drive from Phoenix. It can get a little crowded on weekends in some spots, but there are plenty of off the beaten path spots if you want a more private Salt River Elopement.

Here’s a Salt River Adventure Session and a Salt River Elopement.

Do you need a permit? No- you do not need a permit at this time. This can change at any time!

What time of year is best? Early spring, late fall, and winter.

Closest airport? Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

How busy will it be? It is very possible to have a semi private to private elopement in this area, especially if you are strategic about locations and times of day!

The Grand Canyon

You can’t get more iconic that The Grand Canyon. Arizonas most iconic National Park, the Grand Canyon is truly something that you have to see to believe. Even then, it’s hard to wrap your mind around. With the Colorado River cutting through millions years of geological history, you can enjoy the Grand Canyon from either the South Rim or the North Rim. The South Rim is far and away the most popular spot to visit and the easiest to access- it is also the most busy. There are several hotels on the South Rim (my favorite being El Tovar) and restaurants to chose from.

The North Rim is where adventure lives- with tons of off road locations and adventures to be had, if you’re looking to experience The Grand Canyon from a new view point with few crowds, the South Rim will be a great fit for you.

Do you need a permit? Yes- if you want to have a ceremony at the Grand Canyon you will need a permit. The permit is $240-500 USD depending on the location you pick. Lots of information can be found here. I can help you walk through this process!

What time of year is best? Early spring, late fall, and winter.

Closest airport? While Flagstaff airport is technically the closest, flying into Phoenix is only 2 hours away and will likely be much cheaper!

How busy will it be? Gone are the days of Horseshoe Bend being a hidden gem- it is a very, very busy spot. Sunrise is super pretty there and a great way to avoid crowds, as is eloping during off season (late fall, winter, early spring).

Curious about eloping in National Parks? Check out this blog post with all the details!

Lake Powell

Nestled at the roof of Arizona, Lake Powell is a human made lake in Glen Canyon and is a true gem. There are options of hiking, renting a houseboat, and backpacking in the area. It’s also a stone’s throw from Horseshoe Bend and many famous slot canyons, it’s a really amazing way to add some water to your desert elopement.

Want to see some Lake Powell inspiration? Check out this blog!

Do you need a permit? Yes- if you want to have a ceremony in or around Lake Powell you will need a permit from the Glen Canyon Recreation area. I can help you walk through this process!

What time of year is best? Early spring, late fall, and winter.

Closest airport? With Lake Powell you have a choice- both Sky Harbor in Phoenix or Las Vegas airport are equidistant to Lake Powell 🙂

How busy will it be? This is a great spot if privacy is important to you. It is super doable to find spots that are secluded and private for you elopement.

…And Three Places to Elope in Arizona You Haven’t Heard Of!


Eastern Arizona

Yes, this is Arizona, no I will not tell you where it is. I stumbled upon this place totally by accident by visiting a lesser known Arizona monument and the scenery blew my socks right off and is one of my favorite hidden places to elope in Arizona. This place is empty and gorgeous AND super remote (nearest gas station is a 45 minute dirt road drive). There’s plenty of camping, some fun dirt roads to drive on, and lots of hiking. If staying in a cabin is more your jam, they’ve got those, too. Really I can’t sell this place enough. It stole my heart instantly and I’m sure it will steal yours.

For the wow factor. I saw pictures of Horseshoe and honestly thought it was part of the Grand Canyon…which is not accurate though it is part of the Colorado River (the river that runs through the grand canyon). Horseshoe Bend is really spectacular AND it’s also very popular. It used to be one of the best secret spots in the region but from increased geotagging and social media buzz, this place has recently been commercialized and is usually pretty crowded. It’s definitely possible to be strategic and have a more private experience. Want to see more of Horseshoe? Check out this post!

Do you need a permit? No, not at this time.

What time of year is best? Spring and Fall.

Closest airport? Tuscon International Airport.

How busy will it be? Very uncrowded. There are lots of hidden gems in Eastern Arizona and there are very few crowds.


The Superstitions

For those of you who when you say you want to elope in the desert, you mean the freaking desert! Saguaros, prickly pear, cholla, you name it, we’ve got it. Just a (super) short drive from Phoenix, the Superstitions offer stunning views, hikes ranging from the easy to the hard (looking at you Siphon Draw Trail), and all the cacti you could ever want. Check this blog post out if you want to see a dreamy Superstitions elopement!

Do you need a permit? Yes- if you want to elope in Superstitions (ie Lost Dutchman State Park) you will need a permit. Permits cost about $200 and more info can be found here.

What time of year is best? Early spring, late fall, and winter.

Closest airport? The closest airport to the Superstitions is Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

What time of year is best? Early spring, late fall, and winter.

Closest airport? Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

How busy will it be? You will definitely be sharing the space with other visitors but if you plan your elopement on a weekday and not during a holiday break, you can avoid a lot of crowds.


The Mogollon Rim

If standing on the edge of the earth is your thing, the Mogollon Rim is for you. Also there are a lot of trees and some SUPER gorgeous lakes. Parts of the Rim can be pretty busy (popular spot for Phoenicians to escape the heat) but there are parts that are super, super quiet and private. The rocky road getting up there can be pretty fun too ☺ Lots of camping (some literally on the cliffs edge), fishing, hiking, and soaking in the amazing views. For more Mogollon Rim inspiration, check out this adventure engagement session or this cliffside elopement shoot.

Do you need a permit? Probably no, but will depend on the amount of guests you plan on having!

What time of year is best? Late Spring, early Fall.

Closest airport? The closest airport to the Superstitions is Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

How busy will it be? You will definitely be sharing the space with other visitors but if you plan your elopement on a weekday and not during a holiday break, you can avoid a lot of crowds.

Secret Lake Overlook East of Phoenix

Forgive the vague nature of this name: this spot in particular is off the beaten path and not a place that could handle a mass influx in visitors. It’s a stunning place, amazing sunset vistas, golden fields, mountains lit gold at sunset. It’s not too far from Phoenix (just a two drive) and one of my favorite hidden gems. It’s why I love location scouting and exploring this great state- it is FULL of surprises. You can see more of this amazing spot in this blog post. It’s an amazing elopement location.

Or want to learn more about how to Elope in Phoenix? Here’s a Phoenix Elopement Planning Guide to answer all your questions!

Do you need a permit? A permit is not needed for this location.

What time of year is best? Late Spring, Winter, early Fall.

Closest airport? The closest airport to the Superstitions is Sky Harbor in Phoenix.

How busy will it be? Extremely uncrowded! I have rarely seen other people at this location.

Secret Slot Canyons

Slot canyons. They are some of the most incredible scenery you will ever see. It’s like mother nature sculpted those hallways out of clay. There are tons of slot canyons in Northern Arizona (most notably Antelope Canyon- which does not allow weddings anymore). Most of the slot canyons are around Page AZ and are on Navajo land and require a tour to access- you cannot hike in on your own. Update for 2022: Maskless private tours are not currently available for any slot canyon on Navajo Land. However! There are other slot canyons in the area you can access via hiking, jeep, or even boat, if you have your heart set on a slot canyon elopement.

Check out this epic slot canyon elopement with lots of tips on how to elope in a slot canyon!

Do you need a permit? Yes- for the slot canyons in Northern Arizona you will either need a guided tour or you will need a permit.

What time of year is best? Spring and Fall.

Closest airport? Closest airport? With this part of the state you have a choice- both Sky Harbor in Phoenix or Las Vegas airport are equidistant to the main area the slot canyons are located in 🙂

How busy will it be? Likely not too crowded. If you elect to take a private tour of a slot canyon on Navajo land, you will be the only ones there. Other slot canyons on public land will likely have some other hikers also exploring.

**NOTE: Maskless private tours are not currently available for any slot canyon on Navajo Land.

Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon is an amazing place to elope in Arizona. Located in the Northern part of the state, Page AZ would be your best base- there’s so much to do in this Mars-like place. You can hike, off-road, rappel into canyons, stargaze… it’s really an amazing spot. You’re also a stones throw away from places like Zion National Park (located in southern Utah). Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend get a lot of airtime but there is so much more to explore in the area.

Do you need a permit? Yes- to have a ceremony in Glen Canyon you will need a permit.

What time of year is best? Spring and Fall. Winter can also be lovely but know it may snow and be a little chilly!

Closest airport? Closest airport? With this part of the state you have a choice- both Sky Harbor in Phoenix or Las Vegas airport are equidistant to the main area the slot canyons are located in 🙂

How busy will it be? Likely not too crowded. It is very easy to find areas with very few (if any) people and still have stunning views.

Arizona Elopement Packages

Alright, lets talk nuts and bolts. While I’m based out of Flagstaff, Arizona, I travel all over the state (and basically consider places like Sedona and Page to be my backyard.) Also! I don’t charge travel fees for any stateside elopement or adventure wedding. That way you don’t have to worry about additional travel costs to get me from here to there. So what’s included and what does it cost?

  • All packages include photographer travel expenses 
  • Unlimited assistance (from me!) with planning and logistics. This includes location guides, vendor referrals, elopement timeline construction, packing list, local gems to check out, and just general hype woman.
  • Online gallery of high-res images and full printing rights (so you can print you pics on stamps, billboards, whatever floats your boat).

   Four hours: $5000 | Eight Hours: $7000 | One 8-hr day + 4 hr day: $9200

Or, follow along on the gram for more Arizona inspiration, adventures across the west, and a lot of really random stories 🙂

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. I could fill a book with epic places to elope in AZ. Here’s a few more pics, just to get those gears turning.

Want more resources for how eloping in Arizona? Here’s my Sedona Elopement Guide, What you Need to Know About Eloping in a National Park (did you know Arizona has 24 National Park Service Units?), and How to Beat the Heat During your Arizona Elopement.

Or, if you want to see more desert outside Arizona, check out this blog on the best places to elope in our neighboring state, Utah!

view packages + pricing

— Ryan + Styhiln

Ready to have your own adventure of a lifetime?
SO WHAT DO YOU SAY?
I'm Aimée, Southwest based adventure wedding and elopement photographer, mega nerd, wilderness fan, and taker of the epic pics. But don't think I'm here just to take pretty photos (though there will be pretty photos a-plenty) I’m here to guide you through every step of your elope elopement experience; I’m your location scouter, gatherer of all in info, formal wear wrangler, & hype committee. 

I’m also a storyteller. Your storyteller. And while I'm here for the rad, crazy, epic as hell moments, I'm also here (and to be totally honest, live for) those silly, wacky, off the cuff moments that adventure always brings. I'm here to tell your story in the epic and true  fashion it deserves.
Hey friend, I'm so stoked  you're here!
LEARN MORE About Me

  1. Lama Fes says:

    Love the content of this blog. The pictures are amazing!

  2. Autumn says:

    Good lord these landscapes are just stunning!!! Wow! You truly know how to capture the essence of the location!!!

  3. Krystal Shuhyta says:

    OH MY GOODNESS! I literally had No idea Arizona was so stunning!!!! <3 I have't traveled the states much and your right, Arizona wouldn't have been my first pick, but it has 100% made it on my list now!! =) What a great post!

  4. traci says:

    Arizona is a gold mine for elopements, great suggestions here!

  5. Joanna Adams says:

    How fun! I remember before I had gone to Arizona, I literally thought it was just a flat land with a few cactuses. Then I went and explored and I found an incredible land with great diversity! This post is making me want to go back!

  6. Hans says:

    Wao there are many places you can consider if you want to elope in Arizona, you have great pics! You are given useful information! Btw I have never seen the Horseshoe Bend with snow.

  7. Alycia says:

    Arizona has so many beautiful options – wow!

  8. Sydney says:

    oh wow, this list of places to elope in Arizona is amazing. There are so many beautiful options for couples!!

  9. Ryan says:

    These locations are beautiful!

  10. I’m so glad you made this educational blog post! Not gonna lie, I had no idea Arizona has so many beautiful locations to elope at!

  11. […] one of the best for elopements (for more info on things to consider if you want to elope in AZ, go here). So, yeah. This elopement inspiration location looks like it was in the middle of nowhere in some […]

  12. […] talked about my love of the Mogollon Rim before and these adventurous, sun-soaked forest engagement photos just underscored and highlighted why I […]

  13. […] mentioned before that Arizona has a way more diverse landscape that most people give it credit for. The huge […]

  14. […] Horseshoe Bend? Check out this blog post for other rad places to elope in the […]

  15. […] For more Elopement Planning resources, check out The Best Places to Elope in Utah and Epic Places to Elope in Arizona! […]

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