A photographers guide, filled with knowledge based on experience, to help you elope in Zion!

Zion National Park Elopement Guide

Elopement Guide

Zion National Park is an amazing place to elope, and my personal favorite place on earth! There is endless variety of adventures to make your elopement 100% personalized to you!

In this guide we'll chat about some things to know about eloping in Zion National Park, locations, amazing vendors, things to do while you're here, unique places to stay, best places to eat, and more! I want to ensure you'll have all the information you'll need to elope in Zion. 

Throughout this guide I've provided you with tons of helpful links. Any text that is underlined, will lead you to other recommended sources and businesses. 

If you are looking to elope in the Zion, I'd love to document your day for you!

Here to help

Using the Salt Lake City Elopement guide

Based in Northern Utah and traveling to areas of the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest Regions to  document elopements for the madly in-love adventuring couples.

I'm Rach

photographer - National park adventurer - chocolate eater

hey

No matter if you have heart set on eloping in Zion, or you're currently exploring your options, I'm more than happy to help! I am with you through every step, from planning & prep, the day-of, delivering those moments back to you and beyond to ensure everything goes smoothly. I want you to have the best no-regrets adventure elopement ever!

My style is documentary based to bring you timeless photos that not only capture how your day looked, but what it felt like! As you look back at these photos you'll relive those emotions all over again, as if you were in the moment all over again.
I'm going to let you and your partner flow naturally throughout your elopement, without any stiff or awkward posing. These photos are capturing you, your partner & your story, I'm here to let your love happen.

This day is all about you and your partner! If that means a hike through the canyon, exploring the narrows, or sitting on a cliff, I'm here for it all! Let's make this day whatever you want it to be!




I love Zion for a large number of reasons, but all-in-all, Zion has some of the most stunning & unique views I've ever seen. 

We'll get into the fun-stuff, like locations and things to-do, in a minute, but first things first.

Marriage License
In Utah, you can obtain your marriage license based on the county you'll be getting married in. Its super simple, you can go in-person to the county offices a day or two before to get your marriage license. After you obtain it, it's only good for 30 days. Within Zion, there are a number of designated spots for elopements. When you decide on a location I can help you find the appropriate county office. 

Officiants & Witnesses
For any wedding in Utah, you will need someone ordained to solemnize a marriage + 2 witnesses, over the age of 18. If needed, I'm happy to be a witness for you! Don't forget a black pen for them to sign your marriage license.

Permits
To get married within Zion, you will need an additional permit. There are several locations in the park designated for ceremonies, once you decide on a spot and make the reservation, you can apply and obtain that permit. 


What to know - the techinal stuff

Best time of year & WEather info

The seasons in southern Utah are phenomenal! Each season brings something new and exciting! 
Personally my favorite time of the year is the spring and the fall in Zion, but I've listed all the things you need to know about each season and it's weather to help you plan for the best elopement ever. 

Note: I've listed the temperature for valley floor of Zion. If we decide to go to a location on top of the canyon, the temperature can be a bit different. I've listed that difference in the location details.
Note #2: Zion valley floor is 4,300 ft above sea level, the top of the canyon's elevation is 6,500ft. If you are not used to such high elevations there are steps you can take before hand to help prevent altitude sickness. 

Winter
Average Temperatures: High: mid 50°s Low: low 20°s
Due to the drastic elevation difference between the Almost always snow on top of the canyon, & occasionally on the valley floor.

Spring
Average Temperatures: High: mid 70°s Low: mid 40°s
Any snow is melting fast, mostly sunny with some rain (watch out for flash floods). The area is full of blooming dessert life! The spring time is definitely the most colorful time in Zion, especially in the later spring, around May. 

Summer
Average Temperatures: High: low 100°s Low: low 70°s
If the heat doesn't bother you, the summer is great! Nearly everyday is full of bright sunshine! 

Near the end of summer is wildfire season. On occasion, there will be fires in Utah, but most of the time they are put out pretty fast. However, the smoke from the California & Nevada wildfires blows right towards Utah. This can cause issues if you have allergies, plus it is best to avoid breathing the smoke if possible. There are some spots in the mountains to escape to that avoid the smoke.

No matter if you are on top of the canyons or the valley, make sure you are drinking tons of water to help compensate for the high temperatures and dry weather,

Fall
Average Temperatures: High: mid 80°s Low: low 40°s
Just like the summer, but a little cooler. The desert foliage found in Zion doesn't change color like alpine climates, although there is a variety of color throughout Zion in the fall, especially if you are visiting the top of the canyon. In the later fall, sometimes snow can be found on the top of the canyon. In my opinion, you can never go wrong eloping in the fall, and Zion is no exception! 

Watch for Flash Floods
Since Zion is primarily made of rock, flash floods are a pretty often occurrence anytime it rains. In Zion, and nearly every desert environment, the soil the plants sit in is pretty shallow and not able to absorb much water. When it rains, the soil can't absorb much, plus the canyon walls do have any plateaus for water to gather. Pretty much any water that comes to the Zion area will find its way to the valley floor in the Virgin River, pretty quick. Since the canyon is fairly narrow, its very easy for the river to over flow and rush through the canyon's valley, creating a flash flood.

Anytime there is rain, Zion is probably not the best place to go, but it also doesn't rain there very often. When rain is predicted and 24 hours after any rainfall, be extremally cautious! I don't want anything to happen to you or anyone, especially not on your wedding day. 

If you're working with me as your photographer for your elopement, I purposefully block out the day before and after your scheduled elopement date, specifically for purposes like this. If it's suppose to rain, or any form of not so fabulous weather, the day of you elopement, we can move the day by a day or two to ensure we can all be safe. 

Best Elopement adventure Locations

Zion is split into 4 main sections. Each section comes with unique landscapes and different experiences! I've outlined everything you need to know about each section below!

For the actual ceremony of  your elopement, Zion has 6 specific locations where those can take place. After that, we can continue to adventure in the park and take more amazing photos of your big day!

Due to the nature of National Parks, I strive to keep the area safe and protected. For this reason, I do not openly disclose the exact locations for post-ceremony adventures. With every couple I work with, I will recommend specific spots for you to choose from, based on your skill level, the kind of adventure you're looking for, and seasonal factors. Once you contact me, I'd love to chat more about specific locations! 

Zion Main Canyon
Zion Canyon is what most people think of when they think of Zion. It holds many of the iconic spots within the park, like Angels Landing, Emerald Pools, and the Narrows. It is also the most popular part of the park. March - November a shuttle runs through the canyon and makes frequent stops. Cars are not allowed in this part of the park during those months. There are lots of different hiking options in the main canyon!

East Zion
East Zion holds a few iconic spots, but if you know where to go (or have me with you), East Zion is just as phenomenal as Zion Canyon. East Zion is home to the Zion Overlook and the Mt Carmel Tunnel. This part of the park doesn't have a shuttle system, and you can drive your own car through it year round. Personally, I am in love with East Zion! 

Kolob Canyon
Kolob Canyon is the lesser known part of Zion, but still equally beautiful. It has a separate entrance from the rest of the park, located just off of I-15 about 30 minutes north of St. George, UT. In Kolob Canyon, you will still find red rocks and gorgeous desert foliage! 

Backcountry
In the backcountry of Zion, there are lots of options for backpacking and canyoneering. You'll see views that most Zion visitors do not. Nearly every backcountry adventure does require a permit, but they aren't too difficult to acquire. If you do want a permit, make sure to check when permits open up for the adventure you're looking for. 


There are so many options of things to do while in the Zion area, I've listed a few of my favorites. If you're looking for something more specific, I'm happy to help you find something that's right for you!

Things to do

Hiking
One of my favorite & most frequented activities! There are tons of hiking trails everywhere you go in Zion!
At the visitors center, or at this online map, you can find lots of trails to go hike! I suggest using AllTrails to assess its difficulty level and see what other hikers have to say about it! 

Rock Climbing
In every canyon & mountain in and near Zion, there are lots of different pitches & climbing routes you can traverse. New routes are opening and some may be closed, but Zion's website has got you covered! On this section of their website you can find routes and up to date info on particular routes. 

Canyoneering
Canyoneering is a blast! If you haven't canyoneered before, I highly suggest it! There are a few places to canyoneer within the park, but there are a ton of options that border Zion National Park. There are lots of awesome companies that guide you on canyoneering tours. 

Biking
In Zion, you can access (main) Zion Canyon by riding a bike down the road. If you aren't able to bring your own, there are several bike rental businesses just outside of Zion. If you are looking for mountain biking, there are lots of options near Zion! 

Backpacking 
If you're looking for views and an experience that very few visitors to Zion embark on, backpacking is great option! There are many backcountry trails to choose from. All backpacking within Zion does require a wilderness permit, but they aren't too tricky to obtain. Zion has lots of helpful information to help you plan your backpacking trip!




unique Places to Stay

Amangiri - 1.5 hours from Zion

Dreamy Dome - 15 minutes from Zion

Wild Tiny Home - 25 minutes from Zion
Charming Historic Cottage - 10 minutes from Zion

Secluded Glamping Cabin - 1.5 hours from Zion

Farmhouse Container - 20 minutes from Zion

The last thing I want is for you to feel stressed because you're having your photo taken. Whether it's your elopement or we're meeting up for an adventure session, I want this experience to be fun, relaxing, and a hell of a good time!
If there is something that is stressing you out or adding worry, I'm here to help! If you need help arranging vendors, choosing outfits, finding a place to stay, or anything else, do not worry! 
This is not my first-go-around. At this point I have everything nailed down to a science. Plus, we can chat on a video call as many times as you need. 
My goal is for you to walk away with huge smiles, new memories, no regrets, and photos that you'll cherish forever!

having photos taken should be fun!

Life can be stressful

Let's Be Real

You can either initially reach out to me through email or schedule a zoom call! Whichever is best for you!

let's chat

Abby & Dylon

I can’t say enough about our big day, our photos, and our photographer. Rachel put us at ease immediately, and made it feel more like you where taking a walk with friends rather than taking photos. Meanwhile, she was secretly capturing all best moments. Honestly couldn’t have asked for a nicer more accommodating photographer. From changing the day for our photos with late notice (for nicer weather), to having a ring sizer for my new engagement ring that was a little loose on our cold fall day. Not only did she drive more than three hours into Wyoming. But she also got there early to check out the best spots to capture the greatest shots. Rachel was highly professional, funny, kind, and very easy to work with. She is also not afraid to go on a long hike to find that perfect spot for the perfect shot. When we started the shoot Rachel said she wanted to capture our love story and she did not disappoint. The photo quality is impeccable and we have received nothing but compliments from family and friends. Her ability to capture such candid photos is very impressive (I mean come on she got a perfect shot of “the move”). We can’t thank her enough. 20/10 would recommend and would hang out and take photos with her again.

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Elisa & Brad

Rachel was so warm and gentle, it was so easy to just feel natural and be in the moment. She was able to capture our wedding so beautifully. Every time I look at the photos I feel all the emotions again. Thank you Rachel for your amazing work and being willing to photograph our special day. I am so grateful we were able to find you!

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Lauren & Jonathan

This day was a blast! One thing I loved about this shoot is that she didn’t pose us at all. Rachel’s style and editing is so authentic as she works to capture raw emotion verses having perfectly posed photos. This resulted in pictures that captured Jonathan and I’s relationship wonderfully. Almost every picture we got back is of us laughing, and if you know Jonathan than you know why we are always cracking up. Rachel’s ability to capture that in a still photo is some serious talent. 

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audrey & Jared

"We had a great experience with Rachel! The overall photo shoot was so much fun. We were laughing the entire time and the pictures turned out amazing. Also she was very prepared. She had a place to hang my extra shirts and a thermos of hot chocolate ready when we were done (it was freezing that day!) . I would definitely recommend her to anyone looking for fantastic affordable photography."

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Mikelle

"I love Rachel!! She is so professional and so fun! She is so willing to accommodate to whatever you’re wanting for your photos. She has taken pictures for me many times and never ceases to amaze me!"

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Alanna & Ducenge

Rachel did an amazing job at capturing our sweet candid moments of our special day! She also was so helpful with my flowers and thinking creatively to use the lighting we had! She is a very friendly photographer to work with!

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Robin & Travis

Rachel is a great photographer who is really creative and SUPER fun!  We both had a really good time, even though my husband doesn’t love having his photo taken, haha, and we laughed a lot together during the session. She would be perfect for adventurous & fun engagements and bridals!

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