Guide: How to Plan an Arches National Park Elopement

Bride and Groom face each other holding hands and saying vows with the Canyonlands landscape in the background.

Guide: How to Plan a Arches National Park Elopement

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to obtain a permit and shoot a styled elopement session at Arches National Park. What a gift! From the moment I arrived, I was beyond blown away by the beauty the park offered. Every direction I turned, I was in awe. If you’ve never been to Arches before, trust me, you’ve never seen anything like this. I certainly hadn’t! 

What makes elopements so wonderful is that, because it’s truly just about the two of you, there are no rules on what your day should look like! This gives you the wiggle room to customize your day to fit any style or passion. Lauren and Brent’s styled session here was edgy and magical, and they popped against the one-of-a-kind landscape.

I loved my experience within the park so much that I’d love to give you an opportunity to experience the wonder I felt. For those of you planning or even considering an elopement at the Arches National park, this blog is written just for you—to help guide you through the process and help give you an unforgettable experience. Get ready to have the elopement experience of your dreams!

What to Know About Arches National Park

Arches is one of 5 national parks located in Utah. The park is named Arches National Park because there are over 2,000 natural stone arches in the park. At around 120 square miles, Arches is the most densely concentrated area of natural stone arches in the world!

Hundreds of millions of years ago, the area that now is Arches National Park was once a large saltwater lake. While the water eventually evaporated, it left the salt behind. Eventually, rocks formed on top of the salt layer and then eroded over time. The combination of the salt layer, rocks, and natural erosion formed these impressive natural arches that make up the stunning landscape of Arches National Park that we see today.

Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah, just north of Moab. The nearest major airport for visitors is in Salt Lake City, about 230 miles away. A couple of smaller regional airports are closer to the parks, like Grand Junction Regional Airport located in Mesa County, Colorado. 

Why Should You Elope at Arches

Arches National Park is iconic—the red rock arch formations are striking and distinctive. If you are a fan of the outdoors and desert landscapes, this is the national park for you! 

You can spend your whole elopement day exploring this massive area. Arches National Park has a bunch of different hikes to choose from of all different lengths and skill levels. However, if you’re not much for hiking, there’s also a 36-mile long scenic drive through the park to enjoy. Hello, tons of equally stunning options!

Best Time to Elope in Arches National Park

As with Utah’s other national parks, the best time to visit Arches is during the shoulder seasons. In the late spring and early fall, you’ll experience average high temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees during the day, and it’s absolutely beautiful! However, this also makes it the most popular time to visit, so plan for crowds.

During the summer, it often reaches 100 degrees in Arches National Park. But it’s a lot cooler in the mornings and evenings, making it great for elopements at sunrise or sunset. If you choose to visit in the summer, be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast. During the late summer especially, this area is prone to violent thunderstorms that can sometimes cause severe flooding. 

Where to Elope at Arches National Park

One of the most sought out locations in Arches National Park is the iconic Delicate Arch. However, because of its popularity, it’s really hard to get a permit to hold your ceremony there. You can certainly hike out there for a few photos, but I wouldn’t bank on it as a ceremony location.

Luckily there are lots of other great spots within Arches National Park! Depending on what time of day and the season, here are some of my favorite spots to check out:   

Best for Sunrise 

Turret Arch sits on the Windows Loop Trail. The arch is on the smaller side, but it looks like a castle with a turret, which is how it got its name. I think it’s hands down one of the best spots to catch a sunrise!

La Sal Mountain Viewpoint is another great spot for a sunrise elopement with an expansive view of the red rock scenery and the added bonus of easy accessibility. The viewpoint is located close to the entrance of the park, with a paved parking lot nearby.

Best for Sunset

I highly recommend seeing the Double Arch in the Window Arches area during sunset. The trail is about ½ mile and pretty flat the whole way. And you get unforgettable views of the arches as you approach! It’s a super easy parking lot, too.

While not an arch, Balanced Rock is another one of the most iconic sites in Arches National Park. This unique structure features a large boulder that looks like it’s barely balancing on its post. You can see Balanced Rock from La Sal Mountain Viewpoint. The hike to get there is only about a ¼ mile loop, giving you tons of bang for your buck!

Things to Do in the Area

First of all, there’s so much to do within Arches National Park itself. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll love everything it has to offer, from rock climbing to mountain bike trails, plus a wide variety of hikes. 

Moab, Utah also happens to be home to Canyonlands National Park, so I’d definitely try to check them both out if you’re in the area. If you’re planning to visit both, consider getting an annual pass—it will pay for itself in just a few visits!

For the less outdoorsy among you, a visit to downtown Moab should be on the to-do list. You’ll find a walkable stretch of boutiques and restaurants in downtown Moab and some fun street art, too! There’s also a great winery heading south out of town that I highly recommend. 

Top 3 Tips for Eloping in Arches

  1. Pack accordingly.

The temperature can swing quite a bit after sunrise or sunset, sometimes varying by 30 or 40 degrees in just one day! So, be sure to pack plenty of layers to prepare for the weather, especially in the summer months. 

  1. Get your permit early. 

It usually takes about a month to complete the permit process, so it’s best to plan ahead.

  1. Do your research.

Have a list of places you would like to elope at so you can work with the park. Sometimes due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, your first pick isn’t an option. So, come prepared with a backup plan or two. 

If you’re planning an Arches National Park elopement, I’d love to document your adventure! Simply send an inquiry my way, and let’s customize your elopement photography experience. 

Or maybe you want to elope in Utah and Moab area but aren’t sure if Arches is the right choice for you. No worries! Come check out my blog for tips on planning an elopement at Canyonlands! It’s super close to Arches, and you would still be staying in Moab, but it’s so much less crowded. Then, shoot me an inquiry so we can book photography for your experience! 

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