So if you’re thinking about Zion National Park Elopement… You’ve come to the right place! As a destination elopement photographer, I’ve created this guide to make your elopement planning much easier! I’ve been at the highest and lowest part of the park. I’ve seen Zion NP at it’s busiest and emptiest. So let’s get into it!
Best time to visit Zion National Park is in the Off Season. March-April, October-November, Here’s why… Zion is one of the most visited National Park in the country. (3.6 millions visitors per year) And considering how small Zion is compare to other national parks, the crowd is insane! You’re probably going to be spending a lot of waiting in line for shuttles, finding parking, or bumping into people instead of enjoying your time outside. SO I recommend any time that the kids have to be in school is a good time to visit Zion.
Alternatives: Winter – If you don’t mind the cold, go for it! Also less crowded!
I’m not a big fan of midday. First, the lighting is trash, there are sooo many tourists, and it can get super hot (unless it’s cloudy). I recommend sunrise & sunset because the lighting is much more pleasant. But here’s why Zion National Park is a little more challenging (lighting wise). Zion National Park is essentially a big beautiful canyon, witnessing beautiful sunrise and sunset is going to be more difficult. And the time that you have for golden hour is shorter. If you decided to elope in the canyon (the lower part of the park) It will take the sun quite awhile to reach you. So getting that “warm glow” is impossible because by the time the sun reach you, the golden hour will be over by that point.
SOOO Here’s what I HIGHLY recommend, I recommend elope at the high points. And here are those spots I recommend
6.7mi Round Trip with 700ft of elevation gain. It’s one of the highest point in Zion that has great view. The elevation isn’t bad at all so you can definitely hike this in your wedding attires. It’s also not a super famous hike compare to Angel’s Landing but the view is arguably just as epic if not better in my opinion.
4.4mi Round trip with 1600ft of elevation gain. **EXTREMELY EXAGGERATED ON YOUTUBE** I’ve done this hike 3 times and it is not that hard or as scary as internet made it look. The couple that you see in this post actually don’t like heights but they made it. The bride was quite nervous during the chain part of the hike but we took it slow and we managed to reach the top. At the end she said “I conquered my fear, and that’s one of the greatest feeling ever”. The physical challenge is like 6/10 on the difficulty scale if you take it slow but the mental challenge is more like 8-9/10 if you don’t like heights.
I only recommend this one if you’re looking for a challenge and don’t mind waking up early, like REALLY EARLY…
1mi Round Trip with FLAT elevation gain. Yep, flat, short, and easy. It’s a relatively high point in in Zion, not best for sunrise due to the angle of the sun. Because of how easy this hike is, it is flooded with people. So I recommend leaving this spot for a little fun photo session instead of a full-on ceremony.
A tour from the sky would be a phenomenal way to experience Zion National Park. You can also ride the helicopter to a remote place and have an entire place by yourself. This is a great way to be adventurous and have some intimacy
We would have to go to the east side of the park because of the light pollution from the city, but this can be a very cool way to slow things down.
If you enjoy riding, then this is a no brainer! Also this is a great option to enjoy the canyon from the bottom of the park
Super romantic. You can do this anywhere. It can be a lunch break on top of the mountain or dinner at sunset on top of a hike somewhere.
One of the most frustrating things about eloping in a beautiful location is that you’re bound to bump into tourists. The more beautiful the location, the more people you will see on the trail. And don’t forget about traffic as well.
So! How do we minimize this?
Avoid Weekends/Friday. On top of tourists, there are locals as well. And the best way to reduce the amount of people you meet on a trail is to go on weekdays.
Time! The most beautiful time of the day is sunrise or sunset. Most tourists will not wake up early for sunrise. And some tourists actually won’t stay at the top of the trail for sunset. (because they don’t want to hike back in the dark) So the best time I recommend is sunrise but if you’re not a morning person, sunset works as well! **I have headlamps for us if you choose to hike in the dark).
Difficulty. Take on a more difficult or longer hike! When you do this, you eliminate a portion of tourists with children, which is a lot of them.
If after reading this you have a good feeling about eloping in Zion, you should reach out! I would love to chat about planning and photographing your wedding. Fill out the contact form here and I will get back to you!