I always know I’m in for an epic adventure when one of my couples chooses to elope in Moab. I’ve fallen in love with Moab for so many reasons over the last few years. From its’ small-town charm and fantastical folklore to the ornately carved red rock structures that lie just outside the city limits. I’m convinced there’s no better place in the world to elope than Moab.
As mentioned above, one of my favorite things about Moab are the legends surrounding the area’s most unique locations. My favorite legend is that of Matrimony Spring. Originally called River Spring, Matrimony Spring is a water source that pours out near the base of a red rock formation. People have been gathering around this freshwater source for centuries. The legend began as a tall tale, promising that if a couple drank from the spring, they would be in love forever. Over time, the lore around this spot evolved. Now, locals claim that whoever drinks from the spring will fall in love with and want to return to Moab forever.
Moab is known as the HEART of the Canyonlands. There’s no doubt in my mind that love is interwoven, not only into the lore that surrounds this town but in the land that surrounds it. With over 2,000 arches and hundreds of expansive overlooks, there’s no question you’ll find the perfect spot to say “I Do.” After years of adventuring with couples, I’ve created a guide where you can read all about the best places to elope in Moab.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is the perfect elopement location if you want that red rock, classic desert vibe for your celebration. Red dirt, rock arches, and starry-night skies make Arches the perfect romantic getaway for any couple down for an adventure of a lifetime. Here are two of my favorite elopement spots in Arches National Park.
Sand Dune Arch
Towering, red sandstone walls meet to create an infamous Sand Dune Arch. A short, sand-cushioned hike into the intricacies of Moab’s desert terrain leads you to one of nature’s very own wedding altars. Sand Dune Arch is a must-visit spot when you elope in Moab, even if it’s just to do some sightseeing!
The Windows Section
If you want to incorporate multiple arches into your elopement adventure, The Windows Section at Arches is easily one of my favorite locations in Moab. Accessible from The Windows Trailhead, couples can take a short hike before coming up on the North Window and South Window. Couples can get close to the base of The Windows, but please stay on the trail. Moab’s landscape is home to a delicate cryptobiotic soil crust!
One of the coolest parts of this short hike is the option to go clockwise or counter-clockwise. If you choose to circle the trail counter-clockwise, you’ll take the connecting Primitive Trail. While on the Primitive Trail, you’ll admire a rock formation illusion called The Spectacles. The North Window and South Window are connected by a formation called the Nose Bridge. From the Primitive Trail, you’ll see the meeting of the formations resemble glasses. If you choose to go clockwise, you’ll continue on The Windows Trail and up to Turret Arch. Another fantastic spot for elopement photos.
The Double Arch
Across the road from The Windows Trail, you’ll see another trailhead called Double Arch Trail. Along this trail, you’ll pass the Parade of Elephants before ending at a formation noted for front and back spans. The Double Arch is a magnificent red rock structure that’ll make you and your partner spin with your eyes toward the sky in awe. It’s an epic “I Do” location, especially at Sunset.
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands is a naturally carved and expansive desert oasis divided into three districts called the Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze. The Colorado River and Green River run through Canyonlands, which can be seen from various panoramic overlooks throughout the park. Here are two of my favorite spots in Canyonlands.
Grand View Point Overlook
This viewpoint lies at the southernmost end of the Island in the Sky scenic drive. You can park in a paved lot right off Grand View Point Rd. to access this location. The great thing about Grand View Point is that a portion of it is accessible. Once you park, there is a paved sidewalk that overlooks one of Utah’s most impressive canyon landscapes. There’s also an additional mile to a second viewpoint; however, that portion of the trail is not accessibility-friendly because it’s a little rough and uneven.
Green River Overlook
If you and your partner want to celebrate at the end of your elopement evening with an epic champagne toast or delicious dessert picnic, this is a great place to relax and celebrate your day at Sunset. The Green River Overlook peers into a vast canyon that houses a portion of the Green River. You’ll be able to snuggle close to your partner and bask in the unbelievable beauty of Utah.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Home to another fascinating Moab legend, Dead Horse Point State Park is a beautiful location filled with diverse landscapes and jaw-dropping overlooks. The legend goes that in the 19th century, cowboys would round up wild mustangs they’d find roaming the mesa and bring them to the area now known as Dead Horse Point. Nobody knows exactly why, but the wild mustangs herded up by the cowboys were left or forgotten one day. Unfortunately, the mustangs succumbed to the elements of the desert. It’s rumored that you can still see and hear the horses roaming the area. Hence the name, Dead Horse Point.
Dead Horse Point Overlook
Dead Horse Point Overlook is quite possibly my favorite spot in this state park. It offers epic views of a vast canyon system carved by millions of years of geologic activity. From this spot, you’ll also see a huge horseshoe bend hugged by the Colorado River, with the La Sal Mountain Range at the horizon. From the overlook parking lot, a short, paved accessible pathway leads to the breathtaking overlook. This spot also features a shade shelter with some seating. If you and your partner aren’t fans of hiking and want ALL the views, this is the perfect ceremony location for you.
The Shade Shelter Site
The Shade Shelter at Dead Horse Point is also another great option. It’s the most accessible site in the park, with wheelchair accessibility and shade. To ensure your ceremony is as private as possible here, I recommend a Sunrise or Sunset ceremony on a weekday.
This dog-friendly elopement location is located just outside of Arches and Canyonlands and includes a challenging and fun adventure. While the hike to Corona Arch is much less trafficked than other hikes in the area, you’ll have to put in a little work to get there. The trail leading up to the arch is perfect for challenge-seeking couples. This ceremony spot requires you and your partner to trek a little under a mile. Along the trail, you’ll navigate red rock cairns, safety cables, and ladder climbing. The end of your journey pays off with a huge 140-foot wide arch.
Castle Valley is another small town just half an hour’s drive from Moab. Castleton Tower and other unique structures, such as Priest and Nuns and Adobe Mesa, look over Castle Valley. Apart from being the ideal backdrop for your elopement, it’s also the perfect place to wish on a shooting star. With little to no light pollution, a stargazing session here is a dreamy end to any elopement adventure.
Marlboro Point is an iconic, off-the-beaten-path location in Big Flat. Big Flat is an area between Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park. The off-roading journey to get to this location is perfect for couples who like to live on the edge.
To get to this overlook, you and your partner can rent an RzR or side-by-side. I also offer my clients a ride in my Jeep! If you and your partner are early birds, I recommend arriving just before sunrise. As the morning sun peaks into the canyon, two distinct red rock towers become illuminated. A perfect little ray of sunshine spotlights a cliff edge that looks towards those red rock towers. Like a spotlight on a stage, and with nature as your witness, this elopement location is probably the most picture-perfect spot to say “I Do.”
Looking Glass Arch
If privacy is a priority for your ceremony, this secluded and quiet red rock arch is an underrated elopement gem. The trail to and from the parking area is a short 0.5-mile loop. This lowkey location involves a little climbing but pays off with a lot of views. It only takes a few minutes of exploration to stumble upon the base of Looking Glass Arch. That means you and your partner still have time to visit other nearby locations during your elopement experience.
Red Earth Venue
This 17-acre property is located right outside downtown Moab. The venue includes two spaces; The Desert Platform Site and The Glass Venue Site. With 360-degree views of red dirt and towering red rock cliffs at either location, Red Earth Venue is the ideal spot for intimate weddings or elopements.
Desert Platform Site
This location features a 20×20 wooden platform raised off the red dirt floors of the desert. The Desert Platform site is a super customizable space for a few rentals and/or floral arch. It’s also beautiful on its own with the picturesque surrounding Moab landscape. You can access this spot by foot or 4×4. The Desert Platform site is the perfect romantic vow spot before heading to the Glass Venue for a reception with family and friends.
Glass Venue Site
Glass Venue is a 1,800-square-foot pavilion made up of floor-to-ceiling glass window panes. It features black and wooden beams and includes a catering space and restrooms. If you’re searching for a luxury desert venue, look no further. You’ll get stunning desert views, all while enjoying modern-day perks. It’s also accessibility-friendly!
Permits May Be Required To Elope In Moab
Unless otherwise discussed in this guide, special use permits may be required at locations in and around Moab. For example, Dead Horse Point is really flexible regarding permits and entry. Permits there are only $60 ($10 application fee and $50 permit fee) plus a $20 entrance fee. While you still need to get this permit for your desired date well in advance, it’s much easier to obtain than a National Park permit.
If you decide to elope in Moab and hire me as your photographer, I’ll walk you through the permit process for your specific location and date to ensure your ceremony is stress-free!
Ready To Elope In Moab?
Whether I’ve just photographed a breathtaking sunset ceremony at Dead Horse Point or captured intimate vows spoken beneath Corona Arch, I always leave Moab feeling like it’s the one place on Earth specifically created by nature to celebrate love.
If you’re down for an emotion-filled elopement adventure or intimate wedding celebration in Moab, I’m ready to be there with you AND for you to capture and toast to all the heart-fluttering moments that make you and your partner’s love so special. You can tell me all about your hopes and dreams for your Moab ceremony when you inquire with me about your desired date here. You can also check out my guide on How To Elope In Moab, Utah, here.