Over billions of years, the Colorado River cut through the rocky desert, forming deep chasms and revealing layered bands of red rock. Today, this natural wonder is known as the Grand Canyon, and its breathtaking vistas draw millions of visitors each year. Whether you watch the sunset from the top of the mile-deep canyon or hike down to the river that still flows through the park, a Grand Canyon elopement is the perfect choice for any adventurous couple who’s decided that getting married in a venue just doesn’t feel like them!
Getting to Grand Canyon National Park
Though there is a small airport by the Grand Canyon, it has very limited service – so it’s usually easier to fly into one of the major airports if you’re traveling from out of state for your elopement. There are airports in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Las Vegas!
Once you land, you’ll probably want to rent a car to get to the national park. Most places in the park can be accessed by car, but there are a few overlooks and trailheads that require you to take a shuttle. These shuttles can get pretty crowded – but we’ll talk in the next section about how to avoid that!
When to Elope at the Grand Canyon
One of the first things you’ll need to do to plan your Grand Canyon elopement is to set a date! You’ll want to do some research on the weather, as well as the best time to avoid crowds.
Best Time of Year at Grand Canyon National Park
Peak season at Grand Canyon National Park is definitely summer. The long, sunny days and warm temperatures bring out lots of crowds, so if you elope during this time, you’ll probably run into a lot of other visitors!
In contrast, winter is the most peaceful time at Grand Canyon National Park. The chilly temperatures scare away visitors, and the parts of the park close for winter. If you’re down to brave the frosty conditions, this can be a really unique (and private) elopement experience!
But the best times to elope at the Grand Canyon are fall and winter! The weather is much more mild – though mornings and evenings are often significantly cooler than daytime temperatures – and there are significantly less people visiting the park. Keep in mind that snow starts early and melts late (especially at the North Rim), so eloping later in the spring or earlier in the fall will give you the best chances of open trails! Another thing to be aware of is that the Grand Canyon shuttle service usually runs from May 15th to October 15th – with some variation depending on the weather – so if your location requires you to hop on a shuttle, make sure your elopement date falls between those times.
Best Time of Week at Grand Canyon National Park
Once you’ve narrowed down which season you want to elope in, you’ll need to pick a day! On your elopement day, you probably want to be able to say your vows without an audience, and be able to explore nature without running into people – but this can be easier said than done, as the Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks in the country.
However, if you elope on a weekday, you’ll have a much better chance at finding a secluded spot! Weekends are always busier in the national parks, so by eloping while most people are at work or school, you’ll have a much easier time catching shuttles without too long of a wait, and getting to explore the park before the crowds roll in. Be careful of holidays and three day weekends, as these get extra crowded!
Best Time of Day at Grand Canyon National Park
Now that you’ve narrowed it down some more and after you’ve picked a date for your Grand Canyon elopement, you’ll need to decide on a time for your ceremony!
The best time to elope at the Grand Canyon is definitely sunrise – even if you aren’t an early bird! Waking up early and heading to your ceremony spot will guarantee that you have the place to yourself (or at least almost to yourself), and you’ll get to enjoy the peace and quiet as you tie the knot. If you take one of the shuttles, you won’t have to wait in long lines! Plus, as the sun comes up and the layered colors of the Grand Canyon glow in the orangey light, you’ll forget all about that early wake up call.
The Best Places to Elope at Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park only allows wedding ceremonies (regardless of size) at a few places – but don’t worry, you can always explore before or after the ceremony and take photos at other spots! You can find the most up to date list of ceremony locations, as well as the required permit application, at nps.gov, but here are some of my favorites.
This is one of the most secluded spots in the park – because you need to go down a dirt road, and there are only 5 parking spots! It offers incredible views of the Grand Canyon from above, and even has picnic tables, grills, and a pavilion so you can celebrate after the ceremony.
Pima Point is located along Hermit Road – which is only accessible by shuttle for most of the year. However, December through February it’s open to all vehicles, making this a great place for a winter elopement at the Grand Canyon.
Here, you’ll find some of the widest views of the Grand Canyon, as well as the Colorado River flowing through the bottom of the canyon. Lipan Point is an incredible place for an elopement ceremony, with some of the most jaw dropping views in the park.
Get Legally Married in Arizona
You’ll need to get a marriage license for your Grand Canyon elopement, which can be done anywhere in the state of Arizona. The Coconino County court is closest to the national park, and you will need to go in person – so if you’re travelling from out of state, be sure to get there early!
You both will need to appear in person, with photo ID and $83 for the license fee. You’ll get your marriage license the same day, and you can use it right away! It expires after 12 months, and your officiant will need to send it in no more than 10 days after your ceremony.
Things to Do at Grand Canyon National Park
Your elopement should be an adventure – so plan something fun! It’s not just about your ceremony, this should be the best day of your life. Here are just a few of the things you can experience when you elope at Grand Canyon National Park.
You can take easy strolls at the rim of the canyon, or descend down between the rocky walls – whether it’s a day trip or a backpacking adventure!
You can take rafting trips on the Colorado River! The park offers one day trips in smooth waters, along with some more exhilarating white water adventures.
You thought the view from the rim of the canyon was epic – now imagine flying above it! Helicopter tours offer a birds eye view of the entire canyon, with landings on the rim or down in the canyon.
Grand Canyon Elopement Packages
As an elopement photographer, I help my couples plan the wedding day of their dreams – from location recommendations, to planning assistance, to being your adventure buddy. So if you’re ready to start planning your day, contact me to learn more about Grand Canyon Elopement packages!