If you’re considering eloping in Zion National Park or even just visiting and have never been, definitely do some research before you go! Here are some tips on how to elope at Zion National Park and a few things to know while you’re there!
During Zion’s busy season from March-November, you are not allowed to access Zion’s scenic drive with your own car. Zion offers shuttles through the park which you must get a reservation for during peak season. You are allowed to drive your own car if the shuttles aren’t running and during the off season from December-February!
Zion National Park has a visitor center with a large parking lot, however it will fill up fast!! Even during Zion’s off season, it can get busy! Zion’s visitor center parking lot is FREE which is why it can fill up quickly. The best time to get a parking spot is around sunrise or later in the afternoon after lunch. Springdale has tons of street parking and parking lots, all of which cost at least $20 to park in.
If you get to Zion’s visitor center and it’s full, drive around for 15 minutes and see if anyone leaves! Timing it to get the spot can be tricky with so many other cars also circling the parking lot. So just be patient and respectful of other drivers. If you see someone is about to pull out, just pull over a bit and turn on your blinker to claim the spot!
Springdale is a small town so if you have a hotel not too far away, then walking to the park entrance is also an option and then you can catch a shuttle! Everything is so close together that this could easily be an option if you don’t want to pay for parking or can’t get a spot at Zion’s visitor center.
If you want to avoid crowds, then eloping at sunrise is the BEST time! Even then, you’ll likely have a few people around. Driving into the park before the sun rises is also free. You won’t have to pay for a park entry and you can also avoid the shuttle buses! Time your elopement early enough to get to the location before the sun rises and give yourself plenty of time to hike to your spot! The morning light before the sun peeks above the canyons is the most beautiful lighting!
If you would prefer to have a sunset elopement, just keep in mind you’ll have to pay for entry. Plus, depending on the time of year, you’ll have to get shuttle reservations! It’s a little bit more difficult and will take more planning! Shuttles start running at 8am!
Okay so here’s the deal! Zion already has pre-approved ceremony sites that you would have to choose from if you want to get married here. The logistics of bringing a group of people and avoiding crowds can be super tricky! Especially if you go during peak season and you have to take the shuttle! However, by following all the rules and with some careful planning, you could make it work!
IMO, there are definitely better options for you! My recommendation to make this a stress-free and super fun weekend is to find a large Airbnb close by to do the ceremony and intimate reception! THEN plan out your photos in the park with your photographer. Bring your vow books to have an intimate moment alone anywhere in the park and do your photos from there! This way you don’t have to organize too many people getting in and out of Zion and you can enjoy the special moment to yourselves while enjoying the official ceremony with your friends and family at a private residence!
Regardless, a permit is needed whether it’s just for photos or for your actual ceremony! So keep this in mind if you’re making plans to take any photos inside the park! You will have to fill out a permit application, which is $100. Information is subject to change so be sure to check out Zion National Park’s official website for the latest info!
If you want some inspiration to think outside the box when it comes to your big day, be sure to read this blog post! I talk all about doing an adventurous bridal session after your wedding day!
There are tons of hikes and scenic overlooks in Zion! If you want to catch some views then be sure to check out the All Trails app and find a hike that best fits your skill level. Angel’s Landing is one of the most popular but extremely strenuous hikes! If you don’t like heights then this hike is probably not for you!
I also recommend renting or bringing a bike and biking through Zion! Zion Outfitter is placed just outside of the park entrance and you can rent bikes from there! This was definitely our favorite experience when we visited! There are electric bike options, which is great if you’re not super in shape! We didn’t want to splurge on electric bikes so we pedaled our way 7.5 miles up hill! It really wasn’t too bad though! It was super fun and we just took our time, took a few breaks and enjoyed the scenery! Took us about 2 hours to go up hill and then about 30 minutes coasting back down! Another option is to get a bike and take the shuttle up and just coast down the hill! A great option with minimum work!
A perfect ending to the evening is to pull out your hammock and find a good place to set it up and just relax! Bring a good book and enjoy the views!
When I planned my trip with Abbey, we just wung it! Luckily, Abbey had been before and knew how to get around! We didn’t really plan out what we wanted to do and it turned out to be the best trip! Whether you’re going to visit or you want to elope in Zion National Park, it’s a beautiful place to be! If you want to take a trip to Zion and need a buddy, I’m almost always down to adventure! Or if you want an adventurous bridal session in Zion, definitely hit me up!