Moab is a city in Southeastern Utah known for its dramatic red sandstone scenery and endless access to activities like hiking, biking, climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, and off-roading. Located on the Colorado Plateau at over 4,000’ near both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and butting up against both the Green River and the Colorado River, Moab is a dream destination for those who love the outdoors. This all makes it one of the absolute best places to elope in the West, and we visit Utah from Colorado all the time!
A Quick Warning About Weather
Moab is semi-arid, only receiving 10 inches of rain each year. That means it’s dry and warm throughout most of the year, making it an ideal travel destination. But if you do visit, be sure to check for rain in the forecast before entering any canyons. When it does rain — even if it’s 30-40 miles away — pause all hiking and other canyon activities until the water has had time to dissipate into the rocky terrain. Otherwise you could get caught in a dangerous flash flood as the water pours through lengthy canyons looking for outlets.
It can also be extremely hot during the summer months, so we often recommend eloping to Moab between the months of October and April — or getting up early for sunrise during summer.
Please note: Be sure to check with all national parks, monuments and forest service districts regarding permits that may be required before eloping in one of these locations.
Arches National Park
The place Edward Abbey writes about in his famous book Desert Solitaire, Arches National Park is the biggest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the world. In addition to its 2,000+ sandstone arches, it has many other notable geological features, including Balanced Rock, Courthouse Towers, Dark Angel, Fiery Furnace, and the Petrified Dunes. All of these spots make for stunning backdrops for your elopement ceremony, first look, or just for exploring!
If your heart is set on the arches themselves, be sure to check out Delicate Arch, Devils Garden, Double Arch and Landscape Arch. If you go for any of the famous arches, be prepared for crowds — your best bet will be a sunrise ceremony. You should also head on over to check out our Arches National Park elopement guide for all the details about eloping there!
Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands is exactly what it sounds like — a park that’s chock-full of canyons, as well as buttes, mesas, spires, arches and fins. It’s so big that it’s divided into four districts, which it’s best to choose only one of to visit per trip. Our favorite district for adventure elopements is Island in the Sky, not only the most accessible, but full of huge, breathtaking views all along the paved scenic drive.
Dead Horse Point State Park
This Utah state park features an immense vista from a narrow point along a cliff 2,000’ above the Colorado River. That stretch of river just happens to be running in a sharp hairpin turn, creating an impressive gooseneck below. It’s definitely a popular spot for elopement portraits.
Corona Arch is a gorgeous natural sandstone arch that can be reached by a 1.5 mile moderately difficult trail (meaning a 3-mile hike round trip). A few sections of the trail utilize cables and ladders to escort hikers around steep edges. Corona Arch is part of the same rock formation as Bowtie Arch and Pinto Arch, and used to be called Little Rainbow Bridge because of its resemblance to the famous Rainbow Bridge. This is a great spot to use for your elopement outside of the national park, since it may be less crowded especially during weekdays.
Fisher Valley Overlook
Located in neighboring Castle Valley is Fisher Valley Overlook — not to be confused with the nearby Fisher Towers trail, and also referred to as Bull Canyon Overlook. In addition to offering sweeping views of Bull Canyon and Fisher Mesa, you can find dinosaur tracks that were made here 200 million years ago during the Jurassic period. It’s definitely a more “hidden gem” type location that will likely be far less crowded than the other areas on this list.
Colorado National Monument
In nearby Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument offers panoramic views of canyons and towering monoliths. Historic Rim Rock Drive stretches for 23 miles, beginning at the Colorado River on the valley floor and weaving up and down switchbacks up to the mesa along canyon edges. There are so many great backdrops here for portraits that definitely have that Utah canyon vibe, even though it’s in Colorado state lines, and they even have a couple spots designated for elopement ceremonies if you’re bringing any guests.
There are so many great backdrops here for elopement portraits that definitely have that Utah canyon vibe, even though it’s in Colorado state lines, and they even have a couple spots designated for elopement ceremonies if you’re bringing any guests.
Looking for an elopement photography and videography team in Utah?
Skyewater Photo + Film is a photography and videography team that specializes in destination weddings and adventure elopements all over the US. We’re also very familiar with Moab, as well as other locations in Utah, and know of some other hidden gem locations not mentioned here.
Whether you’re looking for a meaningful wedding video or an adventurous elopement photographer, contact Skyewater Photo + Film for your big day!