One of the best things about planning your elopement is bringing the focus back to you and your partner. When you’re not stressed about the endless checklist of details and logistics that come with a big wedding, you can make the experience about the two of you and your interests.
For the couples out there who share an awe of the earth and its natural beauty, there’s always the possibility of a geological destination elopement! With a smaller group (or just the two of you), you have more flexibility to travel to some really cool places and elope somewhere meaningful and magical to the both of you.
Why geological features make the perfect elopement backdrop
Eloping near a geological wonder guarantees cinematic photo and video opportunities and can also have a deeper, more symbolic meaning.
1. Like your love, they stand the test of time.
Geological formations witness every era, change, and shift of the world and still stand. They can represent the lasting love shared between you and your partner.
2. They show the beauty of change.
Geological features are continuously shaped by natural forces — water, wind, the shifting of tectonic plates. In the same way, we are moved by the important people in our lives who change us for the better.
3. They remind us of how small we are.
The universe around us is bigger and more complex than we can possibly imagine. When we remember this, it brings us back to what (and who) really matters.
Whether you enjoy studying geology, collecting rocks (or climbing them), or even appreciating a bird’s eye view of the world from the edge of a cliff, a destination elopement at a stunning geological feature can bring a personal element to your big day. And there are plenty of places to choose from.
Here are our top recommendations for unique elopement locations for the geology lovers out there.
With peaks and plains to canyons and mesas, Colorado has some of the most beautiful and varied geology that would make it a stunning elopement location.
Some of our favorite spots are:
- Garden of the Gods — For deep red sandstone fins and other dramatic rock formations
- Great Sand Dunes — For the opportunity to climb the tallest sand dunes in North America (some 700 ft tall!)
- Colorado National Monument — For sweeping canyons and ancient rock layers that paint a picture of the past
Looking more Colorado elopement locations? Check out our other post:
Washington is a great place to elope for couples who feel at home in the mountains. The state’s two major mountain ranges offer amazing views and unforgettable hikes.
Here are just a few elopement locations geology lovers might enjoy in Washington:
- Mount Rainier National Park — For your pick of alpine lakes, forests, and adventurous fire lookouts with unparalleled mountain views
- Mount St. Helens — For a breathtaking elopement backdrop and wildflowers
- Mount Baker — For sparkling glacial views with fewer crowds, shorter, more accessible trails, and a variety of winter sports
Like Colorado, the landscape of Oregon is highly varied, giving you something new and beautiful to discover each time you visit. It’s the perfect place for an elopement with moody, lush scenery.
A few options for your geological destination elopement are:
- The Oregon Coast — For rugged coastal cliffs, expansive beaches, and mossy forests
- Cannon Beach — For towering sea stack rocks and caves by the ocean
- Crater Lake — For striking cobalt blue waters and an up-close look at the caldera formed by the Mount Mazama volcano almost 8,000 years ago (it’s the deepest lake in the US!)
Utah’s breathtaking geological formations attract people from all over the world — sounds like an ideal setting for your elopement to us! If you and your partner are seeking an otherworldly landscape for your day, it’s hard to beat the views in Utah.
Some of our favorites include:
- Canyonlands National Park — For deep canyons, mesas, ancient sand dunes, and sandstone spires carved by erosion from rivers and summer thunderstorms
- Arches National Park — For elegant arches and windows that perfectly frame the desert landscape. We have a whole guide on how to elope in Arches if this makes your elopement location shortlist.
- Zion National Park — For deep, narrow canyons and soaring summits and cliffs
- Bryce Canyon National Park — For magical hoodoos, towers, and panoramic amphitheaters that stretch towards the horizon
We include a few more scenic spots in our list of the best places to elope in Moab, Utah.
Mountain ranges, valleys, and desert views characterize Nevada’s landscape. There are several gems in the state that make it an excellent choice for your destination elopement.
Geology lovers may enjoy:
- Valley of Fire State Park — For glowing red Aztec sandstone and a rainbow of other rock layers and desert flora
- Black Rock Desert Wilderness — For flat white desert expanses, geysers, and hot springs
- Great Basin National Park — For alpine lakes, caves, and mountainous elopement vistas
Need more ideas? Check out our other post:
There’s something for everyone in California — whether you’re seeking out mountains, cliffs, beaches, lava beds, or deserts, you can find it in this state. Couples who are into geology will enjoy the variety of views and formations available for their elopement backdrop.
If you’re wanting a California elopement, you might consider:
- Lassen Volcanic National Park — For a wonderland of geological features, including volcanoes, thermal features, lava pinnacles, and cinder cones
- Joshua Tree National Park — For surreal granite boulder formations, desert playas, rugged mountains, and of course the iconic Joshua trees
- Yosemite National Park — For inspirational scenery with granite cliffs, waterfalls, rounded domes, and valleys
- Death Valley National Park — For colorful, warped mountains, stark valleys, and craters
Arizona is home to some of the most vividly mesmerizing vistas in the entire country. When determining where to have your destination elopement, it’s worth considering the state that’s home to some of the most iconic southwestern red rock views.
Our top picks for an Arizona elopement for geology lovers are:
- Sedona — For stunning hikes, caves, natural bridges, and distinct limestone layers that tell a story
- Grand Canyon — For the most incredible and vast steep-walled canyons and plateau formations you’ve ever seen
Alaska is well known for its gorgeous scenery and National Parks, but its most stunning geological formations are its glaciers. Whether you choose to elope with a glacier in the background or go the more adventurous route with a helicopter landing, it’ll surely make for an unforgettable elopement!
Here are just a few places in Alaska to elope:
- Knik Glacier — For bright blue pools surrounded by a lush green mountainside
- Mendenhall Glacier — For a true Alaskan background, including a massive glacier, a mountain lake, and even a waterfall
- Matanuska Glacier — For the country’s largest glacier that can be reached by car, and for a sunnier, warmer environment compared to the surrounding area
Hawaii is truly a geology lover’s dream for a destination elopement. Sitting over a hotspot and formed by volcanic activity, the islands of Hawaii are known for their idyllic green forests, steep cliffs and valleys, and, of course, volcanoes.
Couples who enjoy geology will love:
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — For two of the most active volcanoes in the world, lava trees and tubes, and sea arches
- Waimea Canyon State Park — For the brilliant pink and green tropical cliffs and waterfalls of the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”
- Kauai — For mountainous ocean shoreside, lush valleys, and adventurous hiking opportunities
- Haleakalā National Park — For one of the biggest volcanic craters and unbeatable views for watching the sunrise and stargazing
Looking for an elopement photo + video team who loves geology as much as you do?
The Skyewater Photo + Film team is based in Colorado and specializes in adventure elopements and destination weddings all over the US. We also offer insight beyond photography and can help you with planning, booking locations, vendor references, and more.
Reach out to our elopement photography and videography team today to get more info!