Utah is amazing. It truly is a hidden gem. It has gorgeous mountains peaks, rocky cliffs, red rock canyons, arches, pine tree forests, mountain lakes, ponds covered in lily pads, fields full of wildflowers, 5 national parks, 43 state parks, salt flats, so many reservoirs for boating, ski resorts, and amazing bars. Despite the weird liquor laws, we have amazing breweries, restaurants, and so much to see. Utah is such a gem and a great place for your elopement. Utah is kind of divided into 2 parts– North and South. Northern Utah is where the capitol of Salt Lake City is, while Southern Utah features more Red Rocks and our diverse National Parks. Although, you can get from Salt Lake City to Southern Utah within a couple of hours. This blog will feature locations in both and may help you decide where you want to elope (and hopefully will bring me along to capture the journey!)
Ps. I actually live here! Like, for years. I know the area like the back of my hand. So please bare with me – I know there are so many locations and they can be overwhelming. Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email for more information on a specific location! (Although I only share my deepest location secrets/GPS coordinates with my clients to keep the integrity of the land and my time!) Also, please note that many of these locations do require both a shooting permit and marriage permit to have an elopement in these locations. But don’t let this shy you away from it! They are usually easy and pretty affordable to obtain. Many of the photos below belong to Terra Ong – read my blog post about the amazing photographer here. (Yet another reason to hire us together!)
– Northern Utah –
Big Cottonwood Canyon
A quick drive from Salt Lake City, Big Cottonwoods Canyon features ski resorts, mountain peaks, tons of hikes, and is accessible year round. This is a very popular place for photographers/videographers. I almost always see other wedding couples getting bridals or engagements done. Big cottonwood is gorgeous but usually pretty busy.
Up little cottonwood canyon a few minutes from Salt Lake City, past Alta and Snowbird Canyon is Albion basin. You must get a permit to shoot up here but in late summer, is filled with wild flowers and the most gorgeous mountain peaks.
There are so many beautiful locations that I have personally scouted. This is my favorite place to shoot in all of Northern Utah, although some of the locations are only accessible in the summer and fall due to road closures from snow. Some of these locations are so secluded I have never seen other photographers or videographers there. These locations are so near and dear to me, as my family has a cabin in this area and I have spend my summers exploring these mountains for years. You can hike for miles or park on the side of the road for the most gorgeous rocky mountain views.
Bonneville Salt Flats
90 minutes from salt lake city, there are large stunning salt flats. This location is so unique and features mountains in the distance. After a rainstorm, the flats turn into almost mirror-like feature. The salt flats are next to Wendover where you can gamble and drink the night away.
Great Salt Lake / Antelope Island
In the summer months, this place is honestly so covered in bug I don’t recommend going. But in the fall or spring when it is cool, this location is so unique and has some of the best sunsets I have ever seen. The island features water, buffalo, sand and really unique cliffs.
Park City + Deer Valley
Park city is the cutest ski town tucked away up in the Utah mountains. About 45 minutes from Salt Lake City, there are the best restaurants, main street shopping, amazing bars and distilleries, and so much more. The location is so fun and is surrounded by tons of places to potentially shoot! Interested in learning more about eloping in Park City? Click here!
Guardsman’s Pass (Summer + Fall Only)
Once the winter snow melts and the road opens up, Guardsman’s pass is amazing. Up the canyon there are amazing 360 views, a hike to a gorgeous lake, wildflowers in late summer, and tons of mountain biking trails. This mountain road connects big cottonwood canyon and park city. While big cottonwood canyon doesn’t allow dogs, the hike up to bloods lake in guardsman’s pass however does! (For those wanting to bring their dogs on their adventure.)
Kamas + Oakley
Past Park city, Oakley and Kamas both have cute mountain airbnb’s and have more of a ranch/country feel to it. If you’re looking for an mountain airbnb but don’t want to be in Park City, I’d recommend looking up in this area. A short drive from either location and you can find yourself in the Uinta-Cache-Wasatch National Forest.
Moon Lake (Summer + Fall Only)
Moon lake is deep in the rugged Uinta Mountains. The place is super unique and will usually require you to camp. But the location is stunning and if you are looking for a summer lake/more back country feel, then this is the place for you.
If you head up into the mountains on the Ogden (which is about 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City) side of the Wasatch mountain range, you will find yourself near Snow Basin ski resort, conservation land, tons of hikes, mountain biking trails, several lakes and reservoirs, and gorgeous mountain views. My favorite things to do in the fall is to take the tram up Snow Basin Ski Resort and see the change leafs from the most stunning view!
Sundance is near Provo Canyon in Utah. This little area features a ski resort, a hike to a stunning waterfall, aspen trees and tons of cute places to stay. Sundance is honestly so gorgeous. I highly recommend hopping on Airbnb and searching for places to stay up in near Sundance Ski Resort. They all remind me of a little piece of Switzerland. The cabins are so woodsy and cute. There is a completely outdoor venue called ‘The Hollow” up by Sundance that is beautiful as well.
Near park city, there is a beautiful reservoir that actually has a great wedding venue! This features the Wasatch mountains in the background, and is the closest large body of water to park city. The views are truly amazing. Interested in learning more about eloping in Park City? Click here!
Provo Canyon / Deer Creek
Provo canyon is beautiful and will eventually connect to American fork canyon if you turn off towards sundance. There are lots of cool off-roading trails and places to hike. This is a great place to find tons of aspen trees. Provo canyon will lead to Deer Creek which is a wonderful reservoir /state park as well.
American Fork Canyon
If you head south from Salt Lake City, around the point of the mountain there is a canyon called American Fork Canyon – which is another gorgeous mountain area in northern Utah. There are so many hikes, lakes, and off-roading trails to follow. American Fork Canyon is a great place to explore, views Mount Timpanogas, and even has a cave you can go explore.
This lake is off the beaten path in North-Eastern Utah and is so unique. Flaming Gorge is a popular place for boating, camping, hiking, and possibly eloping! This national recreation area is near the Wyoming boarder and has a mix of desert and forest with a beautiful lake view!
Little Sahara Sand Dunes
Around 1 hour and 45 minutes south from Salt Lake City, the Little Sahara Recreation Area is a sand dune dream. Most people go out to camp or ride motorcycles, but this large area is a such a great place to shoot! These sand dunes are incredibly unique.
– Southern Utah –
Zion National Park
Zion literally means ‘the promised land.’ And they’re not wrong! If you haven’t been to Zion before, it will change your life. These red rock cliffs are massive. Nothing here cannot be breathtaking. Utah is so blessed to have a place as beautiful as Zion for people like you to share vows between your loved one! For more info on places to elope around Zion, click here!
Moab is one of my favorite places. And honestly, it deserves it’s very own blog post. So if you’re looking to Elope In Moab, Click Here.
San Rafael Swell
This place is so unique! According to google, it is a ‘geological feature near Green River, UT.’ But according to me – it is the perfect place to hike, camp, explore, mountain bike, and look for Petroglyphs on the side of large red rock cliffs. If you are looking for somewhere that is totally unique and somewhere to make your own, I recommend this location. It is also near Goblin Valley State Park and a really cool slot canyon hike.
Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley State Park is colorful, unique, and very strange. The rock formations here are one of a kind and almost look out of worldly. Goblin Valley is very cool, although there is so much to see in this whole area.
The first time I shot a couple near this secluded spot near Lake Powell, we all ran to the edge and our jaws dropped. Utah is beautiful, no doubt. But this place changed everything for me. Lake Powell is beautiful but this hidden look out spot we scouted was absolutely breathtaking. I got his photo of me and I love it because you can just tell how happy I am!
Snow Canyon State Park
This state park is in Saint George Utah (which is a Southern Utah town about 45 minutes from Zion). In the morning, the sun hits these beautiful red rock cliffs. This state park features lots of hiking trails around red and white cliffs, a small slot canyon, and lots of lava rock. Snow canyon state park is worth the trip.
A backpackers dream! Escalante is rugged and has so much to explore. This land features slot canyons, waterfalls, and so many trails to explore. The land is protected and has lots of places to potentially camp.
You know that scene in Forest Gump where he is running on the highway and there are giant red cliffs in the background? Yep, it’s actually in Monument Valley! This area is in the south-eastern corner of Utah bordering Arizona! There are unique Airbnb’s in this area as well as places to camp.
Capital Reef National Park
Capitol Reef is Utah’s most underrated national park. One of five, this park is located in the south-central part of Utah! The park features lots of strange rock formations and even an arch! Lots of places to camp, explore, and stargaze.
It’s no secret that Utah is known for its ski town and resorts. Although Brian Head is southern Utah’s skiing treasure. Activities include tubing, skiing, shopping, dining, and snowmobiling in the winter months. However, in the summer months the resort transforms to an outdoor lovers dream; mountain biking, festivals, concerts, foodies and family fun. The resort is located near the Cedar Breaks National Monument and Dixie National Forest, which is a beautiful forest features mountain lakes, forest, and even red rocks.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Utah’s most unique national park – Bryce Canyon! This park has incredible views, hikes, horse back riding, and camping. The rock formations in this park are called ‘hoodoos’, which is basically a fancy word for weird rock formations. They are found all over the world, but Bryce Canyon has the most concentration hoodoos in the world. The more ya know, thanks google! This is also such a cool and unique place to have an elopement or intimate wedding.