If you are a lover of the outdoors and want to have a national park elopement, check out this Capitol Reef Wedding Guide that focuses on the Land of Many Parks: Southern Utah.
NATIONAL PARK ELOPEMENT: HAVING A CAPITOL REEL WEDDING
Capitol Reef is honestly the most underrated National Park in the United States, but specifically, Utah. It does not get as much attention as Zion or Arches. Which, if you are aware of those two, is a big deal! If you want to elope in Southern Utah with incredible views and very few crowds, check out Capitol Reef National Park.
A Capitol Reef wedding showcases red rock landscapes that bring travelers from all over the world to see. There are a ton of different hikes that have overlooks, canyon views, red rocks, and desert terrain as far as the eye can see.
THE MIGHTY FIVE
This park is part of the Mighty Five National Parks in Utah. These parks include the following: Capitol Reef, Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Canyonlands.
MAKING RESERVATIONS + ACQUIRING PERMITS
All you need to do to have a Capitol Reef wedding is to fill out a “Special Use Permit”. Once it is completed, you will need to send it to the park with a $50 check. Elopements or weddings can be scheduled up to one year in advance to fill out a permit. Wedding guests can be limited in the park from 15-20 people depending on the location of the ceremony.
NOTE: Don’t forget to bring the stamped approval permit from the National Park Service (NPS) with you on your wedding day.
Here is the Special Park Uses Coordinator’s information directly:
HC 70 Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775
GETTING TO YOUR CAPITOL REEF WEDDING
Capitol Reef National Park is located in Southern Utah. Bryce Canyon National Park is about 2.5 hours away with a ton of lodging options along with Arches which is about 2.15 hours away with a ton of accommodations.
If you are looking to fly into the area, the closest international airport is Salt Lake City (SLC) which is 3.5 hours away. Grand Junction Airport (GJT) is about 2.50 hours away. Las Vegas (LAS) is located 5.30 hours away.
There are multiple options on how to get to the park so you can make an adventure trip out of it depending on which airport you fly into to see the other Mighty 5 National Parks in Utah.
PREPARING FOR YOUR WEDDING IN THE PARK
This part of Utah does get a little bit chilly and does snow. Make sure to plan your trip around the year that temperatures are tolerable. In the summer, temperatures can climb into the 90s but in the mornings and nights it cools off drastically.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is NO CELL SERVICE in the park or getting to the park. Plan accordingly by charging all your batteries or where to meet your guests for your ceremony.
Here is a list of items to make sure to pack if you are planning an adventurous Capitol Reef Wedding:
- A LOT of water
- Day pack full of snacks & food
- Bug repellent
- Comfortable hiking shoes
- First-aid kit
- Map/ guidebook
- Portable rechargeable batteries
- Headlamp when hiking when the sun goes down
- A jacket for nights or mornings
- Champagne to pop to celebrate you getting married
EASY DAY HIKES TO EXPERIENCE DURING YOUR CAPITOL REEF WEDDING
- Hickman Bridge
- Distance: 2 miles, 1-2 hours, Moderate hike
- Rim Overlook, Navajo Knobs
- Cassidy Arch
- 3.5 miles round-trip, 2-3 hours, Strenuous
- Cathedrals Trail
- 2.4 miles, 1-2 hours, Easy
- Lower Cathedral Valley
- 1.5-2.5 miles, 1-2 hours, Moderate
- Grand Wash
- 2.5 miles one-way or 5 miles roundtrip
- 2-3 hours, Easy
- Cohab Canyon Trail
- 1.7 or 2.8 miles with viewpoints
- 2-3 hours, Moderate
Tip: If you want to visit this National Park, I highly recommend “A Falcon Guide: Best Easy Day Hikes, Capitol Reef National Park by Brett Prettyman. This book will give you a ton of information on easy hikes in the area perfect for your Elopement day. (Prettyman, 2017).
ALWAYS REMEMBER: Leave No Trace
ALWAYS make sure when you are visiting a national park (or anywhere nature-related) to follow “Leave No Trace” methods. Make sure to always pick up your wedding ceremony items and always follow the paths. Try not to off-road on unpathed paths to respect the lands.
Dreaming of an adventurous elopement? A Capitol Reef Wedding will give you that and more. If you have more questions on eloping in Southern Utah or Eloping in a National Park, here are some other links that you might find helpful.