In this guide to eloping in Capitol Reef National Park, I will cover locations, activities to do in the area, where to stay, and where to eat. If you’ve never visited this park, you have to make the trip!
If you’re planning to have a Utah elopement but not sure where to elope yet, you’ve probably been looking online. In your search, it is very likely that your search has brought lots of Moab and Zion information. And for good reason! Those are both beautiful locations and I’ve written informative blogs on them as well. But in this post, I want to tell you about one of my favorite locations in Utah — Capitol Reef National Park.
As much as I love all of the other national parks in Utah (there are FIVE national parks here!), Capitol Reef is one of Utah’s biggest hidden gems. It’s much less visited that the other parks, which honestly adds to it’s charm in my opinion.
Capitol Reef National Park is nestled in Torrey, Utah, about 3.5 hours South of Salt Lake City in Utah’s south-central desert. It surrounds a long wrinkle in the earth known as the Waterpocket Fold, with layers of golden sandstone, canyons and striking rock formations. Capitol Reef National Park was designated a national monument on August 2, 1937, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to protect the area’s colorful canyons, ridges, buttes, and monoliths; however, it was not until 1950 that the area officially opened to the public. And it later became a national park on December 18, 1971.
You can visit Capitol Reef National Park any time of the year. But I would say the best times to plan your elopement would be between March-early June and September-early October. The summers get pretty hot in the desert, and it can be dangerous to be there during monsoon season. Capitol Reef is known for massive flooding during monsoon season. And into late fall and winter, almost everything closes down in the nearby towns.
In the spring, you can find many different wildflowers in all different colors, and it really makes the desert come to life in a whole new way. In the fall, there are still a few flowers hanging around, but the temperatures are perfect and the summer crowds are practically gone.
Capitol Reef National Park is a stunning location and a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes, and natural bridges. There a miles of gorgeous views to see! Capitol Reef is unique when it comes to where you can have your ceremony, because it really doesn’t have any designated ceremony locations. As long as the locations are around the picnic area, campground, or other front-country areas, you should be approved for a wedding permit. Weddings in the park have to be simple, rustic and no-frills ceremonies. If you are looking for a place that allows chairs, music, decorations, runners, arches, tents, or other extras, this will not be your best option. Permits will not be approved for backcountry locations as per wilderness management policies.
The number of participants may be limited to 15 to 20 persons, depending on the selected location, but the maximum number allowed for any location is 100. Wedding permits are $100 and may be scheduled up to one year in advance and no later than 7 days prior to your event. You can find all of the information about having your wedding in Capitol Reef National Park, here.
Capitol Reef National Park is definitely for a no frills kind of place. If you love the outdoors, finding epic and unique adventures, and living out your Wild Wild West dreams, this is the place for you.
Here is a list of my favorite activities to do in and around Capitol Reef:
Capitol Reef is a little more remote than some of the other national parks in Utah. But I think it adds more appeal to this location!
Here are a few places to check out for your stay:
Kind of the same thing with places to stay, there also isn’t a plethora of food options. But don’t worry, you’ll be sure to find some good home-cooked Western food!
Here’s an example of what your day could look like! This is totally flexible and can be changed. Keep in mind that this is your day and I’m here to make sure you have a damn good time above all else. If you’re having an amazing time in one location, we can keep rocking it there! This is just a way for you to get a feel for what can be done during your elopement. A more detailed timeline will be sent out after a plan and location has been determined to help with travel time estimates.
|2:30 PM – 3:00 PM||I come at the end of you getting ready to get some photos|
|3:00 PM – 3:30 PM||Travel to ceremony location|
|3:30 PM – 4:00 PM||Ceremony|
|4:00 PM – 4:30 PM||Photos with your loved ones|
|4:30 PM – 5:30 PM||Portraits with just the two of you|
|5:30 PM – 6:00 PM||Head to dinner with everyone|
|6:00 PM – 9:00 PM||I’ll snap some photos of everyone for the first 30 minutes before food gets there and then we’ll have a break in coverage for dinner|
|10:00 PM – 11:00 PM||Coverage resumes and we go out and take some photos under the stars|
|NEXT DAY ADVENTURE|
|9:00 AM – NOON||We take some Jeeps out to Hanksville and go around Factory Butte and Bentonite Hills with any of your friends that want to join|
If you are coming from out of town and plan to fly, you can do a couple of things!
Hopefully this helps you in your planning for your elopement, or if anything, a trip you may be taking to the park! I hope you enjoy your time there, and please reach out if you need any help!