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Magical Red Rock Sedona Elopement Locations: UNLOCKED

[How to Elope in Sedona guide updated for 2024]

Have you ever visited Sedona? If you haven’t, let us tell you: it’s like stepping into a dream. The red rock formations are breathtaking and truly one of a kind. There’s a reason why people visit Sedona from all across the globe! Exploring Sedona is an incredible experience – plus, the red rocks make for a great place to elope somewhere MAGICAL. Sedona is a beautiful desert city just two hours North of Phoenix, Arizona – it’s known for its excellent hiking, biking, jeep tours, healing vortexes, vibrant art scene and many unique shops. The city of Sedona has a population of over 10,000 people, but it hosts more than 2 million visitors each year who come to explore the area’s many natural wonders.

Sedona is a very populated city full of tourists year round – but, with our tips and tricks to eloping in the Red Rocks you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and elope at the best (hidden) spots in town. Without further to do – here’s our magical red rock Sedona elopement locations: UNLOCKED

If you want to skip the research, click HERE for all-encompassing Sedona elopement packages (with zero travel fees)


The most cost-effective way to get to Sedona from out of state, is to fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (the closest international airport to Sedona). Once you arrive in Phoenix, grab a rental car for the 2 hour drive up to Sedona. The views along the drive are gorgeous, with a lot of Saguaro cacti and mountain views through a winding canyon and mountain pass. Since the city of Sedona doesn’t allow for the use of Lyft or Uber, you’ll be happy to have a vehicle to get around to the different hikes and spots while visiting.

There are a few alternative ways to reach Sedona! You could fly into Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, located about 30 minutes from Sedona. There IS a small airport located in Sedona, but it caters to mostly small, private planes. The Las Vegas airport is a bit further away, but could a great excuse to make a stop at the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park while on the road to Sedona.

There are various options for lodging in Sedona from hotels, luxury spa hotels, AirBnB, camping, vacation rentals, cabins, tiny homes and more. Here are some of our top recommendations:

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock is one of the top, most popular hiking trails in Sedona. It’s a short trail but VERY steep, with one section of the trail requiring both your hands and feet as you climb up through a crevice in the rock. It’s not for the faint of heart! But, this hiking trail is popular for a reason – you can’t beat the stunning views of the gorgeous rocks and canyons at the top. It’s a beautiful spot at both sunrise and sunset!

When it comes to parking and accessing the trailhead, there’s a few things to know: From 7:00 AM-5:30 PM Thursday through Sunday, the trailhead parking lot is blocked off with no available roadside parking nearby. If you are planning to hike this trail during that timeframe, you’ll need to catch the Sedona Trailhead Shuttle in town! It’s free to park and use the shuttle, just be sure to make it back down to the trailhead before the last shuttle of the day, otherwise you’ll be walking several miles back to your car. For more information about the trailhead shuttle, times and locations, click HERE. If you’re planning to visit Cathedral Rock Monday-Wednesday, keep in mind that the parking lot if very small and fills up incredibly quickly. Plan extra time to find a parking spot!

PRO TIP: If you’re wanting to elope at Cathedral Rock, here’s our inside scoop – plan to elope on a Thursday or Friday at sunrise! Since you aren’t able to access the parking lot after 7:00 AM and it takes a bit for the shuttle to arrive with the first group of hikers, you’ll have the least amount of other hikers at this time (aside from those willing to do the research and also wake up early enough to hike up before the shuttle begins). Don’t worry – if you get down the mountain after the shuttle begins, you’ll still be able to exit the parking lot!

Merry Go Round

There’s two ways to access Merry Go Round Rock: by hiking Munds Wagon Trail or by high-clearance 4×4 vehicle.

If you decide to go the off-roading route, keep in mind that the road is very rough – it’s not paved at all and has both big dips and large rocks. It takes time to drive up this road and definitely requires high clearance and 4×4. The road is only about 3 miles long, but it takes around 45 minutes to get to the top where you’ll get out to access Merry Go Round Rock! It’s a 10-minute hike out to the edge from where you’ll park. If you don’t want to do your own off-roading, there are several companies in town that offer private jeep tour rentals such as Pink Jeep Tours and Sedona Jeep Tours.

If you decide to hike up to the top, the Munds Wagon Trail is 6.5 miles long and over 1000ft elevation gain. It’s a long trail with a lot of elevation gain but leads to a gorgeous view! (plus, you’ll have access to more views than what you would from off-roading up to the top!)

If you’re planning to elope at Merry Go Round Rock, we recommend renting your OWN jeep versus a booking a tour. You’ll have a lot more time flexibility with not being constrained to a specific schedule. The tours have to be back down to the main road before the sun goes down, so often times you’ll miss the best lighting during sunset at Merry Go Round (plus, who doesn’t want to off-road in their wedding attire?!). See our recommendations for Jeep rentals HERE

Bell Rock

This is an ideal easy-to-access spot if you’re wanting to have an intimate wedding in Sedona. Though the parking lot is pretty small and can fill up very quickly, it’s a great option if you’re inviting a few loved ones to your ceremony. There’s also a few trail offshoots from Bell Rock that are great to exploring around just the two of you after your ceremony!

Secret Sedona Locations

Being pro Sedona elopement photographers, of course we have a few spots that are more hidden and less touristy that we always recommend to coupes looking to elope in the Red Rocks. We’ve found that the more secluded, quiet locations really aid in creating a more intimate and intentional day for you. Though we reserve the details of these spots for the couples who have booked our all-inclusive Sedona elopement packages, here’s a few photos to give you some off the beaten path type of inspiration:

Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge is a hike made famous by instagram, known for its narrow natural-arch bridge and epic red rock views. However despite what you may have seen on social media, elopements in Sedona Wilderness are prohibited per the Red Rock Forest Service. To get a list of all the hikes that are located within the Wilderness Land areas and not permitted for elopements and intimate weddings, click HERE

If you have a vision in mind for your Sedona elopement day but have no idea where to start, book a photographer that is a pro at not only photography, but also in planning elopements – essentially, an all-inclusive photographer (That’s US) 

You’ll want a Sedona elopement team or photographer who helps with…

  • Researching and finding the best elopement location options for your day that ACTUALLY fit what you envision 
  • Figuring out and helping you to navigate any required permits
  • Finding + booking epic lodging near your elopement location 
  • Recommending other vendors, such as a hair and makeup artist, florist, private chef + more 
  • Plans out the timing for your day based upon what YOU want to do

If you’re eloping in Sedona just the two of you, you might even want them to sign-off on your license ask your officiant! (we do that too)

If you love to plan, know exactly what you want/where you want it/when you want it and are just looking for someone to show up on your elopement day to photograph your adventure, then solely booking a photographer will serve you well!

Your marriage license can be obtained anywhere in the state of Arizona, even if you’re planning to get married in Sedona. To get your marriage license you’ll need to obtain it from a superior court – the closest one to Sedona is Yavapai County Superior Court. Or you can obtain it in Phoenix at any participating Clerk of the Superior Court in Maricopa County, AZ. Keep in mind that all of the locations in Maricopa County (and many others) required an appointment ahead of time to be able to obtain your license. For the online appointment portal for the Maricopa County locations, click HERE.

A few things to note:

  • After obtaining your marriage license, you can use it the same day – there’s no waiting period
  • The make the license signing legal, you’ll need two witnesses and a licensed officiant

When planning for your ceremony in Sedona, keep in mind a few additional rules and regulations:

  • Per the Sedona city’s rules, you may not set up arches, chairs, or things of that nature for an elopement or wedding in this location

When you think of Sedona, you probably imagine a place that’s quiet and serene. But the truth is that Sedona gets very, very crowded. And if you want to get away from all the people and enjoy the scenery in peace, you’ll need to plan ahead.

The most popular time of year for Sedona is March and October, during Spring break and Fall break. The crowds will die down a bit over the summer time since it gets really hot up there, but we do not recommend eloping up there between June to mid September due to the temperatures. If eloping in the Spring or Fall, choosing a weekday and less populated location will make your experience better! Lodging in Sedona DOES book up very quickly, so be sure to plan all of your stays ahead of time to be able to have options to choose from and less expensive pricing.

How to Use the Sedona Shuttle Trail System

Sedona’s Trailhead Shuttle is a free, easy, and eco-friendly way to explore some of Sedona’s favorite trails – and it’s actually even the only way to access several of the trailheads certain days of the week (including Cathedral Rock, Soldiers Pass and Devils Bridge). They run year-round, from 7:00 AM – 5:30 PM Thursday thru Sunday. For more information about the trails they service, the schedule and more, click here.

From hiking, off-roading, camping, climbing, biking, stargazing, hot air balloon and helicopter rides, wineries, breweries, spas and resorts – Sedona has a LOT to offer. Here’s a few of our top recommend things to do for your Sedona elopement day:

Sedona Hikes to check out:

Devil’s Bridge and Cathedral Rock are considered the best hikes in Sedona, which also makes them the most popular. Here are three other hikes to check out in Sedona:

Jeep Tours:

There’s several tour companies that offer jeep tours to a variety of locations in Sedona, including Merry Go Round Rock, as mentioned! Here are two Sedona Jeep tour companies:

The downfall to doing a Jeep tour for your elopement in Sedona is that you have limited time on the trail instead of your own timing from driving yourselves. We recommend renting your own off-road vehicle from one of these companies:

Nearby Wineries:

Did you know that Sedona is also known for its wineries?

If you’re looking to add a little wine tasting to your elopement, Sedona has a cute ‘lil area full of several different wineries to check out. Here are some local wineries nearby:

Hot Air Balloon and Helicopter Rides:

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