Horseshoe Bend elopement planning & Inspiration in Page, Arizona
As one of the most recognizable, insta-famous locations in all of Arizona, it’s no wonder Horseshoe Bend has become a highly sought after wedding spot for eloping couples. With worldwide popularity, this previously hidden gem is now a bustling tourist attraction at the main overlook point. The good news? The rim around the bend is over a mile long, so even when it is busy you are still able to wander around to either side and find a bit of privacy along with an awe inspiring backdrop.
Horseshoe Bend is a natural marvel located near Page, Arizona. Millions of years of water erosion by the Colorado River have etched a circular pathway through the rock, creating a wide, 10,000ft+ deep bend in the sandstone.
With so much to see and do in and around Page, Arizona and the surrounding area- including exploring slot canyons, kayaking, boat tours, off road expeditions, and more!- it is an ideal location for adventure loving couples to create a full or multiday adventurous elopement experience!
Planning an elopement or intimate wedding at Horseshoe Bend, or any part of the Page- Glen Canyon area can be a bit confusing. With land management split between Navajo lands, the City of Page, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, finding who to contact about permits, permissions, and whether a guide is required or not varies depending on which area you will be visiting. The main overlook of Horseshoe Bend is part of the the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, while the southern side is on Navajo Nation land. The Northern end is the most popular area for tourists and what you usually see in pictures, but the Southern side is a more private alternative, and available for group 4×4 off road tours lead by a local Navajo tour company with the ability to take guests right up to the overlook (Currently unavailable due to Covid restrictions). As your Arizona Elopement Photographer and planning guide, I will help you reach out to the proper offices to make sure everything goes smoothly on your wedding day.
Horseshoe Bend Elopement Planning Information at a Glance
Yes, you will need a Special Use Permit to elope at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona at both the northern end Glen Canyon National Recreation Area ($300+), and the southern end on Navajo Nation Land ($100+ & usually requires you to hire a local tour guide).
This depends on which area you choose. The most recent update from the northern end is up to 25 guests. The southern end located on Navajo Nation land has allowed private 4×4 tours with up to 75 guests. There are added guide and permit fees for larger ceremonies. **Navajo land is currently CLOSED due to Covid**
No setups of any kind are allowed.
From the main entrance, a well maintained 0.6 mile ADA accessible path takes you straight down to the overlook. From there you can head around the bend in either direction, which does require a bit of hiking and/ or climbing.
There is large parking lot right off of Highway 89 with on site parking passes and restrooms ($10 per car). On holidays and very busy times of the year there is a shuttle service available if the main parking lot fills up.
Monsoon storms during the summer can create gorgeous skies and rainbow backdrops, but can be dangerous if lightning is present. Proceed with caution.
It depends… Fall and spring have the mildest weather, while November-February is the least busy. Summer comes with temperatures in the 100F+ and potential monsoon storms. I honestly love it any time of year. Summer and early fall is a perfect time to watch the sun fully set and stay to star gaze as the entire park clears out. If you plan it right for a new moon, you can even catch the milky way rising to the south by hiking up to the northern edge. This is on my personal wish list!
Early morning or Sunset is the best lighting for your elopement portraits any time of year. There are some who argue that mid-day is the best time to visit Horseshoe Bend because the river below is lit up by the sun, whereas it is shaded in both the early morning and evening. Personally- I say pleeease keep going in the midday to all those visitors- and we will stick to those gorgeous golden rays near sunset with less people! Plus, with no shade, the midday sun soaking into the sandstone can be brutal, especially in the summer months.
Always wear comfortable footwear with good gripping soles when walking around the rim. Sun protection, light loose clothing will help keep you cool in the warmer months. In the winter, a jacket or other covering will shield you from the wind. Always bring more water than you think you will need. The dryness of the desert will sneak up on you, especially if you are traveling from somewhere with more moisture in the air. During the hotter months having drinks or food with electrolytes to replenish the salt your body loses while sweating is highly recommended.
Sienna & Josh’s Boho Horseshoe Bend Elopement styled engagement adventure
Sienna and Josh could not be more perfect for each other. Their relationship has that level of comfort and ease that is immediately apparent in the way they communicate through the slightest touch, or a momentary glance. They are both very close with their families, so while they still plan a large wedding back home in Utah for their legal ceremony, they were excited to have an adventure they could share, just the two of them, in a magnificent place like Horseshoe Bend.
We planned our adventure on a gorgeous October afternoon. We knew that the cooler temperatures of early fall would mean the main lookout would be swarming with visitors waiting to take their Instagram worthy picture by the rail. While the masses mostly stayed up near the famous overlook, we made our way around the bend to distant ridges we had all to ourselves. With the sun setting in the distance, Sienna and Josh were able to play and laugh, celebrating their love dancing at the edge of canyon ledges, gazing down into the Colorado River below. There is nothing better than watching a couple soak in the immense beauty of nature while connecting with each other- barefoot, windswept hair and all! Wide open, grand spaces like Horseshoe Bend not only offer fantastic views, they allow for intimate moments between the two of you with no one but the vast, open canyon to hear you.
Once the last of the sun set behind the hills in the distance, we packed up and hiked back to the parking lot to say our goodbyes.
Shout out to the vendors
Sienna chose a Rue De Siene modern Boho dress with tassels that matched her fun, flirtatious personality, while Josh kept the upbeat vibe with his handmade Ty’s Tiess floral tie. The gorgeous Bohemian mixed dried and live flower bouquet was by local florist Jocelyn’s Floral.
and I want to be your Elopement or Wedding Photographer!
I love helping couples visualize and craft an experience that feels true to you. The way your marriage begins matters, and I would love to help you tell your story. Set your marriage up for success by allowing yourself to get married your way!
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