Merry Go Round Rock Weddings and Elopements in Sedona, Arizona
The enchanting Merry go Round Rock wedding and elopement location is one of the most beautiful views in all of Sedona! It is one of my personal favorite elopement locations for couples eloping as just the two of them, or with a very small group. You have to be willing to take an hour long VERY rugged off road drive, or 6.5 mile hike. It is also great as a day after couple’s portrait session for weddings with more guests.
Merry Go Round Rock is most famous for the two natural red rock pedestals that couples can walk (climb) out onto with views of the city and canyons down below. What many don’t realize is that there are actually two levels to Merry Go Round Rock. Most of the spectacular and recognizable images you see are taken at the lower level. Pro-tip: The top area is just as breathtaking!
The many different views of Merry Go Round Rock weddings
While Merry Go Round is one of those spots that really looks best at sunset, just because you say your vows at the same time of day as other couples does not mean your images will look the same. One the my favorite things about a Merry Go Round Elopement is that the feel can change drastically depending on the time of year, weather conditions and cloud cover on your wedding day. Where the sun sets on the horizon moves between the summer and winter solstice. This means the sunset and direction of the late afternoon light will be much more to the left of the valley in December, and much farther to the right over the distant rocks in late June. It moves across the mid space during the months in between. The valley can also get hazy with dust if it has been dry or if seasonal wildfire smoke is blown through, like in the image below with a smoky glow. With so many factors, no two days will look exactly the same!
Popularity and seclusion
Although Merry go Round Rock has become a popular place for couples to take wedding and engagement photos, the extreme 4×4 road creates an access barrier that keeps it less trafficked than other popular views like Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock. There may be times, especially in the spring and fall wedding seasons, when there are multiple Merry Go Round Rock weddings happening at the same time. The good news is the area is large enough that finding a quiet place with a fabulous view for your vows has never been a problem.
Getting to the Merry Go Round Rock Wedding and Elopement location
Visiting these uniquely shaped ledges requires a high clearance 4×4 vehicle with an experienced off road driver to navigate the washed out, extremely bumpy road. If you or a friend aren’t comfortable driving your own vehicle or a Jeep Rental, hiring the Pink Jeep Tours like Bobbie and Kasey did can be a stress-free option.
The off-road drive begins at Munds Wagon / Huckaby Trailhead where Schnebly Hill Road immediately turns into an high clearance road. If you are used to off road driving, this is not an overly technical drive. It is wide enough in most places for oncoming traffic to easily pass. The danger is scraping your undercarriage or high centering on one of the many sharp boulders on this extremely rutted and rocky road.
Driving-Tip: This is not a drive one should take lightly, I have personally had to rescue 2 vehicles who were not prepared for the unmaintained, deeply washed out areas and passed many vehicles that became stranded and passengers had to hitch a ride down the mountain.
Merry Go Round Rock Wedding Information at a Glance
- Location Cost: No special permit at this time
- Guests: Recommended 0-25 because of extremely limited parking and difficulty of getting there
- Setups Allowed: None
- Road Accessibility: Merry Go Round Rock is best reached by a High Clearance 4 wheel drive vehicle. It is approximately 1 hour each way of EXTREMELY bumpy roads. If you don’t have your own , you can either rent a jeep in town from one of the local off-road rental places (see below), contract the Pink Jeep Tours to bring your group, OR if it is just the two of you with up to 1 additional guest we can take my lifted 4runner for transportation. Older child and non-car sick dog friendly (the ride is VERY bumpy) . Appropriate footwear and water is a must.
- Suitable for: Couples and guests that can walk uneven terrain for up to a half mile with a bit of uphill. There are many steep drop offs near the ledges, so it’s best if any kiddos and pets have a dedicated adult to watch out for them.
- Parking: At the top- extremely limited- no pass required, OR if hiking limited parking available at Munds Wagon Trailhead (Red Rock Pass or America the Beautiful Pass required) I do not recommend hiking the trail. It is mostly up a wash and you hear the vehicle traffic the whole time.
- Best time of Day: Sunset
- Best time of Year: Spring to early summer or Fall to early winter. Summer is cooler than Sedona below, but still hot and needs backup plans in case of monsoon rains making the roads unsafe. Winter is beautiful but cold and can get snow and ice being closer to Flagstaff.
Merry Go Round Rock Wedding & Elopement gallery
Want to see more? Check out these galleries taken at Merry Go Round Rock
Are you looking for help planning your Sedona Elopement or Intimate Wedding?
Check out the Ultimate Step by Step Sedona Elopement Guide & why you should hire a Local Sedona Elopement Photographer
Hi! I’m Shannon Durazo, and I would love to be
your Sedona Elopement Photographer!
Sedona is my elopement hub. I love helping couples say their vows and take epic portraits at difficult to reach locations like Merry Go Round Rock. I know all the best spots, and am very comfortable driving the rough road to get to and from this spectacular location.
My Merry Go Round Rock wedding and elopement packages begin at 4 hours for $2400. I highly recommend at least 6 hours to make the most of the views because of the drive and hike time unless it’s an add on Adventure Session.
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Ah….all the feels….Sedona is just breathtaking and that light gives me life!!!! Absolutely stunning elopement…
Wow! The view is unreal! There is so much helpful info in this post, I’ve bookmarked it so I can come back and read info if I ever want to visit this spot!
I’m very familiar with Merry-Go-Round Rock and you’ve captured the magic of this place with so much beauty! I’m obsessed!
Beautiful photos AND helpful information?! This post has it all, thanks for sharing! What a lovely spot in Arizona!
Oh these moments are magical and I love how the landscape and the couple compliment each other
These are so gorgeous, and what a stunning location for an elopement! Beautiful work, love the vivid colors!
I am so in love with these photos and your description of this adventure. What a beautiful day!
I really love the desert southwest. These photographs are beautiful! What a perfect setting for an elopement.