Post Summary: Horseshoe Bend is one of the most freaking iconic + epic places in the whole country, in my opinion! The scenery is freaking out of this world and makes for an absolutely insane elopement location. If you’re considering eloping at Horseshoe Bend (which you def should), you’ll love this complete guide to how to plan a Horseshoe Bend adventure elopement, where I go through how to get there, how to get your Horseshoe Bend wedding permits, the best hikes, activities to do, & sooo much more.
You heard me already – welcome to my brand new guide to eloping at Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona! When I say I’m head over heels in love with this place, it’s not an exaggeration – and you’ll soon see why, if you’re not already familiar with Horseshoe Bend. With its phenomenal scenery, stunning hikes, and close proximity to so many opportunities for outdoor adventure, any couple looking to experience a truly breathtaking desert elopement will LOVE Horseshoe Bend. I can’t freaking wait for you to see all that this amazing place has to offer!
Where is Horseshoe Bend?
First of all, where the heck is Horseshoe Bend? I feel like it often gets confused with similarly-beautiful locations in the midwest like Moab and Zion National Park in Utah, or Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. All of these locations have equally stunning desert scenery overlooking some sort of epic canyon, and aren’t too far from each other. But Horseshoe Bend is located in Page, Arizona, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which spans into both Arizona & Utah.
You’ve probably seen photos of Horseshoe Bend before, since it’s a pretty iconic spot to visit and share alllll over your Instagram (for good reason)! It’s one of the most well-known landmarks in the recreation area, overlooking the beautiful Colorado River that sweeps around a horseshoe-shaped bend – hence the name, if you couldn’t figure that out on your own 😉
The parking lot at Horseshoe Bend is located right off US Highway 89, about 5 miles south of the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, which is the main visitor center for the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Why Elope at Horseshoe Bend?
I meannnn it’s pretty dang obvious why you’d want to elope at Horseshoe Bend, what with the freaking other-worldly views and all! But in case you’re not so sure yet why you’d elope here instead of one of the other incredible desert locations in the midwest, here are a few reasons that a Horseshoe Bend elopement might be right for you:
- You want access to stunning views without too, too long of a hike (it’s only 1.5 miles round trip to the overlook!)
- You want to also be able to visit the ever-popular Antelope Canyon on your trip
- You’re okay with some crowds around if you elope or take photos at sunset
- You want to spend time exploring/swimming in Lake Powell nearby
The nearest airport to Horseshoe Bend is the Page Municipal Airport (PGA), just a short 15-minute drive from the beautiful overlook. You can fly directly into PGA depending on the airport you’re departing from, or you can fly into one of the major airports below to then connect to PGA.
Larger airports close to Horseshoe Bend, Arizona:
- St. George Regional Airport (SGU)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX)
- Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Parking at Horseshoe Bend
When you drive to Horseshoe Bend, you’ll park in the parking lot that’s a 1.5 mile-round trip hike from the overlook! It’s located off US Highway 89, and costs $10 per car to park in.
When to Visit Horseshoe Bend
Best time of year to elope at Horseshoe Bend
To be honest, Horseshoe Bend is freaking stunning during every season! Summer is the peak visitor season, of course, so if you want to avoid crowds (and hottttt weather, with temps getting up to at least 100°F), don’t elope there during the summer.
For more mild temperatures (and slightly less crowds), you should elope at Horseshoe Bend during the spring or fall, when average temperature highs reach around 70°F.
Winter temperatures at Horseshoe Bend typically max out around 45°F and gets below freezing in the mornings & at night, so it does get pretty cold! If you really want to avoid crowds and are okay with colder temperatures + potential snow, Horseshoe Bend is still super beautiful in the winter. Just be aware that crowds may increase around Christmas & New Year’s, as people travel during time off.
Best time of day to elope at Horseshoe Bend
Alright, now that you know a bit about the seasons + weather at Horseshoe Bend, what about the best time of week/day to elope there?
Should we elope on a weekday or weekend?
I definitely recommend eloping at Horseshoe Bend on a weekday if you’re able to, simply because of the enormous amount of crowds you’ll probably run into on a weekend, especially during the summer.
Should we elope at sunrise or sunset?
At most locations I recommend eloping at sunrise to avoid crowds, but since the sun rises in front of the bend at Horseshoe Bend, the shadows can be a bit weird as the sun comes up! So I’d actually suggest eloping about 2-3 hours before sunset so you can get beautiful light as the sun slowly starts to set for your ceremony, and then you’ll get an absolutely gorgeous golden hour for evening portraits.
FAQ’s About Eloping at Horseshoe Bend
What are Horseshoe Bend’s operating hours?
Horseshoe Bend is open from sunrise to sunset, and the main visitor center (the Carl Hayden Visitor Center) is open from 9:00am - 4:00pm Thursday through Monday.
Do I need an officiant to elope at Horseshoe Bend?
Yes, you’ll need an officiant to elope at Horseshoe Bend! Arizona marriage laws require your ceremony to be officiated by an ordained officiant. Skip down to the Arizona Marriage Licenses + Laws section of this blog post for more deets!
Do I need witnesses to elope at Horseshoe Bend?
Yup, Arizona requires you to have two witnesses over the age of 18 present at your elopement ceremony.
Can I bring chairs, tables, arches, or other pieces of equipment to my elopement ceremony?
Unfortunately no. You can get specific up-to-date info about what’s allowed & not allowed from the permit office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!
Is there any way to avoid crowds at Horseshoe Bend?
The best way to avoid crowds at Horseshoe Bend is by visiting the overlook at sunrise and/or on a weekday. I definitely recommend eloping on a weekday if you’re able to since sooo many people visit Horseshoe Bend on the weekend, especially during the busier times of spring/summer/fall! Keep in mind that although sunrise is beautiful and typically comes with less crowds, the shadows can be a little weird since the sun rises in front of the bend and can get in the way of your photos at certain times.
Is it safe to go on the cliffs at Horseshoe Bend?
Because the Horseshoe Bend overlook sits atop incredibly high cliffs, it’s really important to make sure you stay within the bounds of the safety railings placed along the edges! Don’t go any further than you’re comfortable with, and be aware that the sandstone can be unstable at some spots. I definitely recommend wearing sturdy footwear so you can be as safe as possible & have a good grip on the rocky terrain!
Make sure you read these Horseshoe Bend Safety Tips from the National Park Service before you visit, too.
Where can I park at Horseshoe Bend?
To visit Horseshoe Bend, you’ll park in the parking lot that’s 1.5 miles round trip from the overlook!
Horseshoe Bend Elopement Packing List
“Alright Katie, now that we KNOW we want to elope at Horseshoe Bend, what should we bring with us?”
Here’s a list of essentials you won’t want to forget to pack for your time at Horseshoe Bend!
- Water (lots of it – especially during the summer)
- A hat
- Moisture-wicking clothes for the hike
- Closed-toed, sturdy shoes that you’re okay with getting dirty
- Hiking backpack
- Layers for colder times of day
- A blanket to sit on
Horseshoe Bend Hike Info
Like I’ve mentioned already, you’ll have to complete a 1.5-mile round trip hike to get to the Horseshoe Bend overlook from the parking lot. It’s a fairly short hike, but gets suuuper busy and crowded! The trail is all dirt and is relatively flat but does have some harder spots – and when it’s hot out it can feel MUCH more challenging. Make sure you remember to drink lots of water throughout your time at Horseshoe Bend!
The newly-renovated trail to the Horseshoe Bend overlook is technically ADA-accessible, with an elevation gain of just 137 feet, at least 6-foot wide trail surfaces, and a mostly gentle (5% or less) grade. However, the steady incline could be difficult for some people in wheelchairs, so be prepared to potentially help any guests or fellow hikers in your group that will be traversing the trail in a wheelchair!
And fun fact – dogs ARE allowed on this trail! So you are welcome to bring along your four-legged friends on the hike with you to the Horseshoe Bend overlook 🙂
How to Get Married at Horseshoe Bend
Let’s move on to the legal stuff!
In order to get married at Horseshoe Bend, you’ll need to familiarize yourselves with Arizona’s marriage license laws.
Here are the basics of Arizona’s marriage license laws:
- Arizona marriage license cost: Varies by county; average $70-100
- Witnesses needed: 2 over the age of 18
- AZ residency required? No
- Where it’s valid: Anywhere in AZ
- Valid for: 12 months
- Waiting period: None
- Minimum age requirement: 18
- Self-solemnization allowed? No
- Blood test required? No
To get your Arizona marriage license, follow these steps:
- Visit an Arizona County Clerk’s Office together with valid photo ID’s
- Apply in-person, or online if the county allows it
- Pay your marriage license filing fee
- Get married within 12 months – rembmere, there’s no waiting period, so you can get married right away once you have your license!
- Have your officiant file your license after your ceremony
To get married at Horseshoe Bend, you’ll need to get a Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Special Use Permit.
Here’s the process you’ll need to follow to obtain the permit:
- Complete this application form at least 45 business days prior to your desired date
- Email your completed application go email@example.com, or mail it to the address below, along with your nonrefundable processing fee of $100 (via check or a link they’ll send you)
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
ATTN: Special Park Use Office
P.O. Box 1507
Page, AZ 86040
- Wait for your permit to be approved
- Pay the required $200 cost of recovery charges and provide proof of liability insurance if requested
- Sign & return your permit along with your payment for final approval
Anybody parking at the Horseshoe Bend parking lot will also be required to pay a $10 fee per car.
Best Places to Stay in Page, AZ
Don’t forget to find a place to stay during your time in Page! Having an awesome place to stay is essential to ensuring you have an amazing elopement experience, with a cozy place to spend time together in the mornings and evenings – and the rest of the days of your trip after your elopement.
- Rim View Chateau
- Large Property with Hot Tub
- Red Rock Retreat
- Desert-Scape Dream
- Lake Powell Vacation Home with Pool
- Modern & Spacious Retreat
- Gorgeous Home in Page
- Horseshoe Bend 9 Mile Campsite
- Horseshoe Bend 6 Mile Campsite
- Page Lake Powell Campground
- Beehives Campground
Lodges & resorts
5 Fun Activity Ideas for Your Horseshoe Bend Elopement
Now that you’ve decided to elope at Horseshoe Bend, you’ll want to start planning your itinerary + find fun activities to incorporate into your elopement! Here are five examples of fun activities you could include in your Horseshoe Bend elopement timeline.
Lake Powell is the perfect destination for couples who love water activities such as spending an afternoon on a boat, kayaking, paddleboarding, or even just going for a swim on a hot summer day!
2. Have a picnic with a view
Ummm how dreamy would it be to have a picnic at Horseshoe Bend after your ceremony with such breathtaking views surrounding you?!
3. Take a guided tour through Antelope Canyon
The slot canyons of Antelope Canyon are absolutely UNREAL and are a must-see for anybody visiting Page.
4. Go off-roading
Off-roading is such a fun way to experience a rugged landscape like the one in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area!
5. Have a private dinner at your Airbnb under the stars
Why not hire a private chef to cook you an incredible meal at your Airbnb, and then end the evening by stargazing on the deck or from your Airbnb’s hot tub?!
Meet Your Horseshoe Bend Elopement Photographer
Well hey there – if you don’t know me already, I’m Katie! I’m a Horseshoe Bend elopement photographer based out of Seattle, WA, and I spend the majority of my time photographing the adventure elopements of rad couples around the western U.S. I’m freaking obsessed with all things elopements, hiking, outdoor adventure, and LOVE, and truly can never get over the fact that I get to do this as my job!
If you’re on the hunt for a photographer for your Horseshoe Bend elopement who will:
- Capture your gorgeous Horseshoe Bend elopement ceremony through intentional, storytelling photos that you can look back on forever
- Help you craft your dream Horseshoe Bend elopement experience + itinerary
- Help you find activities in the area to make your elopement intentional, unique, and fully YOU
I’m your gal!!
Visit my website to learn more about me, get to know my approach to elopement photography, and then reach out to me if you feel like we’re a good fit. I can’t wait to hear from you and start planning your dream Horseshoe Bend elopement!
Horseshoe Bend Elopement Packages + Pricing
Elopement Packages and Pricing for Horseshoe Bend
- 4 hours – 2 days of elopement photography coverage anywhere in Arizona
- Your own personal elopement guide & consultant
- Unique and personalized location scouting
- vendor recommendations
- permit and marriage license assistance
- hand-crafted elopement timeline
- Created just-for-you activity list
- Unlimited guides and resources
- 100+ page How to Elope Guidebook
- Optional complimentary officiant service
- Digital online gallery with full resolution image and printing rights
- Sneak peak images within 1 week
- Photographer travel fees covered anywhere in Arizona
Starting at $6,500
Horseshoe Bend Elopement Vendors
Hair & Makeup:
If you know you want to elope in Arizona but are still considering other locations, be sure to check out my Guide to the 25 Best Places to Elope in Arizona in 2022!
Not sure where you want to elope yet? There are sooo many incredible places in the U.S. that are available to you – lucky for ya, I’ve created a ton of guides to all my favorite elopement destinations! Check out my favorites below!
National Park Elopement Guides
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In order to make your dream elopement day happen, it's super important that we connect and that you feel comfortable with me! The best way to do this is to reach out and schedule a call so you can learn more about me and I can learn about you two so i can document what's real + the most important to you.