This guide takes you through how you can elope at Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona.
Are you considering eloping at Cathedral Rock in Arizona? We are Grace and Christian, a traveling husband-wife adventure elopement photography and videography team that specializes in Utah and Arizona elopements! Arizona is one of our favorite destinations, and we're here to give you all of the info on how you can plan your adventure elopement at Cathedral Rock!
Cathedral Rock is located just under 2 hours from Phoenix, Arizona. This iconic spot located in the Coconino National Forest is a very popular and beautiful adventure elopement location. Cathedral Rock is only accessible via a hike. Although the hike may be considered advanced for some, it is also one of the most popular hikes in Sedona and hundreds of thousands of people hike this every year. The trail is considered safe, so long as you are being safe, but if you do not feel comfortable to reach the summit, that is okay. There are plenty of places to stop and take in Sedonas beautiful red rocks along the way.
We found that it took us around 45 minutes to hike up, and 20 minutes to hike down. The hike up includes lots of stopping and rest time, as we were carrying all of the couple's wedding attire and our photo equipment. The other hikers are all friendly and supportive to cheer you on as you scale the rocks.
There is a parking lot at the trailhead and the cost is $5 unless you have a weekly or yearly parking pass. Parking can get pretty packed so we suggest arriving with plenty of time and patience. During peak months on specific days, the lot is closed and a free shuttle system runs year-round from Thursday - Sunday. You can check out the current Sedona shuttle schedule here.
CHOOSING YOUR DATE
Arizona can get pretty hot in the summer, and chilly and snowy in the winter, so we suggest eloping sometime during the fall or spring. Since Cathedral Rock is one of the most popular hikes in Arizona, it can be crowded, especially on the weekends. If you are looking for something more private we suggest eloping on a weekday.
CHOOSING THE TIME OF DAY
Both sunrise and sunset are amazing times of day to elope at Cathedral Rock! Shooting near either of these "golden hours" will give you that soft light followed by golden rays as the sun comes up or down over the horizon. You'll see fewer crowds during sunrise, making things more private. We typically recommend sunrise to our couples.
PERMITTING AT CATHEDRAL ROCK
Currently (as of April 1, 2023) a permit is not required for an elopement at Cathedral Rock. Rules are always changing so be sure to double-check with the Coconino National Forest Service here. Typically, officiants will perform your wedding ceremony near the base of the trailhead before or after you hike up for photos.
You will of course need a marriage license in order to get married at Cathedral Rock! Check out the requirements for obtaining a marriage license at any local county clerk's office in Arizona here. You will need two witnesses to sign, and it is easy to find hikers to sign the license.
Located just 38 miles south of Flagstaff between Sedona and The Village of Oak Creek, you can easily navigate to Cathedral Rock with a GPS. Simply type in " Cathedral Rock trailhead" or use the coordinates 34.8200° N, 111.7932° W
WHERE TO STAY
Desert Sage HMUA is an amazing local hair and makeup artist to work with
Jazz Bouquet for florals
Life Passages is an officiant we have worked with. She was timely, professional, and really knowledgeable about the Sedona area.
FAVORITE LOCAL SPOTS
While in Sedona, here are a few things I enjoyed doing:
Sedonuts – Be sure to arrive early because they can run out
Sedona Crepes – I ate here twice!
I loved getting an acai bowl from Berry Divine and eating my breakfast at the Sedona Airport Scenic Lookout.
Tlaquepaque was such a fun place to spend the afternoon! They are an arts and shopping village filled with local food and art vendors. Note: If you want to take photos here you will need a permit.