February 3, 2023
Want to elope in Death Valley National Park? I gotchu. Below is a comprehensive guide I’ve created on how to plan an elopement in Death Valley National Park. I am obsessed with this place!!! The landscape is truly out of this world. Death Valley National Park is a great place to elope if you love the desert, are looking for epic landscapes, and want to be close to Las Vegas. Out of all the national parks in the country, Death Valley National Park is the hottest, lowest, and driest. It’s an extreme place. I’m a sucker for a good analogy and metaphor. Why not get married in a place that feels as extreme as your love? As Mulan’s crew declares (90’s baby ftw), 🎶 let’s get down to business! 🎶
The best times to elope in Death Valley National Park are in the winter and fall. I’m not being dramatic when I say that if you go to Death Valley in the summer, you might die. Death Valley is one of the hottest places on earth. So for that reason, I highly recommend eloping within those two seasons. If you’re looking to see the wildflowers in Death Valley they often times can be seen from mid-February to mid-May. January can be an ideal time to go because it’s after the holidays and there tends to be less tourists around like there are in the later months.
Since Death Valley National Park is a national park, it’s required that you buy a park pass. For 7 days it costs $30 per vehicle. Personally, I’d suggest getting the annual pass for only $22 more. Then you can go and adventure to other national parks across the country! One thing about Death Valley is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. I cannot reiterate this enough. When you head to Death Valley National Park, download offline maps. There is absolutely NO service there. So prepare yourself for no service and lots of empty roads. Many couples plan to come head to Death Valley via Las Vegas. It’s easy to fly into Harry Reid International Airport and rent a car. After that, it’s a 2-hour drive from The Strip. If you’re coming from LA, it’s a 5-hour drive. If you’re coming from San Diego, it’s a 5 ½ hour drive.
If you’re wondering where one of the best places to elope in Death Valley is, look no further than Zabriskie Point. It’s an easily accessible location with bathrooms and a parking lot. A short paved hike to the top of the viewpoint looks over some otherworldly rocks. You can either walk down beyond the viewpoint and exchange vows amongst the wild colors or you can hike down further and wander among the canyons. Zabriskie Viewpoint does tend to get busy with passersby so I would recommend eloping here on a weekday.
Artists Palette is an EPIC location. Rocks with different colors like red, orange, yellow, blue, pink, and green are what give this location its name. It’s a magical place thanks to the volcanic deposits rich in iron oxides and chlorite. The best time to get photos here is during the blue hour (right after the sun goes down). Artist’s Palette is another popular destination to go to. This location and Zabriskie Point are 20 minutes from each other so it’s pretty easy to visit both during your elopement.
These Sand Dunes are a great place to adventure for your elopement. Play in the sand, climb the dunes, and revel in the diverse beauty of Death Valley National Park.
If you don’t want to elope below sea level, take a drive to Dantes View. This area of the park lies on the Black Ridge Mountains and overlooks the white salt flats below. Dante’s View is an amazing destination for photos during sunrise and sunset and is only a 45-minute drive from Furnace Creek.
Salt Flats are awe-inspiring and vast. All that negative space is a photographer’s dream! It’s considered the lowest point in America. There’s an easily accessible parking lot (although it tends to fill up pretty fast). It’s worth it to walk around and explore the area outside of the boardwalk and initial stopping point.
Camping is a great way to spend your time in Death Valley National Park. You can check out a few different campsites further down in this blog. If you don’t want to camp then your best bet is to stay at the Inn in Death Valley or The Ranch at Death Valley. Another option for lodging is staying in the closest town to Death Valley National Park which is Pahrump. Want a taste of van life? There’s always the opportunity to rent a camper van. Escape Camper Vans is a popular company to go through.
Camping is a great activity in Death Valley National Park. There is a handful of campgrounds around the park to stay at:
Another popular activity in Death Valley is hiking and I highly suggest hiking when you’re figuring out how to plan an elopement in Death Valley National Park. Here are a few popular hikes below:
What else can you do? Drive drive drive! Death Valley National Park has over 3 millon acres and is great for exploring in a car. There are numerous backroads to wander down and plenty of locations/landscapes to stop at and admire.
At night, Death Valley National Park heralds some of the best stargazing in the country. Since it’s in the middle of nowhere, there is very little light pollution. Without a doubt, it’s ideal to get some astro-shots of you two on your elopement day.
There are a few ways to make your marriage official. Some couples often opt for a completely stress-free elopement and obtain their marriage license in their hometown. Furthermore, this option is the most laid-back one and gives you zero pressure to get it all done while you’re in Vegas/Death Valley. Your marriage would be just as real when you say your vows in Death Valley as it would be when you sign your license at home. This works nicely for people who don’t want an officiant.
If you do want your marriage license to come from Death Valley, you’ll need to head to the closest county clerk’s office in Inyo County. You must make an appointment and go in person. The fee is $52, and they accept cash, money order, and check only. You can check more info out on the Inyo County Website.
The best thing about Death Valley is being so close to Vegas. It’s a quick 2-hour drive from the Strip. Get your fix of the desert and end the night eating pizza, getting newlywed tattoos, eating at a world-famous restaurant, and of course, gambling. It’s a great way to finish off your adventures in the desert by getting a total juxtaposition of city lights and bustling streets.
My Death Valley packages start at $4,300 and include:
Our first experience working with Alisha was on an elopement styled shoot. I knew from that day on she was going to be the photographer to capture our wedding day. Alisha said "yes" to absolutely every crazy idea and vision I had for our wedding day. She literally hiked miles and woke up before the sun to make it happen. Alisha is completely in her element when photographing, she knows how direct a shoot without being bossy, she captures every angle without being in the way and doesn't make you feel like you're even behind the camera. Alisha pours her entire self into every shoot she does, she doesn't stop until everything is perfect. It put me at ease knowing Alisha was paying such close attention to detail when it came to the location scouting and capturing every single photo imaginable. Working with Alisha was a breeze, she's communicative, fast and detail oriented. Not to mention, an incredible photographer. We were blown away when we got our wedding gallery within a month of our wedding, with over 700 beautiful photos. Our families cried happy tears all over again reliving those memories. If you're wondering, "is it worth it?" The answer is 100% ABSOLUTELY yes, hire Alisha, you won't regret it.
— Katie & Kevin
My husband and I decided to elope after feeling a little overwhelmed with the idea of planning a wedding. , Alisha pitched a lot of ideas based on what we were imagining and they were so killer so it was so hard to pick. She can really zero in on what a couple is all about and plan from there. And all her ideas were incredibly creative and original. On the day of our elopement we were so relaxed. Alisha picked out all the locations including our vow ceremony spot which was beautiful, private and romantic. We literally laughed the whole time and kept repeating "I'm so happy we did this." After the desert ceremony in Death Valley she drove to Vegas with us, waited for us to change into our cool Vegas attire, and carted us all over the strip and downtown to take more fun photos. The photography is beyond remarkable. I mean COME ON. I've never seen more beautiful photos in my entire life. We're so happy to have them to enjoy forever, so so SO worth it. She really puts her heart and soul into this. It actually makes me tear up...We love you Alisha.
— HEATHER & COLIN
Choosing Alisha for our elopement photographer was the absolute best decision we could have made. Bryan and I had a pretty short timeline of only a few weeks until our wedding day so I was not sure if Alisha could make it work, but she went out of her way to travel and make all of the behind the scenes arrangements in advance. She made everything so easy for us leading up to the day helping with park permits, scouting out photo locations, making vendor recommendations, and suggesting fun ideas for the day. As two people who do not feel natural in front of a camera, she made us laugh, have fun, and get out of our shells in a way we could not have expected. From start to finish, our experience with Alisha was so genuine and natural. She is just a joy and a light to be around. On top of that, we were truly blown away when we received our wedding photo gallery. You can feel the emotion, beauty, and love in every single image. Because she took the time to get to know us on a personal level and really understand us as a couple leading up to the wedding, the photos showcase who we are in a real and honest way, and I do not think any other photographer would have been able to do that for us.
— MIRANDA & BRYAN
We absolutely love Alisha! She gave us the best photos EVER! She planned everything to the smallest detail. It was so easy and she made sure we had everything we were looking for. My husband and I even flew back to get wedding photos done! Alisha braved the cold winter for us. We are so thankful to have memories in the best photos ever. I can’t say enough about her. Not only is she an AMAZING photographer but such a good person! We will definitely be having plenty more sessions in our lifetime :)
— danielle & Xavier
My fiancé and I could not feel more fortunate to have crossed paths with Alisha while searching for a photographer for our engagement shoot. Let me tell you, this girl is a GEM. I talked to at least 50 photographers during my search and Alisha is the only one that I felt truly cared about what we wanted. We met up at sunrise on the day of our shoot and I can truly say that it was a flawless experience! My fiancé and I were exhausted and nervous, but immediately upon meeting Alisha, we felt comfortable and excited. Her positive energy is contagious. I tend to be awkward and never know what to do with my hands, but she was so patient and guided us every step of the way, giving us prompts and making us laugh the entire time. It felt like we were leaving the shoot with a new friend. WE ARE OBSESSED WITH OUR PHOTOS. In short, Alisha 10000000% exceeded my very high expectations. She’s incredibly talented, creative, caring and personable. You can tell she has a huge heart and is passionate about what she does.
— LAUREN & NIK
Alisha is the consummate photographer that you want capturing your special day. We used her (twice!) for engagement photos and she was the first we asked to be our wedding photographer. From the moment we engaged her for the big day, she was all about us. From a welcome care package that frankly knew us almost better than we knew us, to her wedding guides, assistance in finding other vendors, and of course her amazing skill behind the camera Alisha was the perfect choice for our wedding photography. On the day of the big event she took great photos and had creative ideas for shoots in and around the venue. She’s given us keepsakes that we are thrilled to treasure forever and proud to frame and hang on the wall. Book her now.
— COLTON & YVETTE
Where do I even start!? Alisha was an absolute dream to work with!!! She was so flexible with us and our last-minute cancellation due to covid. We had originally planned to meet her in Vegas for our anniversary shoot in March and we ended up canceling our trip a week out due to the virus. She was so understanding and even offered to refund our deposit. We knew we still absolutely wanted to shoot with her so we scheduled another trip to Colorado this time and she met us there for an amazing sunrise shoot at Great Sand Dunes Natl Park. The whole experience was incredible and Alisha was so amazing and personable, we felt like we had left and made a new friend! She sent us sooo many sneak peeks just a few days after the shoot and Then probably 100 more photos a few weeks later. They were absolutely stunning. She is easily one of the best humans I’ve ever met and not to mention an extremely talented photographer with a clear passion for her clients and her work! We can’t wait to shoot with her again!
— MIA & FERMIN
I have never done a couples shoot but I fell in love with Alisha's work on social media. I was beyond ecstatic when I found out she was traveling to Minnesota. Where do I begin? From the moment I spoke with Alisha, she easily made me feel comfortable and confident. She responded back to my questions and concerns within a timely manner and was easily accessible. Her talent and passion for photography is truly admirable! It’s so evident that she genuinely cares about each and every couple that she works with. Alisha has a gift for detail and seeing things differently than everyone else. She took some breathtaking pictures that will always have a special place in my heart! Alisha doesn't just take photographs, she creates beautiful works of art that don’t just capture smiles but our souls, and to be a part of her art is an absolute honor. Not only is her work stunning, but she is a great person to be around. She is professional, patient and outgoing and I cannot wait to book with her again! Thanks for the memories, laughs and for creating such an enjoyable experience.
— Miriam & Jaime
Alisha was super professional and friendly throughout the entire process of our engagement shoot. I was super indecisive on where to have our shoot and she gave me multiple choices. She even went to the spot before hand to scope it out for us. My fiancé hates getting pictures taken but he loved natural and fun our experience was. Alisha made us our own playlist to listen to throughout the shoot which made both of us feel super comfortable. We ended having our shoot in Breckenridge and made a weekend out of it. Honestly, one of the most rememberable and amazing weekends we could ask for. Alisha communicated with us throughout everything and was SO fast getting our sneak peak photos and album to us. She even sent us a little gift that we appreciated SO SO much. I would highly recommend Alisha for any photography session whether its an adventure shoot or a wedding. She made everything perfect! 10/10 recommend :)
— GRACE & JAKE