How to Elope in Death Valley - Karen Agurto Photography

How to Elope in Death Valley

How to Elope in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is one of those places you don’t easily forget. It is one of the most unique and interesting places for an elopement adventure. The scenic views, the unique, one-of-a-kind landmarks and sights, the multitude of hikes to take and routes to drive and things to explore make this one of my personal favorites. Death Valley National Park straddles Nevada and Eastern California. It is the lowest, hottest, and driest National Park, and it has some of the most unique landmarks and views. You can’t go wrong exchanging your vows in this desert. Read on to learn how to elope in Death Valley National Park.

Artist’s Palette

How to Get There:

Driving to Death Valley National Park is a breeze. Take CA Highway 190 if traveling east to west, or North Highway or Badwater Road if traveling north to south. If you’re heading from Las Vegas, the fastest route is through Pahrump, Nevada. You’ll want a car since there is no public transportation within the park at this time. If you’re flying in, the closest airport is the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. 

Places to Visit:

There is no shortage of great views in Death Valley. If you are looking for fun things to explore with your significant other on your elopement day, there are so many options to choose from. Zabriskie Point is a classic stop for a beautiful view of the badlands, and Dante’s View, as well as Badwater Basin are other great options for someone looking to explore the popular, more touristy areas of the park. The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells is also a beautiful place, and the Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette are iconic. These would all make wonderful spots for a photo session. Devil’s golf course is another good option for someone who is looking for a unique exploration experience, as well as The Racetrack. Because there are so many options for exploring in Death Valley National Park, it is crucial to plan your day according to what you want to see and do while you are there. Be sure to do your research and account for the enormousness of the park, and plan your trip accordingly. 

Zabriskie Point

Permits/Fees for an Elopement Wedding:

It is important to keep in mind that if you are planning to have an elopement wedding ceremony within the park, you will need to obtain a special use permit before getting married there, since it is such a remote location. It is important to contact the park and check the permit website for any price updates, but currently the fee is $300. Processing your application will take between 30-60 days and urgent requests cannot be accommodated. If your plans will not include a ceremony and only involve wedding portraits, your photographer will need a still photography permit that is currently $300. The website states application processing takes 30-60 days. In addition, the park collects fees depending on how many people will be accompanying you:

  • 1–10 people – $50/day
  • 11–30 people – $150/day
  • Over 30 people – $250/day

There is a $30 entrance fee per vehicle that allows you re-enter the park as many times as you’d like within a 7-day period.

Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes


If you are looking for a place to stay while you are in the area, there are several great places to choose from. Since Death Valley is so big (3.4 million acres), there are multiple locations within the park you can pay to sleep. Because of this, it is crucial to be mindful of the location of the lodging, and account for driving distance, and what you would like to see around that area. The Inn at Death Valley is open all year round, as well as The Ranch at Death Valley. Panamint Springs resort is open year round as well and it is a fun option for someone looking for a more private and luxurious experience. If you are looking to stay outside of the park, there is ample lodging in the towns of Beatty and Pahrump, Nevada, as well as in Las Vegas. There is also lodging available in Lone Pine, Ridgecrest, and Bishop California, on the east side of the park. You can also find cute Airbnb tiny homes around the area. Here are a couple to get you started:

Tiny house with meditation pyramid at Death Valley

Unique Loft at Desert Ridge

Death Valley has a bunch of camping options for their guests as well. There are several campgrounds throughout the park that are open at different times of year that are a great option for someone who enjoys a more rustic experience, or does not want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on lodging.

Zabriskie Point
Artist’s Palette

View featured Death Valley Elopement Weddings here:

A + M

Death Valley Elopement Wedding: Mesquite Flats and Zabriskie Point

I’m Karen, a California elopement photographer who empowers couples to create memories that will last a lifetime. I am dedicated to providing the tools you need to push the boundaries of tradition and create an unforgettable experience. 

I help all couples worldwide by providing personalized location lists, planning resources, vendor recommendations, permits, timeline-curation, and much more to curate elopement days that will be cherished forever.

here's to co-creating an unforgettable elopement experience


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