EPIC Northern Arizona Adventures for a Grand Canyon Wedding

Planning a Grand Canyon wedding comes with plenty of adventures to be found before and after the ceremony. Northern Arizona is bursting with unique places to visit, from the lap of high-desert luxury to some of the hardest hikes in the country. 

We put together this general overview to help you explore some of these options. Our team has spent years exploring this region and can help with excursions, tours, or just general guidance and insider tips. 

Throughout this list, we’ll highlight some of the regions and things to do within those areas of Northern Arizona, figuring in a wide variety of options for different ages and interests.

Wedding couple standing on a ledge of the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a stunning place for a wedding, but Northern Arizona is filled with many other beautiful adventures.

The Parts of the Grand Canyon

Our Grand Canyon wedding services include six of the best points on the South Rim, but it also helps to understand that not all of the Grand Canyon is Grand Canyon National Park. Let’s quickly breakdown the Arizona Grand Canyon regions.

Grand Canyon National Park

The national park includes entrances at the South Rim and North Rim. It is not feasible to travel between the two rims in a day. The two are about 200 miles apart, which will take about four hours to drive. 

At the same time, the North Rim only sees a fraction of the tourists that the South Rim does, and it stands 1,000 feet taller. If anyone in your group is considering a rim-to-rim hike during the week of your wedding, starting at the North Rim is ideal. 

Keep in mind that the North Rim services close from October 15 through May 15 due to winter weather. After December 1, the road to the North Rim closes to vehicles. 

Shoshone Point in Grand Canyon National Park
Shoshone Point in Grand Canyon National Park is one of the approved locations for a Grand Canyon wedding.

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

It’s important to note that Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is west of Grand Canyon National Park, covering almost as much space. The National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management co-manage this location, which is only accessible through St. George, Utah.

Named, in part, after the Parashant Gorge, this monument is vast, remote, and rugged, with four wilderness areas. No paved roads, amenities, or mobile service is found there. This is not a place to visit without extensive wilderness experience. 

Grand Canyon Parashant Arizona Adventures
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

Grand Canyon West

On the western side of the canyon, land owned by the Hualapai Tribe offers excursions on the river, hiking, helicopter rides, and ziplining. This is also where the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk is located, a curved walkway that juts out 70 feet over the rim.

It’s important to note that the drive to Grand Canyon West takes about four hours. Basic admission for the Skywalk and entrance costs about $70. 

THE ARIZONA STRIP: The area known as the Arizona Strip is the remote and rugged section of Arizona north of the Colorado River, served by various federal and state land management agencies.

picture of the Grand Canyon West skywalk
Grand Canyon West Skywalk is on tribal land 240 miles away from Grand Canyon National Park.

MORE: Weddings at Grand Canyon West vs. Grand Canyon National Park


National Forests

Two national forests in Northern Arizona offer more adventures in the wilderness. Kaibab National Forest is split into two parts, separated by Grand Canyon National Park. 

The area surrounding Flagstaff and Sedona is part of Coconino National Forest, with three districts covering nearly two million acres. 

Peak baggers should know the highest summit in Arizona is in Coconino National Forest. Humphreys Peak is 12,633 feet high. On the other hand, you can also head underground to the Lava River Cave, a former molten lava tube.

Kaibab National Forest Northern Arizona Adventures
Kanab Creek Wilderness in Kaibab National Forest.
(Courtesy: U.S. Forest Service, Southwestern Region, Kaibab National Forest)

The Painted Desert

Those looking for the Painted Desert of Arizona should look east/northeast. The best way to see it is by driving through Petrified Forest National Park. Keep in mind that the park is not open 24/7 to protect the precious resources inside that were too often subject to vandalism or theft. 

Petrified Forest is about three hours from the Grand Canyon South Rim on the way to New Mexico. A drive there takes you through the charming towns of Holbrook and “Standing On a Corner In” Winslow, Arizona. 

In between Flagstaff and Winslow, an out-of-this-world attraction takes guests to the edge of a mile-wide crater. Meteor Crater is more than 50,000 years old, and the Barringer Space Museum details how astronauts trained here to walk on the moon. Sunset Crater, just north of Flagstaff, is the volcanic kind that changed the landscape a thousand years ago. 

DID YOU KNOW? 2026 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Mother Road, Route 66, and a huge centennial celebration is being planned at locations along the way. 

Northern Arizona Adventures Painted Desert
The Northern Arizona Painted Desert is seen in Petrified Forest National Park. (Courtesy: NPS/Stuart Holmes)

Page, Arizona Things to Do

About two and a half hours northeast of the Grand Canyon, Page is surrounded by its own natural treasures near the Utah state line. The place might look familiar as several locations were used in blockbuster films.

The largest natural attraction near Page is Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a much easier way to enjoy the Colorado River than you find in the Grand Canyon. Horseshoe Bend, where the river curves into a horseshoe shape, is one of the top photo ops in Northern Arizona. Glen Canyon Dam is also a sight to behold.

Antelope Canyon stuns with swirling slot canyons and colorful combinations of desert rock. This amazing site is at Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park, south of the river and lake just east of Page. Only guided tours are allowed in the slot canyons. Stargazing tours are also offered.

If you’re considering a visit to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, please note the distance and remote location. Plus, access is through the recreation area, but the monument is on tribal land. 

Those who want to explore the wilderness in more solitude can check out Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, which has colorful sandstone formations you can’t find in the Grand Canyon. Enter the lottery if you want to see The Wave, as only a limited number of people are allowed daily.

Reflection Canyon at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, one of the best things to do in Northern Arizona.
Reflection Canyon at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. (NPS Photo)

Williams

About an hour south of Grand Canyon Village, Williams is a nostalgic trip back in time. As one of the stops on Route 66 before I-40 was extended, plenty of original Mother Road locations are preserved and open to explore. 

Williams is also where the Grand Canyon Railway starts, a scenic ride that started in 1901. 

Other places to consider in Williams include: 

Grand Canyon Railway Northern Arizona Adventures
We can help plan an excursion on the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Flagstaff

Flagstaff sits around 7,000 feet above sea level and offers a robust four seasons of fun. Downtown Flagstaff mixes modern amenities with historical attractions and trendy nightlife. Plus, get your kicks on Route 66 locations in Flagstaff.

As the first International Dark Sky City, you’ll notice the steps taken to dim the bright lights of the big city. Get a close look at the stars from Lowell Observatory

Snowbowl sounds like it’s just for skiing, but get ready for year-round fun. Plus, the ski season in 2024 went into June! Summer includes sky rides to see the tallest peaks in the state.

Here are some of our other favorite stops in Flagstaff.

Humphreys Peak near Flagstaff, Arizona, under the night sky.
The highest point in Arizona is Humphreys Peak, just outside of Flagstaff. (Photo/U.S. Forest Service Coconino National Forest.)

Sedona 

Between Flagstaff and Phoenix, off winding roads, Sedona is a magical place waiting to be explored. It’s known as much for its natural beauty as its luxurious amenities and vortex energy centers. 

Sedona’s vibe is a unique blend of natural beauty, spiritual energy, artistic creativity, and a laid-back, welcoming atmosphere, attracting those seeking outdoor adventures, healing experiences, and inspiration. 

WHAT IS A VORTEX? The Sedona vortices are believed to be powerful energy centers where the earth’s energy is said to enhance meditation, healing, and spiritual experiences.

The four vortex centers are: 

  1. Airport Mesa 
  2. Cathedral Rock
  3. Bell Rock
  4. Boynton Canyon

Another romantic and spiritual stop in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built into the red rock formations, this architectural marvel offers a serene place for reflection and panoramic views of Sedona’s landscape.

The Sedona Museum offers a great walk-through of time to see how a remote region became a sanctity of escape and relaxation.


Explore Outdoors

Surrounded by the beauty of red rocks, canyons, and challenging climbs, there’s a path for everyone in Sedona. Various tours are available, from jeeps to walking adventures. Explore on your own by renting a bike, off-road vehicle or ATV. 

  • Oak Creek Canyon: Often referred to as a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon is a scenic gorge with lush vegetation, crystal-clear streams, and numerous trails. 
  • Slide Rock State Park: Located in Oak Creek Canyon, this state park is named for its natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek. 
  • Red Rock State Park: A 286-acre nature preserve offering hiking trails, bird watching, and stunning views of Sedona’s red rock formations. 
  • Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park: A serene spiritual site featuring a 36-foot stupa, meditation areas, and scenic trails, inviting visitors for reflection and healing.
A couple relaxing on a hammock with Sedona mountain views in the distance, one of the best things to do in Northern Arizona.
(Courtesy: Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau)

Art Vibes

Whether you’re browning or buying, Sedona’s art collections could easily fill an entire day. Enjoy funky creations, fine art, or exquisite jewelry.

  • Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village: Designed to resemble a traditional Mexican village, this charming shopping area has galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
  • Sedona Arts Center: Rotating exhibits and monthly events showcase Sedona’s creativity.
  • Sedona Artist Market: Explore some of the unique and creative artworks, from paintings to pottery to jewelry.
  • Exposures Fine Art: A must-see for art lovers as this studio has won numerous awards, including one of the bets things to do in Sedona.

Spa Services

One of the best spa cities in Northern Arizona, and the Southwest for that matter, is Sedona. Some resorts have spas on-site, while day spas dot the city layout. When you need to relax, recenter, and recharge, there’s no place quite like Sedona.

Red Rock Ridges Sedona Bear Mountain Northern Arizona Adventures
The Red Rock Ridges near Sedona in Coconino National Forest is one of many outdoor places to explore in Coconino National Forest’s Red Rock Ranger District. (Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest)

Map of Northern Arizona Adventures


Adventures in Northern Arizona

While you’re in this part of the state, it makes sense to explore as much as you can. We can help plan tours, excursions, or hikes, and we even give guidance for the best sunrise and sunset spots or the best breakfast cafes.  

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EPIC Northern Arizona Adventures for a Grand Canyon Wedding
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EPIC Northern Arizona Adventures for a Grand Canyon Wedding
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Planning a wedding at the Grand Canyon offers additional adventure opportunities in Northern Arizona, from high-desert luxury to challenging hikes. This region, with diverse attractions like national parks, monuments, forests, and charming towns, presents various activities for different ages and interests, ensuring a memorable celebration and exploration experience.
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Grand Canyon Wedding Packages
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