Cathedral Rock closed? Here are other elopement spots in Sedona

Couples love eloping at Cathedral Rock Trail because of the iconic red rocks and timeless Southwest views, but what do you do when you find Cathedral Rock closed?

The Coconino National Forest often closes the Cathedral Rock trail for maintenance, but it often doesn’t stay closed for long. Sometimes they only close the top portion or during peak hours, so there can be ways to navigate around the closures. But for full closures, Sedona has many beautiful, lesser-known locations like Doe Mountain, Boynton Canyon, Sugarloaf, and Courthouse Vista.

Keep reading to learn more about the closures at Cathedral Rock and where you can find timeless elopement and engagement locations outdoors.

Check out this full guide for more information on how to tackle one of Sedona’s most popular spots!

lesbian couple eloping in sedona

Why is Cathedral Rock closed?

Most recently, the Coconino National Forest’s Red Rock Ranger District closed Cathedral Rock Trail to conduct trail maintenance. However, due to nearly constant influx of hikers, Cathedral Rock is often closed for maintenance.

The Red Rock Ranger District has the power to close it down for multiple reasons to protect this wonderful location. The official February closure order includes all the details and a map of the closed sections. In 2024, the trail will be closed from February 28 through April 14, or until the work is completed.

People will find Cathedral Rock closed starting at the junction with the Templeton Trail. From there, the closure extends until the end of the trail. The closure blocks off the second half of the trail. Anyone who wants a shot of Cathedral Rock in the distant background will likely still be able to get their photo.

Closures can occur on any trail at anytime throughout Sedona, so it’s important to find alternatives.

eloping couple at doe mountain

Doe Mountain Trail

When we say there are many trails beside Cathedral Rock, we mean it.

One of our favorites for less-experienced hikers is Doe Mountain. Our clients love this out-and-back trail with views of Fay Canyon and Bear Mountain. Clients love the short length and slight elevation gain. The view will suit any couple looking for dramatic views and a fun adventure.

Some quick facts about Doe Mountain Trail:

  • 1.5 miles long
  • 511 elevation gain
  • An out-and-back trail

During the winter, take your time on your ascent. Also, remember to pack plenty of water and wear appropriate shoes.

asian couple eloping in sedona

Courthouse Vista Trail

Courthouse Vista Trail offers some of the best red rock sunset views in Sedona. 

Hikers will find the trail longer than Doe Mountain Trail but with even less incline. The area provides multiple cut-offs with great views of the surrounding area (including a peak at the nearby Cathedral Rock.) Here are some quick facts:

  • 3.9 miles long
  • 357 feet elevation gain
  • Loop trail

The trail is open to hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking, so be respectful and aware of other people.

lesbian couple in sedona

Sugarloaf Loop Trail

With great views of Thunder Mountain and the city, Sugarloaf Loop Trail has a close-to-town open wilderness.

Sugarloaf Loop Trail offers a panoramic view and can even turn into a longer hike to Sugar Loaf Summit. With ample wildlife, red rocks, and a smaller parking lot, you can expect fewer people on this trail. Here are some quick facts:

  • 1.9 miles long
  • 354 elevation gain
  • Loop trail

The mix of city and wilderness here provides the best of both worlds for your elopement or engagement photos.

engagement photos at bonyton canyon

Boynton Vortex Trail

Boynton trail features an iconic Sedona vortex.

The trail is a bit more challenging for elopements, but experienced hikers will love it. Lucky hikers can find a lone flute player serenading the surrounding canyon wilderness from ontop of a tall red-rock spire. The spire is known locally as Kachina Woman.

  • 6.1 miles long
  • 826 elevation gain
  • Out and back trail

Oh, and be sure to keep an eye out for a man who hands out heart rocks to passersby!

wedding photos at doe mountain

Things to remember when hiking in Sedona

We love going outside here at White Desert Photography, but everyone should be responsible in the outdoors. So remember:

  • Only take out what you brought in — Pack your trash out with you and leave anything you find — rocks, sticks, sand — behind on the trail.
  • Hike safely — During winter and spring, hikers find snow, ice, or mud on the trail. Be sure to wear the proper footwear to traverse safely through Sedona.
  • Bring water, snacks, and a charged phone — Hikers easily get lost in the crisscrossing paths throughout Sedona’s wilderness. Bringing these items can help you if you find yourself in need of help.

If you need a photographer to join you on your journey, inquire today! White Desert Photography would be happy to join.

Victoria Nabours, a Northern Arizona local, founded White Desert Photography in 2018. Since then, the company has bloomed into one of the most in-demand wedding, elopement and engagement photography companies in Sedona. Additionally, her years of expertise has taken her to international wedding destinations and attracted the eye of local and bridal magazines.

Check out her photo galleries, elopement and wedding packages, and inquire today!

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Arianne & Eric

“My husband and I planned a small elopement in Sedona. I found Victoria on Instagram and loved her style. We went through the planning process without a wedding planner which proved to be difficult. Victoria was so helpful in making suggestions and pointing us into the right direction, even though I know she really didn’t have to do that as our photographer. On the day of the wedding, she was prompt in arrival and swift in ensuring that she captured everything. In our evening shoot, we went to 2 locations but looking at our pictures it appears that we went to at least 20. She has an amazing eye for photography and truly captured the spirit of our relationship. The quality is excellent and we could not be happier with how our photos turned out. Victoria is a gem. If you are looking for a down to earth and talented photography, choose White Desert Photography!”

If you are looking for a down to earth and talented photography, choose White Desert Photography!

Karina & Zach

“Totally WORTH IT! Highly recommend!

Victoria is amazing behind the camera. I am usually really camera shy but I was so comfortable. It literally felt like a DREAM! We enjoyed each breath taking moment!”

It literally felt like a DREAM! We enjoyed each breath taking moment!

Izza & Reenan 

“Our wedding was originally March 2020 and she was so great during that difficult time of unexpected rescheduling. When we finally met 2 years after our first email exchange she made us feel so comfortable and at ease.

We would 100% recommend her to anyone and would be thrilled to have her take our photos again.”

We would 100% recommend her to anyone and would be thrilled to have her take our photos again.

Sarah & Aaron

“We hired her for our engagements, bridals and wedding day and we absolutely LOVED having her to capture these special moments. Victoria, is personable yet professional, and by the end of these shoots we felt she was a dear friend.”

by the end of these shoots we felt she was a dear friend.