Joshua Tree National Park is a warm, inviting outdoor elopement destination with incredible desert views. If you’re planning a Joshua Tree National Park ceremony but unsure where to begin, I’ve written an elopement planning pocket guide full of tips to help you plan a stress-free Joshua Tree elopement. 

A bride and groom smile at one another while eloping in Joshua Tree National Park

A man buttons his suit jacket before getting eloped in Joshua Tree

A bride poses with neutral wedding florals in Joshua Tree

A couple walks towards a desert mountain range in Joshua Tree National Park

All About Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most photographed National Parks in the United States. Located in California’s corner of the Mojave Desert, it’s home to its namesake, the Joshua Tree. The park spans over 1,200 square miles and offers a wide variety of sightseeing spots and adventurous activities. Just an hour from Palm Springs and nestled alongside Coachella Valley and Morongo Valley, Joshua Tree National Park is a popular elopement ceremony destination for couples who seek a desert chic-style ceremony with nearby modern-day luxuries.  

A bride and groom pose in wedding attire near Joshua Trees

A man kisses his wife in celebration of their California National Park elopement in the desert

A photo of Joshua Tree National Park

Best Time Of Year To Visit Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park is open year-round, with the peak season being March – May. From March-May, temperatures during the day are pleasant but drop in the evening. The best months to visit Joshua Tree are actually either October or February. Temperatures during these two months are still comfortable during the day but see minimal crowd levels. 

A man's back if facing his soon-to-be-wife before their first look

A woman kisses her husband during their adventure elopement in Joshua Tre

A bride kisses her groom during their desert elopement

Best Ceremony Locations In Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree has a wide variety of designated elopement and intimate wedding ceremony locations across the park, such as Indian Cove Amphitheater, Hidden Valley Picnic Area, and more. A $120 wedding application is required (with the possibility of additional fees) to secure a designated ceremony location. This application should be completed no more than 30 days before the desired ceremony date. We recommend applying as far in advance as possible, as Joshua Tree is a very popular elopement destination. 

After the ceremony, couples can explore other picturesque areas such as Boy Scout TrailArch RockJumbo Rock, and Key Views

An elopement tablescape is pictured beneath a Joshua Tree

A close up shot of a tablescape is pictured with Joshua Trees in the distance

A man and woman hold hands during their Joshua Tree elopement at Sunset

Best Accommodations Near Joshua Tree

Here are three of my favorite accommodations in and around Joshua Tree National Park.

Morongo Modern – Morongo Valley

A private, mid-century modern home that features a welcoming, warm interior with desert views. Morongo Modern is an intimate, elevated accommodation for couples wanting a romantic getaway outside Palm Springs and Joshua Tree.

Casa Cabin – Joshua Tree

A cozy desert cabin equipped with a fireplace, hot tub, fire pit, outdoor cold plunge cowboy bathtub, e-bikes, and more. Casa Cabin is a peaceful retreat for couples who want an immersive desert experience with modern comfort. 

AutoCamp – Joshua Tree

A unique, upscale glamping and boutique hotel with luxury amenities. AutoCamp is a relaxing stay for couples with stunning desert views in Joshua Tree.

A couple raises their hands in celebration of their wedding in Joshua Tree

Newlyweds cheers in celebration over their Joshua Tree elopement day

A bride and groom embrace for a kiss for their intimate desert wedding near Palm Springs

Activities In And Around Joshua Tree

  • Hiking 
  • Backpacking
  • Camping 
  • Stargazing
  • Rock Climbing
  • Palm Springs
  • Old Pioneer Town
  • Crochet Museum 
  • Joshua Tree Store 

A couple celebrates their Joshua Tree elopement with an intimate tablescaape reception

A man and woman are seating at a tablescape in Joshua Tree celebrating their marriage

A black and white photo of Joshua Trees in Joshua Tree National Park

Reservations, Entry Fees & Permits

Joshua Tree National Park does not require reservations in advance to enter the park. Upon arrival, you’ll be required to pay a $30 entrance fee per vehicle or present an annual pass.

A Special Use Park Permit and a photography permit are required to elope in Joshua Tree. Unfortunately, drone photography is not allowed. You can learn more about the cost and process of obtaining permits here. If you hire me as your elopement photographer, I will assist in obtaining all necessary permits for your elopement day!

Large wedding florals are seen in a desert landscape near Joshua Trees

A husband kisses his wife during their intimate elopement ceremony in the desert

A bride's husband holds her wedding florals during their Joshua Tree wedding ceremony

Newlyweds pose to showcase their neutral wedding attire and florals

Joshua Tree Elopement Tips

Tip #1: Fly Into Palm Springs International Airport

Palm Springs International Airport is a small, easy-to-navigate airport just an hour from Joshua Tree National Park. Twelve airlines, including popular choices like Delta, United, and Southwest, serve this airport, with many also offering direct flights into Palm Springs.

Tip #2: Rent A Car

If you plan on flying to California for your Joshua Tree elopement, renting a car is a must! Joshua Tree is in the desert, with Palm Springs being the closest major city to the National Park. If you’re flying into Palm Springs International Airport, rental car agencies are conveniently located on-site. Also, Turbo, a car rental app, is another great alternative for securing reliable and cost-efficient transportation. 

Tip #3: Explore Palm Springs 

While celebrating your Joshua Tree National Park elopement, visiting Palm Springs is a must! From world-class spas, golf courses, breweries, wineries, shopping, museums, accommodations, restaurants, and more, it’s the perfect honeymoon location to run away to after your Joshua Tree elopement.

Tip #4: Wear Layers

In its warmer months, Joshua Tree can see 100-degree days and 70-degree nights. Be prepared for the temperature changes by packing and wearing layers. 

Tip #5: Obtain Your Wedding License At Palm Desert County Clerk’s Office

Obtain your marriage license at the Palm Desert County Clerk’s Office. It’s the closest location to Joshua Tree, about 30 minutes from the National Park! The application fee is $100 and can be initiated online. To obtain the license, you must visit the Palm Desert County Clerk’s Office in person after scheduling an appointment. Be sure to attend the appointment together, and both bring a government-issued I.D. The license is valid for 90 days, and the ceremony must be conducted by a legally permitted officiant accompanied by an additional witness. 

A bride and groom kiss in the Sunlight at Joshua Tree National Park

A close up shot of bride and groom's wedding attire during their desert elopement

A man kisses his wife's neck after eloping in Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs, California

Let’s Plan A Joshua Tree Elopement!

If you’re ready to celebrate your love with a Joshua Tree elopement, I’m here to help bring your ceremony dreams to life! As your photographer, I’ll help make your special day as stress-free as possible. I assist couples with things like location scouting, permits, ceremony-day timelines, and more! You can check out my Joshua Tree elopement packages here, and tell me all about your vision for your special day by filling out my contact form!


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Hey there, I'm Reagan!

A destination wedding and elopement photographer based out of Colorado! You can usually find me with a hot cup of coffee in my hand, sporting some comfy tennis shoes, or in pursuit of my next big escape! 

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