Location Guides

Joshua Tree National Park Elopement Guide

Joshua Tree National park is probably one of the most unique and popular places to elope for couples. This desert landscape is covered in unique plants and animals. This place is also popular for its night skies and rich cultural history. It’s no wonder so many couples want to plan a Joshua Tree elopement in this Southern California park.

Since so many couples have reached out to us interested in eloping at this park, we thought it would be a great idea to talk about how to elope in Joshua Tree.

How to Elope in Joshua Tree

This is a long resource, so feel free to jump to the section you’re most interested in:

If you’re thinking about taking your engagement photos here, then we suggest checking out our Joshua Tree engagement photos inspiration. 

Permits and Rules For Joshua Tree Weddings

If you’re sure you want to elope in Joshua Tree, then you’re going to need the appropriate wedding permit. A special use permit is $120, and it’s required for all Joshua Tree wedding ceremonies. Your photographer needs a separate photo permit as well. If you end up not getting a permit, then you’ll get charged a $500 citation fine.  So definitely obtain those permits prior to your wedding day!

If you’re considering having a Joshua Tree elopement, then you need to know how eco-friendly this park is. A lot of wedding decor and other items are not permitted in the park including drones, dried flowers, non-battery candles, bubbles, any live animals (doves and birds for example), confetti, rice, birdseed, balloons, or smoke bombs.

“Leave No Trace is very important in Joshua Tree! Be sure to pack out what you bring in. Using faux or wood florals is a good idea in such a unique, protected ecosystem. It’s also a desert, so be sure to bring plenty of water!” [Allie, Photographer]

When to Elope in Joshua Tree National Park

It gets VERY hot in Joshua Tree during the summer. If you do plan your wedding day during the summer, you’ll also see way bigger crowds. We recommend eloping during cooler months in the Spring, Fall, and Winter. Our Wandering Wedding members also recommend sunrise or sunset elopements here. Joshua Tree elopements during these times are more comfortable in regards to weather and crowds, and the light during these times is stunning. Another recommendation to avoid crowds is to choose a weekday to elope. 

Where to Elope in Joshua Tree

Much like other parks such as Rocky Mountain, Joshua Tree has a selection of locations around the park that are approved for your wedding ceremony. Most of these locations are suited for small weddings or elopements. The only location that will accommodate 100 people would be the Indian Cove Amphitheater. Thus, Joshua Tree is perfect for couples who are looking for an intimate elopement experience

We love Joshua Tree because although each location is relatively similar containing panoramic views, desert landscapes, and rock formations, there is always something unique about each location.

Check out the following locations:

Hidden Valley Picnic Area

This is probably one of the park’s most known hikes. This one-mile trail will take you to a gorgeous valley filled with towering rocks. This is also a beautiful spot for sunset ceremonies.

Ceremony Location Rules: 35 people Max + 8 cars 

Turkey Flats

With a view of Pinto Mountain, this desert plain is wide, sandy, and covered with bushes and grass. This trail is just a little over 2 miles.

Ceremony Location Rules: 35 people Max + 8 cars 

Split Rock

Split Rock is probably one of our favorite locations for your ceremony for the unique rock formations and elevation. This hike is about 2 miles long, and like most hikes in the park, are pretty moderate.

Ceremony Location Rules: 15 people Max + 5 cars

Porcupine Wash

This is probably one of the longest trails in the park. This over 8-mile trail is filled with beautiful wildflowers and so many rock formations.

Ceremony Location Rules: 12 people Max + 4 cars 

Cap Rock

Cap Rock is the shortest trail with some of the most gorgeous views. Under a mile long, you will appreciate huge rock formations and unique desert shrubs. We love these areas for couples who are looking to have rock formations as the main focal point in their ceremony.

Ceremony Location Rules: 25 people Max + 8 cars 

For a full list of wedding ceremony locations located at Joshua Tree head to their website.Keep in mind that you can also take photos at different locations around the park. We recommend getting together with one of our photographers who has experience at Joshua Tree. They’ll also know the best-hidden spots no one really talks about.

Where to Stay for Your Elopement

One of the best things about planning a Joshua Tree Elopement is the amazing Airbnb’s that are in the area. Please keep in mind, however, these Airbnb venues do book up fast, so we recommend booking fast!

Our members also love AirnBnbs in the area because it’s a great opportunity to get cool getting ready photos or just to stargaze together at the end of the day.

Check out our favorite Airbnbs near Joshua Tree:

High Desert Paradise-Yucca Valley, California

10 guests3 bedrooms5 beds3.5 baths

Book This Airbnb For Your Joshua Tree Elopement

The Stargazer Retreat, Joshua Tree, California

6 guests3 bedrooms3 beds1 bath

Book This Airbnb For Your Joshua Tree Elopement


Looking for more cool Airbnbs for your wedding? Check out our list of Airbnb venues.


Joshua Tree Elopement Vendors

Whether you’re looking for a photographer or videographer who specializes in Joshua Tree elopements, our Wandering Weddings members have your back. These professionals are ideal to help you plan and help you bring your elopement vision to life. 

Explore our featured elopement vendors below to build your Joshua Tree elopement package:

Still not sure where to start your elopement planning? Check out our 7 step guide on how to elope

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