Guide to Eloping to Joshua Tree

Congratulations! Deciding to elope is one of the best decisions you could have made! If you can't tell I am super passionate about eloping and love photographing them!

Joshua Tree is one of my favorite places to photograph elopements and it's a truly unique place to elope as well. So let's get down to the step-by-step guide on how to elope to Joshua Tree.

Fun Fact : Did you know that there are unique plants and animals that can only be found in Joshua tree

Permits and Fees

So you are interested in eloping to Joshua Tree!

For couples, you have to fill out the application and pay the $120 permit fee. This application must submit it at least 30 days prior to the date you want. Unlike other National Parks in California, the Special Use Permit for Joshua Tree does not cover your photographer or videographer.

Photographers will need a separate Photography Permit. The cost is $120.00 and you can find the application Here

Entrance Fees: Upon arriving at Joshua Tree National Park, you will be required to pay the park entrance fee. It’s $30 per vehicle so keep in mind that any guests arriving in separate vehicles will also have to pay (I always encourage carpooling when possible). The fee is valid for 7 days so definitely save your receipt if you plan on making multiple visits. 

Steps for your Elopement

Choose the best location that fits your vibe and vision for your day

Book your Joshua Tree elopement photographer (contact me for a FREE elopement consultation)

We’ll plan and talk about EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW from lodging to transportation and anything in-between to make your elopement the best day ever

Hire an officiant

Apply for a marriage license (Costs vary by county but it’s about $90 on average.) and any necessary permits for your elopement in Joshua Tree National Park

We’ll adventure around the location you chose, take in the natural beauty of the desert, create memories, and we’ll capture you guys enjoying it all

Pop some champagne and celebrate!!!

If you want to actually get married in Joshua Tree you will need an officiant to perform your ceremony and complete the marriage license paperwork to make things official.

You will also need at least one witness for your ceremony. This can be a guest, or your photographer if it will just be the two of you.

Another option you can consider, especially if you are traveling from a different state or country, is to have a legal ceremony at your local courthouse before you come to Joshua Tree for your elopement. This makes things a little more simple because you don’t have to worry about finding an officiant or doing any paperwork on the day of. You can relax, enjoy your day, have your dream desert ceremony, and celebrate with the person who matters most to you! Just because you don’t sign your marriage license on the same day you say your vows, doesn’t mean it will be any less special!

Tip: Elope during the cooler months such as Fall, Winter, or Early Spring 

Locations that allow micro weddings and elopements


Joshua Tree has certain locations around the park that are approved for your wedding ceremony. Most of these locations are suited for small weddings or elopements.

Here are the locations :

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 focal point in their ceremony.

Ceremony Location Rules: 25 people Max + 8 cars

Porcupine Wash

This is 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

Turkey Flats

This area has 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

Hidden Valley Picnic Area

This is one of the park’s most well-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

Split Rock

Split Rock is probably one of my favorite locations! It has a unique rock formation and elevation. This hike is about 2 miles long, and like most hikes in the park, is moderate.

Ceremony Location Rules: 15 people Max + 5 cars

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