Joshua Tree Photographer

Joshua Tree is an absolutely stunning desert oasis is filled with rare plants, majestic rock formations, and breathtaking views. Whether you're a nature-lover or an adventurer, Joshua Tree is the perfect destination for your special day. In this blog post, we'll explore what it takes to elope in Joshua Tree, from when to go to what permits you need!

Be Ready for Unpredictable Weather Conditions 

The desert climate means that there can be drastic changes in temperature in a very short time frame. In the summer months, temperatures can reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speeds can reach up to 30 mph. Be sure to plan accordingly—have shade available or plan your ceremony at one of the cooler times of day, like morning or early evening. Make sure that your bridal party is dressed appropriately and consider having umbrellas on hand in case of unexpected rain showers. 

Plan Ahead for Windy Days 

Winds can be higher than normal, even during calm days at Joshua Tree National Park. This can cause dust storms and other issues when hosting an outdoor wedding ceremony. Prepare ahead by making sure all decorations, tablecloths, and napkins are properly weighted down so they don't blow away with strong gusts of wind. You may also want to consider having someone on hand to ensure that all decorations stay safely secured throughout the day.

What Time of Year Should You Go?

The best time of year to elope in Joshua Tree depends on the type of experience you are looking for. If you want warmer temperatures and softer sunlight, plan your elopement between April and October. During these months, daytime temperatures range from 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit (21-32 degrees Celsius). On the other hand, if you prefer cooler temperatures and a more dramatic landscape, plan your wedding between November and March. Temperatures during this time range from 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit (7-21 degrees Celsius). Of course, if you want snowfall or cooler temperatures without risking rain showers, January and February are ideal months for an elopement.

Best Locations Within the Park?

 Ryan Mountain Trailhead is one of the most popular locations within Joshua Tree National Park for couples who want to tie the knot outdoors surrounded by stunning desert landscapes and majestic rock formations. The trailhead offers stunning views of both Barker Dam and Lost Horse Mine as well as plenty of shady areas where guests can relax while waiting for the ceremony to start. Another popular spot for couples who want an outdoor ceremony is Jumbo Rocks Campground; this area features granite boulders that offer plenty of shade as well as beautiful views over Hidden Valley Campground's sand dunes and surrounding mountains. Finally, another great spot for an outdoor ceremony is Cholla Cactus Garden—a lush cactus garden that features tall cholla cacti surrounded by wildflowers and colorful rockscapes!

Other Beautiful Locations Include:

Indian Cove Amphitheater; No more than 100 people total and only 1 vehicle. You must shuttle your guest in and out of this location. 

Hidden Valley Picnic Area; No more than 35 people total and up to 8 vehicles. 

Turkey Flats; No more than 35 people total and up to 8 vehicles. 

Cap Rock; No more than 25 people total and up to 8 vehicles.

Rattlesnake Picnic Area; No more than 20 people and 8 vehicles.

Quail Springs Picnic Area; No more than 15 people and 8 vehicles.

Split Rock; No more than 15 people and 5 vehicles.

Porcupine Wash; No more than 12 people and 4 vehicles.

Queen Valley Mine Intersection; No more than 10 people and 5 vehicles.

Lost Horse Parking Lot; No more than 10 people and 5 vehicles.

Live Oak Picnic Area; No more than 5 people and 3 vehicles.

What Permits Do You Need?

Eloping in any national park requires permission from the park service as well as payment of certain fees. In order to obtain permission from the park service for your special day at Joshua Tree National Park, you must submit an application form at least two weeks before your desired date along with a fee of $120 USD ($150 CAD). Keep in mind that applications may take up to three weeks to process depending on how busy the park service is at that time. Additionally, if you are planning a large gathering or if alcohol will be served at your wedding ceremony/reception/party (or any other event related to your elopement), additional permits may also be required. For more information about permits specific to Joshua Tree National Park weddings or events, please contact the park service directly.

What can I have at my Wedding?

Items that are permitted for a wedding

Arch, must be free-standing

Small table for guest book

Cooler with water

Live flowers

Battery-powered candles





Items not permitted for a wedding


Dried flowers

Non-battery powered candles 


Any live animals, including doves, butterflies, etc 





Smoke Bombs

Eloping in Joshua Tree National Park can be a truly memorable experience—but it requires some planning ahead! From deciding when to go based on weather conditions to applying for permits through the park service (and possibly other permits depending on factors like size/alcohol consumption), there are several steps involved in planning an unforgettable wedding day in this desert oasis. We hope this blog post has provided some helpful tips on how best to prepare so that all you have left on your special day is enjoying each other's company surrounded by breathtaking scenery!

Not sure how much time you’d like to have captured on your wedding day?

Consider a Full Day Elopement!

Need some ideas for telling those you love you’ve decided to elope?

Click the link below for some handy dandy tips!

Ready to chat about booking your dream elopement???

Let’s talk about it ALL!