Joshua Tree, a stunning desert known for its unique rock formations and desert plants, has become one of the most popular elopement locations amongst couples who are wanting to tie the knot. As a Joshua Tree elopement photographer, I have helped countless couples plan and perfect their Joshua Tree elopements. I created this guide filled with a ton of different tips, tricks, and knowledge to help you plan your very own desert wedding or elopement!

How Many Guests Can I Have at My Joshua Tree Wedding?

The wedding venues in Joshua Tree have different maximum capacities. The largest venue they have can hold 100 people total, but this also includes people like your officiant and photographer. The average amount of guests allowed at your wedding is only 18.

Keep in mind that Joshua Tree only allows a certain amount of vehicles at each venue as well. To see more information, check out the official park website here.

Joshua Tree Wedding Venues

*Joshua Tree only allows certain locations to be used for ceremonies. If you see a location not on this list, contact the park directly for further information. If you don’t have any guests at your wedding, there may be some exceptions.

Indian Cove Amphitheater

See more: Indian Cove Amphitheater

Max capacity: 100 people, 1 car

The Indian Cove Amphitheater is Joshua Tree’s largest wedding venue, and one of my personal favorites. The ceremony site is wide open and backed by beautiful rock formations. It’s the perfect site for couples looking to have a larger wedding.

Hidden Valley Picnic Area

See more: Hidden Valley Picnic Area

Max capacity: 35 people, 8 cars

Hidden Valley Picnic Area is a Joshua Tree wedding venue that’s only open from June-January. However, don’t let this deter you from looking at this venue as a possibility for your wedding. The Hidden Valley Picnic Area has open areas, Joshua Trees, and unusual rock formations. I personally love this area in the fall.

Turkey Flats

See more: Turkey Flats

Max capacity: 35 people, 8 cars

Turkey Flats is a great Joshua Tree elopement location for the couple looking for something simple. This location is very flat and doesn’t offer a whole lot in terms of scenery except for some rolling hills and wildflowers, but that’s what makes it so unique. It allows couples to play with fun colors and textures.

Cap Rock

See more: Cap Rock

Max capacity: 25 people, 8 cars

Cap Rock is the most popular wedding venue in Joshua Tree. Many people who get married at Cap Rock get married under the giant Joshua Tree that sits at this location. There are also numerous plants, rock formations, and nearby trails.

Rattlesnake Picnic Area

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Max capacity: 20 people, 8 cars

The Rattlesnake Picnic Area is another super cool wedding venue with various areas to be explored. You can choose to have your ceremony with a background of staggering rocks, or open fields of shrubbery.

Quail Springs Picnic Area

See more: Quail Springs Picnic Area

Max capacity: 15 people, 8 cars

This is one of the more popular picnic sites within the park, as it’s the first one you see once you enter the park. However, don’t let this steer you away. This area is absolutely breathtaking and features tons of Joshua Trees and stacked boulders.

Split Rock

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Max capacity: 15 people, 5 cars

Split Rock is one of the most popular wedding venues in Joshua Tree. It’s a 2 mile hike to get to the rock, and it can be a bit crowded, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. Split Rock makes the perfect ceremony location no matter where you stand.

Porcupine Wash

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Max capacity: 12 people, 4 cars

Porcupine Wash is a an 8 mile hike, but there are plenty of unique ceremony sites along the way. This trail is much more open and has a variety of different wildflowers and rock formations.

Queen Valley Mine Intersection

See more: Queen Valley Mine Intersection

Max capacity: 10 people, 5 cars

If you love history, you’ll love this Joshua Tree wedding venue. What was once a gold mine is now a popular area to visit within the park. There are so many different rock formations and hills, and it’s only a 0.7 mile hike to reach the mine.

Lost Horse Parking Lot

See more: Lost Horse Parking Lot

Max capacity: 10 people, 5 cars

Lost Horse is another fascinating area within Joshua Tree. The trail is about 7 miles roundtrip and takes you to another old gold mine. Like most trails in Joshua Tree, you’ll see boulders, open fields, and lots of Joshua Trees.

Live Oak Picnic Area

See more: Live Oak Picnic Area

Max capacity: 5 people, 3 cars

Live Oak Picnic Area is another very unique Joshua Tree wedding venue. At this area, there aren’t a ton of Joshua Trees, but there are tons of rock formations and open areas. This is personally of my favorite wedding venues within the park.

Nowhere California

See more: Nowhere California

Max capacity: NA, contact venue

Nowhere California is located right on the outskirts of Joshua Tree and is one of the most unique wedding venues in Joshua Tree. It’s very modern and minimalistic. Not only will you get the gorgeous desert background, but you’ll also get minibikes, arcade games, and standing tubs. This place is pretty awesome.

Joshua Tree Wedding Permit Information

The Joshua Tree permit is non-refundable and costs $120. There may be additional costs depending on the size of your wedding or location.

To get the special use permit, simple fill out the online application found here and email it to If your application is approved, you’ll receive an email to pay the permit fee online. Don’t forget to bring the permit with you on your wedding day.

Joshua Tree Elopement.

Best Places to Stay in Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree has some of the coolest Airbnbs I have ever seen! Choosing an Airbnb or place to stay within the park is often a difficult choice, as there are so many jaw dropping places to stay. The options are endless when it comes to lodging in Joshua Tree. Check out some of my favorite places to stay below.

Best Airbnbs in Joshua Tree

Cactus Jax Cottage – A modern, minimalistic and bohemian cottage located in Joshua Village. This cute Airbnb if perfect for couples looking at having a secluded experience.

The Roadhouse Ranch – This laidback retro Airbnb is situated within the heart of the Mojave Desert. Vibrant colors, an open layout, and super bright stars are only just a few perks of staying here.

Area 55 Futuro House – You would be very lucky to book a stay here for the night. This famous Area 55 Airbnb is often booked out a year in advance. If you’re looking for a super unique experience, you can’t go wrong with Area 55.

Minimalist Modern Cabin – Just as the name suggests, this minimalistic cabin is perfect for couples looking for the basics. All glass walls and spectacular views of the high desert make this a photographer’s dream.

The Joshua Tree National Park House – This cozy home is perfect for intimate weddings and elopements. It’s a short 10 minute drive from the park and has a variety of different amenities and decor that will simply exceed your expectations.

Best Hotels in Joshua Tree

Sacred Sands – Sacred Sands is a romantic desert oasis. Known for their outdoor tubs and showers, this place is perfect for a honeymoon stay.

The Lautner – The Lautner is not your typical hotel. The Lautner is beautiful designed and offers 4 different luxury spaces. This place is well sought after, so book early!

Mojave Sands Motel – This motel is the perfect place for couples on a budget. With quick access to the park and a room with standard amenities, this motel offers everything you’d need for a quick stay.

The Castle House Estate – The Castle House has been featured on HGTV and provides the ultimate glamping experience. This spot is particularly popular for weddings!

Joshua Tree Inn – Similar to Mojave Sands Motel, the Joshua Tree Inn is a great place for a quick stay that’s close to all attractions and activities.

Best Camping Spots in Joshua Tree

Hidden Valley Campground – Hidden Valley Campground is an extremely popular place for campers. All sites are first-come, first-served, so get there early to secure a spot!

Jumbo Rocks Campground – Jumbo Rocks is another popular campground, especially amongst families. This one does require a reservation, so make note of the dates you’d like to secure and when the reservations open up!

Belle Campground – Belle Campground is small and doesn’t have a ton of amenities close by, but it’s known as being one of the best campgrounds to see the stars.

White Tank Campground – White Tank Campground is also another amazing place to see the stars, as it is located within one of the darkest sections of the park. Bring lots of water though, this campsite doesn’t have any!

Ryan Campground – Ryan Campground is a larger campground within the park. This one requires reservations and is a great place to stay if you want something more quiet, as 3 people are only allowed at each site.

A couple smiling and looking at the camera on their wedding day in Joshua Tree National Park.

The Best Time of Year to Have a Joshua Tree Wedding


One of the best times to have your Joshua Tree wedding is in the fall, specifically in October and November. During this time, the crowds are minimal, the weather is nice, and the light is absolutely stunning. I highly recommend the month of November for your wedding.


Another great time to visit the park, if you don’t mind chilly temperatures, is in the winter. Winter lasts from December – February and the temperature is consistently in the mid to high 60s. However, it can drop significantly after the sun goes down. Winter is also a great month for your Joshua Tree wedding if you want to avoid the crowds. Second to summer, these 3 months bring in the least amount of visitors, making it an ideal time for any couple wanting something extremely intimate.


Spring is the most popular season amongst tourists in Joshua Tree. From March – May, the park quickly fills up with campers and visitors coming to see the beauty Joshua Tree has to offer. During this time, the weather is nice both day and at night, the wildflowers are in full bloom, and the outdoor activities are extremely enjoyable. If you’re wanting a spring wedding, I recommend choosing to get married during the middle of the week and having a sunrise ceremony to avoid the crowds.


Summer is the least popular season in Joshua Tree. With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees daily, it makes any physical activity outside extremely dangerous. While mid-day probably isn’t the best choice for your summer Joshua Tree wedding, the night is actually very enjoyable for camping. Plus, during the month of August, it’s a great time to see the annual Perseid Meteor Shower.

A couple standing in front of stacked boulders on their wedding day in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree Wedding Vendors


Hair and Makeup



I’m your girl! I specialize in California elopements. I assist in planning, perfecting, and capturing epic elopements in mountains and deserts all around the U.S. I offer location recommendations, timeline assistance, permit information, etc.

Joshua Tree Wedding Activities

There are dozens of activities to try out for elopement. I’ve compiled a very short list of ideas I found in the actual park, and just outside the area in towns like Joshua Tree Valley and Palm Springs.

A couple looking at each other on their elopement day in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree Elopement Packages

I help plan and craft dream elopements and small weddings in Joshua Tree and California. To view all my packages, check out this page here.

Joshua Tree Wedding Package Pricing:

  • 4 hours – 1.5 days of elopement coverage anywhere in California
  • A personalized elopement planning experience with unlimited assistance
    • Personalized elopement location recommendations
    • Vendor, lodging, and activity recommendations
    • Assistance and information to help you with permits, licenses, etc.
    • 90+ page elopement planning guide filled with tips and tricks
    • Customized elopement timelines
    • Optional complimentary officiant services
  • Online gallery with full resolution images and printing rights
  • 24-48 hour sneak peeks to share with the world
  • Travel fees to anywhere in California are already included
  • Starting at $6,500

Want more elopement inspiration? Check out this beach elopement at Sunset Cliffs, a Yosemite elopement guide, Los Angeles wedding venues, and more resources to help you plan your elopement!


Can you get married at Joshua Tree?

Yes, you can get married at Joshua Tree in the provided ceremony spaces the park has listed on their website.

Is Joshua Tree crowded?

Joshua Tree is progressively becoming more and more popular. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the off-season.

How do you elope in Joshua Tree?

To elope in Joshua Tree, you must buy the $120 wedding permit and reserve your ceremony site within the park.

Is Joshua Tree National Park dangerous?

As long as you’re aware of your surroundings, Joshua Tree is not dangerous. There is always risk of heat stroke within the summer, but this can easily be avoided by visiting during the off-season.

Don’t forget your FREE elopement guide!

An all-in-one planning guide for all things elopements! Whether you’re hoping to hike through the mountains of Washington or sip a margarita on the beaches of California, this comprehensive elopement guide has everything you need to know about how to plan the perfect elopement.

A girl holding a camera and smiling.

You? You’re the kind of person that gets a lil’ teary eyed looking at an epic view…

That moment when you turn to the person you’re with and ask, “Are you seeing this?” I live for it. Places with trees and mountains and soft breezes that make you say, “I can’t believe this place exists,” I spend pretty much all of my free time searching for and exploring them.

These places have always felt like home to me. And if you’re the kind of person who also feels more at home surrounded by trees than by people? Then we’ll get along really well. The Pacific Northwest is full of secret spots that are too special to share with just anyone. But it would make me happy to share them with you on your wedding day.

If the mountains/beaches/redwood forests are calling your name, go ahead…

(I promise you won’t regret it.)

P.S. I’m Brianna. My mission is to create custom, one-of-a-kind elopement experiences in the Pacific Northwest that allow couples to fully immerse themselves in the highest levels of excitement and wonder on a day designed exclusively for them.

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