Joshua Tree Wedding and Elopement Photographer

Essential Guide to Eloping in Joshua Tree National Park

Essential Guide to Eloping in Joshua Tree National Park

Eloping is the perfect opportunity to travel to the magical lands of Joshua Tree National Park! 

Getting married surrounded by desert hues, unique botanicals, massive rock formations, and ethereal open skies. 

An important space inside the Mojave Desert ecosystem, the backdrop of Joshua Tree screams beauty, resilience, longevity, growth, and communion.

Essential Guide to Eloping in Joshua Tree National Park

As experts at photographing weddings in Joshua Tree, we’ve put together an Essential Guide to Eloping in Joshua Tree National Park.

Everything you need to know to plan your elopement in this stunning part of the world!

Why Joshua Tree?

It really is as magical as the photos you’ve seen! 

The desert is awe-inspiring and truly spectacular, it’s the perfect place for an adventurous elopement.

Located right where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet, forming this beautifully sculptured landscape.

Groom and bride getting married in Joshua Tree

With major airports (LAXPalm Springs) only a two-hour drive, it’s close enough to invite your loved ones, but also remote enough to keep it between just you two.

Surround yourself with those deep night skies, the rich history of the area, and the surreal geologic topography of this wonderful wilderness.

Where is Joshua Tree

National Park?

A hop-skip-and-a-jump from San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeastern California.

Named for those spiky magical trees, the Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia), that is native to the Mojave Desert.

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Why Elopements?

We are biased! 

We live in this spectacular place! 

As nomad photographers who have photographed weddings in ALL 50 STATES (yes, you read that correctly), we could live anywhere.

This is where we choose. For so many reasons, mainly it has to do with how much eye candy there is here. Our cameras absolutely love the colors, the scenery, the magical spaces.

That made choosing this as our base a no-brainer.

Try to imagine yourself marrying the love of your life in a place so unique, it looks like another planet at times. 

Picturesque doesn’t even touch how inspiring it is here. 

We know all of the greatest spots with the best desert views, giant rock formations, and unique vegetation.

There is no other venue like it.

How Do I Get There?

Whether you plan to travel by air or by road, we got you covered! 


John Wayne Airport, Orange County (SNA)

Given the proximity to Joshua Tree, SNA is a better choice that shaves off some of the driving time and helps you avoid the dreadful LA traffic. Just 122 miles from Joshua Tree, it’s a great place to look for affordable flights. 

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s 140 miles from Joshua Tree. With more international flight options, it might be your only choice. But, heed our warning that LA traffic is as bad as you’ve always heard. 

San Diego Airport (SAN) 

Sure, it’s a bit further away at 175 miles from Joshua Tree, but it is a wonderful city to explore for a day or two, if you can. And did we mention that LA traffic? Yeah, obviously easy to avoid if you never go there! 

Las Vegas Airport (NV)

Amazing road trip from Vegas to Joshua, you will be passing through the Mojave Desert and start feeling the desert adventure spirit!


There are three main entrances to the park: North, West, and South. 

Having a paper map and a compass on hand is always smart. Or you can download the map here.

The navigation systems around Joshua Tree have been known to lead visitors off the main roads and onto soft sands. 

Avoid getting your car stuck out there by entering the park through Interstate 10 or California Highway 62 (the Twentynine Palms Highway).

Do We Need a Permit?

Oh heck yeah!

Like almost all public parks, you will need to get a wedding permit.

The mandatory special use permit is $120. More information here

And because the bureaucrats like to make things even more costly, they also require a separate photo permit for your photographer (that’s us!). 

Having had over 20 years of experience coordinating and photographing elopements, we can help you sort out all of the permits you will need for your Joshua Tree Park Elopement! 


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Are There Special Rules

We Have to Obey?


But, they are the best kind that safeguard the beauty of the park for everyone to enjoy.

Keeping it eco-safe is of utmost importance. 

Because of this, most wedding decor, drones, dried flowers, needles, and bubbles are not permitted on the grounds. 

You will love this place as much as we do.

And you’ll want to leave no trace after the wedding.

Take everything with you when you leave. Our motto is simple: Leave it in better condition than when we arrived. 

When is the Best Season to Elope

in Joshua Tree?

This has a lot more to do with YOU than with Joshua Tree. 

It’s a desert, after all! The summers here are EPICLY hot. 

That is something to think about when you’re planning. 

Some couples prefer eloping during cooler seasons of Spring, Fall, and Winter. 

During the cooler seasons, Joshua Tree is more comfortable and has less crowds.

The light is amazing, too! If you want to avoid crowds, elope on a weekday.


In the shoulder seasons, March to May or October to November, temperatures linger around 85ºF/29ºC. June, July, August, and most of September are H-O-T, hot! 


Joshua Tree is an open desert, which means it’s usually dry and hot all year, and has very little shelter from the sun, wind or rain. 

Be prepared for varying temperatures as you move around the park, too. 

Check the weather here!

When is the Most Ideal Time

to Visit Joshua Tree?

Alright, you twisted our arms! We’ll tell you, just don’t tell too many people because we want you to have a truly unique and special time in Joshua Tree. 

But, the best time to visit is in the Spring! 

The weather is absolutely perfect then. In late spring, it can be very cold in the mornings.


If that’s not a good time for you, consider October or November. 

The weather is lovely still and there are fewer crowds than in the Spring. 

Since you asked, we’ll tell you that during summer, temperatures can get up to 100ºF/37ºC. With very little access to shade, it is not really that pleasant. 


In the winter months, if you are brave enough, you can see the magical mix of desert and snow at the higher elevations. 

Pro Value TIPS:

Be prepared!


Make a list of all of the essentials you need to bring. 

Here’s a little checklist: 

  • Have a paper map or a downloaded map or an app with offline maps (IOSANDROID) in Joshua Tree National Park the cell signal is unreliable.
  • Plenty of water — Getting parched is not actually fun!
  • Layers of clothing to take off or put on — Simple!
  • Compass and headlamp — We keep saying this, be prepared! 
  • Hiking shoes — Even if you change into nicer ones for the ceremony.

Where Can We Elope in Joshua Tree?

There are so many incredible spots to elope in Joshua Tree. 

We’re in awe at the beauty here every day. We love that each location has panoramic views, desert landscapes, and rock formations. 

But all of them are unique in their own ways. Here are some of the best spots for your ceremony based on your specific size needs.


Small and Intimate: 0 to 25 Guests

  • Hidden Valley Picnic Area (not permitted in March-May)
  • Quail Springs Picnic Area (not permitted in March-May)
  • CapRock
  • Live Oak
  • Split Rock
  • Rattlesnake Picnic Area


Hidden Valley Picnic Area

One of the park’s best known hikes, Hidden Valley is a one-mile trail that will lead you to a magnificent valley that is filled with towering rocks. It’s also a fantastic spot for sunset ceremonies, too. Maximum 25 people and eight cars.

Turkey Flats

With amazing views of Pinto Mountain, this two-mile trail is a wide, sandy desert plain that is covered in bushes and grass. Maximum 25 people and eight cars. 

Split Rock

A personal favorite of ours, the unique rock formations and elevations make it a great place to get married. With a two-mile moderate hike, you’ll be married in no time. Maximum 15 people and five cars. 

Porcupine Wash

One of the longest trails in the park, the eight-mile trail is filled with beautiful wildflowers and gorgeous rock formations.
Maximum 12 people and four cars.


If you’re coming to Joshua Tree for the rock formations, this is the perfect spot. The short hike is full of sweeping views. Maximum 12 people and four cars.


Bigger and Still Intimate: 26 to 100


 Indian Cove Amphitheater

This is the only location in Joshua Tree that can accommodate over 25 people. You can have up to 100 guests here. Keep in mind, all guests must be shuttled into the amphitheater. No other cars are allowed. 

Where Can We Stay? 

There are all kinds of options for staying in the area. The most obvious is camping. You won’t find any brick-and-mortar lodging in the park. But, there are lots of great options in the areas surrounding Joshua Tree. 

Joshua Tree Campgrounds

There are over 500 camping spots available in the park. Most of them require reservations through the National Park Service website. But, there are some areas that are first-come-first-served, as well — the ultimate in eloping! The Hidden Valley Campground is a crowd favorite at Joshua Tree. The boulders offer a sense of privacy, like camping in nature’s jungle gym. 

Joshua Tree Airbnbs

We can highly recommend looking at the local Airbnb listings. Ranging from unique Airstream experiences to open ceiling bedrooms that are the ultimate stargazing experience. 

They are usually the best bet and have a wide range of options that suit your budget and needs. But, they book quickly! So, see something you love, book it fast! 

High Desert Paradise Wellness Retreat

One of our favorites is the High Desert Paradise Wellness Retreat in Yucca Valley, California. 

Desert Airstream

This magical Airbnb is a great two-person spot for a desert-themed camping road trip. This place is equipped with heat/AC, an outdoor shower, refrigerator, microwave, sink, indoor stoolie, and a hotplate for all your basic camping needs.

Joshua Tree Tiny House

This highly-rated Tiny House comes with epic desert views and a hot tub for those chilly desert nights. After exploring all of Joshua Tree, come back to this cute home that can accommodate up to four guests.

Desert Air Casita

A beautifully designed apartment for two, this apartment has everything you could need for staying in the Joshua Tree area. 

5-Bedroom Joshua Tree Cabin

Yes, you read that right! This beautiful unique cabin has a pool, game room, dart table, two kitchens, and much more. A great choice for bringing your friends and family with you for your elopement. 


If you want something a bit more luxurious, Palm Springs is just a short one-hour drive from both the West Entrance and the Cottonwood Visitors Center. Palm Springs is filled with fancy, amazing hotels. Some of my favorites are The Ace, Korakia Pensione, and La Serena Villas. 

 The Invisible House

One of the most spectacular and luxurious spots in the area. The mirrored 22-storey building is a mind-bending horizontal skyscraper that virtually disappears into the vast desert landscape. 

Best Joshua Tree Hikes for Your Elopement 

When in Joshua Tree, do like the Romans! You’re in one of the most incredible outdoor places on the planet. Don’t forget to pack water. 

Hidden Valley Nature Trail

This one-mile loop brings you around Joshua Trees’ different rock and boulder formations that you can explore and climb around on. This hike has spectacular views and is accessible to beginners. 

Split Rock Loop 

This two-mile trail is lined with beautiful wildflowers and dramatic sunsets. But, it’s the grand boulder formations that will leave you in awe. 

The Maze Loop 

Kicking it up a notch, this is a more intense hiking option. This five-mile trail has moderate steepness and incredible views of the park. 

 Ryan Mountain Hike

This three-mile trail is a great bird’s eye view of the park. This is a great day hike with stunning views at the top.

Groom and bride getting married in Joshua Tree

Anything Else You’re Missing?

There are a million little tidbits we could share with you. 

Joshua Tree holds many secret gems and opportunities to explore.

Here are a few tips that we recommend to all visitors of Joshua Tree.

The best time to visit the park is at sunrise or sunset. The beautiful golden light is incredible in the desert.

To protect yourself from the harsh direct sunlight, hike early morning or later afternoon.

Never forget to bring extra water. You’ll be in the desert, it’s dry, it will dehydrate you quickly if you’re not watching. 

There are no restaurants in the park, so bring enough food for your visit. It’s a long drive out of the park to get food. 

This park is unique because of its limited resources. Don’t forget that it’s a desert, so it doesn’t have electricity or street lights like other parks.

Check out the AllTrails app for trail maps on your phone. DOWNLOAD HERE THE ALLTRAILS (IOSANDROID)

Hot tip: Map screen shots of the maps you are using in cause you don’t have service in the park. 

Hike with proper gear and equipment. Go prepared, do your research before you leave for the park. 

Wear comfortable shoes! You can always change into your wedding shoes for the ceremony and photos. 


What Are We Forgetting?

Vendors! You might want to get married in the most low key way possible, just your hiking gear and hand-picked wildflowers.

But, there are many great vendors in the area to help you plan your elopement. 

Everything from booking an officiant to hotel locations that can accommodate small ceremonies.

We Are Photographers!

You’re here, you know this already. 

But, in case you forgot, we are expert wedding photographers who specialize in Joshua Tree weddings. 

We have a range of packages that include a post-ceremony photoshoot in the landmark spots around the park. Bring your friends and family! 

Contact Now!


Gra e dani


Joshua Tree Elopement

We are Grasi + Dani + Otto + Luiz, a family of wedding photographers.

We are outdoor enthusiasts and travelers living our best life.

16 years ago we found in wedding photography a way to create beautiful, heart-stirring, meaningful art as we fulfill our love for adventure, being connected to nature, people, love, and as a family!

We traveled full time with our home on wheals, all across the 50 States photographing love for over 8 years. When the world stopped in 2020, we chose southern California, Joshua Tree, to call home and be our base as it holds such a special place in our hearts.

If you are looking for a perfect wedding or elopement destination Joshua Tree National Park is the one. Still very privet and secluded, the desert landscape is covered in that amplified feeling of quieter moments, the meaningful moments behind the pretty and perfect, behind the grand and epic.

All uniqueness of plants and rocks, the night skies and rich cultural history.

It gives you the atmosphere of a perfect marriage of adventure but still elevated and romantic.

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Elope in Joshua Tree

thank you


Let's talk about your Wedding?

We’re here for you. Being a photographer who specializes in Weddings and intimate weddings invariably means we’ve got all the information you need to plan your incredible, perfect day!

Grasi e Dani Wedding Photographers

Essential Guide to Eloping in Joshua Tree National Park

Let's talk about your Wedding?

We’re here for you. Being a photographer who specializes in Weddings and intimate weddings invariably means we’ve got all the information you need to plan your incredible, perfect day!