Permits & Reservations

 

Reservations

  • No advance reservations are needed to enter Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Reservations are required for ranger-led tours of Keys Ranch. Reservations can be made on recreation.gov.
  • Some campgrounds are first come, first served, whereas others require reservations during the peak season. Reservations may be made on recreation.gov.
 
 

Permits

Permit Office Hours

Permit office hours are Monday - Friday, 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM. The permit office is closed on Saturday and Sunday. Permits may still be granted in advance for a Saturday or Sunday. Permits are not issued on federal holidays and NPS free entrance days.

No permits will be issued from December 20 to January 1 with the exception of First Amendment activities.

Backpacking Permits

A permit is required to backpack and camp in the backcountry. To learn more, visit our wilderness backpacking webpage. Day hikers do not need a permit to hike in the backcountry or wilderness.

Bolting Permits

The rules that govern the placement of fixed anchors for rock climbing are complex. A permit may or may not be required depending on a number of factors. You are responsible for following bolting guidelines and applying for a permit if applicable.
  1. Review bolting guidelines and determine if a permit is required.

  2. Complete the Bolting Proposal Form.

  3. Complete a free Special Use Permit request (NPS Form 10-930 Short Form).

  4. Submit both forms to the Climbing Ranger, Bernadette Regan, at bernadette_regan@nps.gov

Business Permits and Commercial Use Authorizations

On January 1, 2023, Joshua Tree National Park is changing its CUA management fee structure to what is called market-price management fee. This fee will reflect the value of the business opportunity for commercial activities conducted in Joshua Tree National Park. It will be a tiered system of fee management based on gross receipts earned from CUA-authorized business here. Below is a table that details how these fees will be assessed:

CUA Annual Gross Receipts CUA Management Fee
<$250,000 3% of gross receipts (minus application fee)
$250,000 to $500,000 4% of gross receipts (minus application fee)
>$500,000 5% of gross receipts (minus application fee)


The table is best explained by example. Suppose a CUA holder earns $750,000 in gross revenue from doing business at Joshua Tree National Park. Under the upcoming fee structure, the National Park will charge the CUA holder 3 percent of their gross receipts, 4 percent for the next $250,000, and 5 percent for the remaining $250,000. This hypothetical CUA holder would then have a total fee of $30,000. The application fee will then be subtracted from $30,000. After subtracting the application fee from $30,000, the difference must be remitted to the National Park before a new CUA can be issued. The combined charges for the application fee and the market-rate management fee may not exceed the limits noted in the table above. If the calculated market-rate fee is less than the application, then the National Park Service will retain the application fee.

Tour groups coming to Joshua Tree National Park must abide by park regulations and safety guidelines. Please contact the Special Park Use Coordinator, Jeannie Wilson, at (760) 367-5518 or jeannie_wilson@nps.gov.

All Road Based Company’s are required to obtain a Commercial Use Authorization prior to entering the park. There is a non-refundable fee of $300.00 to obtain a CUA.

Road based Company’s need to complete the NPS Form 10-550 along with the following additional documentation.

  • Safety Inspection from the CHP and/or DOT
  • List of all vehicles that may enter the park
  • Current liability insurance
Commercial Use Authorizations are issued for January of the current year and expire in December of current year.


The NPS Form 10-660A annual report is required no later than the 15th of January for the prior year.

Guiding Permits

Commercial Use Authorizations are available for guided day hikes, backpacking trips, rock climbing, photography workshops, art workshops, and motorcycle tours. If you're leading a trip in Joshua Tree National Park, ensure your group is aware of park regulations and safety concerns.

The following are Joshua Tree National Park approved services/activities authorized to operate in the park. You will need to submit NPS Form 10-550 and the following documentation if it pertains to your operation. Provide proof of Rock Climbing training certificate, Current liability insurance and automobile insurance, Current First Aid and CPR or equivalent training completion certificate, Leave No Trace training certificate, Wilderness Responder or equivalent training certificate.

  • Climbing Guide Certification Program

  • Limited Trip Climbing

  • Guided Hiking on Established Trails

  • Guided Backpacking

  • Guided Front-Country or Back-Country Camping

  • Photography Workshop

  • Yoga Class and/or Workshops

  • Off-Trail Travel

  • Guided Motorcycle Tours

  • Guided Bicycle Tours
  • Trailer Rental Delivery
  • Catering Services
  • Guided Horse Back Riding Tours

Please read all documentation prior to submitting your application. Incomplete packages will not be accepted.

Other forms
NPS Form 10-660 Monthly Report
NPS Form 10-660 Annual Report

Special Use Permits

A special use permit is required for activities that provide a benefit to an individual, group, or organization, rather than the public at large, and that require some degree of management from the National Park Service in order to protect park resources and the public interest.

Special-use permits are required for events such as: weddings, ceremonies, First Amendment activities, festivals, concerts, cultural programs, sporting events, and public spectator attractions, and any group of people including meet-ups, clubs, non-profits organizations, friends & family, et cetera. Please contact the Special Park Use Coordinator, Jeannie Wilson, at (760) 367-5518 or Jeannie_Wilson@nps.gov.

To request a permit, please complete the NPS Form 10-930 Short Form. You can email your application to Jeannie_Wilson@nps.gov.


Filming, Photography, and Sound Recording Permits

When filming, photography, and sound recording activities occur in national parks, they must be consistent with the protection of park resources and avoid conflict with public use and enjoyment of the park.

Who Needs a Permit?

A special use permit is required for any individual, business, or organization (including nonprofit groups and educational institutions) filming for a market audience or receiving compensation associated with footage or recordings made in the park. Some examples include:

Filming

  • Commercial advertisements, feature films, entertainment broadcasts, documentaries, promotional or educational films (including non-profit and student projects)
  • Filming for stock footage (regardless of equipment or crew size)
  • Time-lapse photography if the final sequence will be used in a motion picture format for commercial purposes
  • Use of large or unusual equipment, even for non-commercial purposes if activities warrant oversight by park staff

Still Photography

  • Still photography using models, props, sets, lighting, or other specialized equipment
  • Use of large or unusual equipment, even for non-commercial purposes if activities warrant oversight by park staff

Still Photography Workshops & Tours

  • A Commercial Use Authorization may be required for photography workshops.

Sound Recording

  • It takes place at location(s) where or when members of the public are generally not allowed
  • It uses equipment that requires mechanical transport
  • It uses equipment that requires an external power source other than a battery pack
  • The agency would incur additional administrative costs to provide management and oversight of the permitted activity to:
    • Avoid unacceptable impacts and impairment to resources or values
    • Minimize health or safety risks to the visiting public

Exemptions

  • Visitors filming or taking pictures intended for their personal use and enjoyment. Special requests or use of large or unusual equipment may require permitting even if it is for personal use. Novice filmmakers should inquire with Film Office for more information (numbers listed below); the National Park Service does not issue retroactive permits.
  • Credentialed news organizations documenting an event that cannot be covered at any other time or location.

Insurance

You may be required to obtain liability insurance naming the United States as additionally insured in an amount commensurate with the risk posed to park resources by your proposed activity. You may also be asked to post a bond to ensure the payment of all charges and fees and the restoration of the area if necessary.

Definitions

Commercial filming: digital or film recording of a visual image by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project. Under P.L. 106-206, all commercial filming requires a permit and is subject to a location fee and cost recovery charges.

Model: a person or object that serves as the subject for commercial filming or still photography for the purposes of promoting sales or use of a product or service. Models include but are not limited to, individuals, animals, or inanimate objects such as vehicles, boats articles of clothing, and food and beverage products.

Sets and props: items constructed or placed on agency lands to facilitate commercial filming or still photography including, but not limited to, backdrops, generators, microphones, stages, lighting banks, camera tracks, vehicles specifically designed to accommodate camera or recording equipment, rope and pulley systems, and rigging for climbers and structures. Sets and props also include trained animals and inanimate objects, such as camping equipment, campfires, wagons, and so forth, when used to stage a specific scene. The use of a camera on a tripod, without the use of any other equipment, is not considered a prop.

More Information

  • Application/Administration Fee: $315.00, non-refundable. This is paid online with a credit card. Once your permit has been received and reviewed we will send instructions on how to make your payment.

  • Location Fee: There is a location fee and that is determined by the total number of cast and crew you will have on location. Below is a list of the location fees.

    Motion Pictures/Videos
    1 – 2 people, camera and tripod only: $0/day
    1 - 10 people: $150/day
    11 - 30 people: $250/day
    31 - 49 people: $500/day
    Over 50 people: $750/day

    Still Photography/Audio Recording
    1 - 10 people: $50/day
    11 - 30 people: $150/day
    Over 30 people: $250/day

  • Monitoring Fee: $50/hour, non-negotiable. There is a monitoring fee for the Park Ranger that is required to be on location for every shoot that is permitted in the park.

  • Liability Insurance: You may be required to provide a copy of your liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000.00 and the certificate holder on the policy must read THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK.

  • Once your permit is received it will take 10-30 business days to process.

Permits for filming and photography are only granted in the following locations:

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.

To apply for a filming, photography, sound recording permit, please fill out fill out the 10-932 Long Form request.

For more information, please contact the Special Park Use Coordinator, Jeannie Wilson, at (760) 367-5518.

Weddings

Joshua Tree National Park is an amazing location to have your wedding. A Special Park Use Permit is required for this activity.

All weddings require a Special Park Use Permit regardless of size. The cost of the wedding application is $120.00 and is non-refundable. Additional cost can vary depending on the size of your wedding and location. If you are hiring a professional photographer or cater they are required to obtain a separate Special Use Permit.

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.

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
Runner
Rug
Cake
Champagne

Items not permitted for a wedding
Drones
Dried flowers
Non-battery powered candles
Bubbles
Any live animals, including doves, butterflies, etc
Confetti
Rice
Birdseed
Balloons
Smoke Bombs

Please complete the NPS Form 10-930 Short Form. You can email your application to Jeannie_Wilson@nps.gov.
Once your application is reviewed we will send you instructions on making your payment online. Joshua Tree National Park does not accept checks.

Please note if a permit is not obtained for this activity you are subject to a citation fine up to $500.00

Scientific Research and Collecting Permits

A permit is required to carry out scientific research or related activities in the park. Fees are not charged for the permit, but researchers must submit an annual activity report. Scientific research permit applications are completed online and reviewed by discipline specialists, who will contact the applicant for further information.

First Amendment Permits

First Amendment permits are issued at no charge. Joshua Tree National Park has three locations for this activity:

  • Black Rock Visitor Center parking lot
  • Oasis Visitor Center parking lot
  • Cottonwood Visitor Center parking lot

Please contact the Special Park Uses Office for a map of these locations.

Scattering Ashes

Scattering ashes is authorized with an approved permit. There is one location in Joshua Tree National Park where the park is permitted to allow this activity. The Special Park Uses Office will provide you with a map of this location once your permit has been approved.

There is no charge to scatter ashes in the park.

Please complete the NPS Form 10-930 Short Form. You can email your application to Jeannie_Wilson@nps.gov. Once your application is reviewed we will send you instructions on making your payment online. Joshua Tree National Park does not accept checks.

Please note if a permit is not obtained for this activity you are subject to a citation fine up to $500.00

Last updated: February 1, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms , CA 92277-3597

Phone:

760 367-5500

Contact Us

Stay Connected