• Sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden

    Joshua Tree

    National Park California

Permits & Reservations


  • No advance reservations are needed to enter Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Reservations are required for ranger-led tours of Keys Ranch, offered from mid-October through mid-May.
  • Most of Joshua Tree's nine campgrounds are first come, first served. Reservations for family sites at Black Rock and Indian Cove, as well as all group sites, may be made on recreation.gov.

Backcountry Permits
A permit is not required for day hiking in the backcountry. To backcountry camp, you must park and register at a backcountry registration board. There is no fee. Your registration is your permit.
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.

Filming Permits
Commercial filming or photography requires a filming permit. Permits are not required for visitors using cameras for personal use or for film or video news crews at breaking news events.

There are two applications for a filming permit:

  • The short form (136 KB PDF) is intended for less complex activities and a crew of ten or fewer people.
  • The long form (231 KB PDF) should be used for activities of greater complexity requiring a crew of more than ten.
All applicants must use the current application forms available here; if you have downloaded forms in the past, they may be obsolete.


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. You may download a special-use application form. For questions about special-use permits, call 760-367-5545.


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

Did You Know?