Do You Need a Permit to Camp at Joshua Tree?

Great news: You do not need to reserve a permit in advance to backcountry camp at Joshua Tree National Park or in the area around Joshua Tree. Unlike other National Parks with competitive backcountry quota systems, if you are planning to go backcountry camping at Joshua Tree, you simply arrive and register for your permit at the backcountry board located at each of Joshua Tree’s 13 backcountry trailheads. More information on permits and backpacking in Joshua Tree can be found in this official guide from the park. As always, contact park rangers for current conditions before your backcountry trip.

Similarly, there are no trail quotas at Joshua Tree, and no advanced are permits required for day hikes or to access any regions of the park. The only activities that need reservations are the ranger-led tour of Keys Ranch and any in-park activities with third-party outfitters such as rock climbing with a local guide.

Fees to enter Joshua Tree National Park

All guests — including day trippers, campers, and backpackers — need to pay a fee to enter Joshua Tree at the park when they arrive at the gate. The fees are either $30 per vehicle for a 7-day pass, $55 for an annual Joshua Tree National Park pass, or $80 for an Annual U.S. Park Pass which is good at all National and Federal Parks in the country for a full year.

When it comes to camping inside Joshua Tree National Park, about half the campgrounds allow sites to be reserved in advance, while the other half operate on a walk-in (first-come, first-served) basis.

How to reserve a campsite

Campsite reservations can be made 6 months in advance. Keep in mind that weekends during peak season (October-to-May) do sell out online early. The following campgrounds are reservable: Black Rock, Indian Cove, Jumbo Rocks, Cottonwood and Sheep Pass.

For the walk-in sites, you’ll need to arrive on the day you want to camp and find an empty spot. Check-out time is at noon. There are 101 walk-in camps distributed over 4 campgrounds: Hidden Valley, Ryan, Belle and White Tank.

To find the best campground in Joshua Tree for you, check out our guide to campsites in Joshua Tree National Park.

Other camping, glamping and RV sites near Joshua Tree

You can discover and book numerous camping, glamping and RV accommodations around Joshua Tree on Hipcamp. From tent stands, to vintage trailers, to yurts, to tiny castles and cabins. Hipcamps make a great staging ground for day-trips into Joshua Tree and exploring the eclectic desert culture in the surrounding towns.

Here are a few of our favorite Joshua Tree area camping and glamping sites:

The Castle House Guard Tower 1 is a glamping site with full size beds and a shower near Joshua Tree

1. The Castle House Guard Tower The Guard Tower 1 at the Castle House Estate is a three-level, all-white loft tower with a spiral staircase, queen bed and rooftop lounge.

The Pathfinder Tipi sits in a gorgeous location just 30 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park.

2. Pathfinder Tipi at Camp Temenōs The Pathfinder Tipi at Camp Temenōs will be an unforgettable part of your Joshua Tree trip. Inside this canvas-walled tipi is a queen sized bed. The Camp Temenōs sanctuary features a heated indoor shower and outdoor kitchen so you can experience the desert in comfort night and day.

3. Camp Coyote Acres Camp Coyote Acres is an Old West-themed campsite across from the Johnson Valley OHV area. The ranch is also hosts foster animals, so don’t be surprised if you see a goat, potbellied pig or turkey wandering through.

4. Raw Wood Deck Pink Cloud Ranch The Pink Cloud Ranch is just 5 minutes from the west entrance to J-Tree and has an adults playground with a trampoline and swimming pool. There are five different sites to choose from at this consistently high-rated Hipcamp.

5. Vintage Silver Streak Trailer This air-conditioned 1969 Silver Streak trailer is based on a homestead in the town of Joshua Tree that will give visits easy access to the park and a glimpse as life in the desert.

6. Terrance Ranch Room With A View The Terrance Ranch Room With a View is a private, air-conditioned room at a gorgeous ranch house situated in the Morongo Valley Heights. It’s a 30 minute drive to the Joshua Tree National Park, and features an outdoor hot tub with sunset views and stargazing.

Find out more about Joshua Tree

Book your next Joshua Tree camping or glamping trip now

Now’s a great time to find the perfect spot in Joshua Tree for your next camping, glamping or RV adventure. #FindYourselfOutside (TIP: Get $10 off your first booking when you create a new account here and use the referral code JOURNAL)

Vincent Levy wishes he was camping every night. The West Coast is his home and he loves spending time in the Cascades, High Sierra, and the SoCal desert.

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