Romantic and Sweet Joshua Tree + Arch Rock Couples Session
Tully + Dave 02.09.19
Joshua Tree is a great hub for taking adventurous engagement, elopement, or couples session photos! Whether you’re a photographer or a future bride and groom wanting to explore a beautiful spot out in nature, J Tree is the perfect spot! Here’s what I’ve learned from shooting out there…
Entrance fee is $30 per car, but I would suggest investing in an $80 yearly National Park pass because you can get into almost every US National Park for free for the rest of the year (starting and ending at month of purchase). You can buy it online or when you arrive to the park.
Joshua Tree is incredibly easy to get around in. There are signs showing where campgrounds, bathrooms, and popular touristy spots are. Bathrooms are camping-style, but they are everywhere a campground is, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding a pit stop place.
The roads are almost always nicely paved and there are parking lots everywhere. It’s also super easy to park on the side of the road and explore where ever. Please be mindful of the sensitive wildlife and practice LNT whenever possible.
I recommend going in late spring or fall for the best weather, although it can be the most crowded then. This session below was in early February. The temperature was great (50 degrees), but it was suuuuper windy, which made it freezing. It’s the desert, so obviously weather change is drastic.
Be mindful to save/download your Google Maps route and Spotify playlists upon entering the park. You likely won’t have much service while driving around. It’s nice to disconnect for a while anyways.
In between Jumbo Rocks and the North entrance to the park is my favorite spot for photos with huge rock piles. It’s the best light in full shade of the rocks or in direct sun. When you get to a pretty spot, simply pull over!
Make sure to stop by the Cholla Garden. Even though the dense cactus garden has a lot of tourists there, it’s still easy to take photos there. I recommend doing this right before golden hour before making your way a couple miles up the road to Arch Rock.
I recommend spending golden hour in the area near Arch Rock. It’s about a half mile flat walk from site #9 at White Tank Campground. The sun sets facing the long (pretty) side of the arch, but there’s another rock that casts a harsh shadow on half of it. If you want it backlit, you’ll be taking photos on the side where you can’t see as much of the arch. It’s still cool, though, if you get a chance with all the people around. There are always a ton of tourists and other photographers there right at golden hour, so spend that time around the joshua trees and other pretty rocks and landscape right next to it. Then as soon as the sun sets, people will clear out, and take photos at the Arch Rock itself at blue hour.
After this, take some photos on the road with the mountains in the background!
Stay another 1.5 hours for the stars to come out. Try to visit during a new moon or meteor shower for the best visibility. Stars here are incredible, so get some insane photos of your couple standing in front of a tree or rocks under the stars!!! Wear layers lol.