Same Day Reservations through recreation.gov and New Payment Methods for First-Come, First-Served Campgrounds
As of September 1, 2021, campers will now make same-day reservations for reservation campgrounds on recreation.gov. Previously, campers could book an open campsite day-of and in-person at reservation campgrounds, but now all reservations must be made through recreation.gov. Reservations can still be made up to six months in advance. Please reserve your campsite before entering the park as cell service is limited or non-existent at campgrounds.
First-come, first-served campgrounds have a new payment method. A ranger will be at campgrounds throughout the day to collect campsite fees with a portable register. Campers can pay using a debit or credit card and will not need to track down the ranger but can set up at an open campsite, and fees will be collected when possible. There will no longer be self-registering, pre-payment systems, also known as “iron rangers,” for first-come, first-served campsites.
Open campsites in the park can be extremely difficult to find during the busy season. Visitors may also want to explore camping opportunities outside the park, which include private campgrounds in a nearby community. Come prepared with a plan and a backup plan for your visit to Joshua Tree National Park. For more information about camping at Joshua Tree National Park, visit our campground webpage.