Field Class Registration Information

You may register by phone, fax, mail, or on-line at Please register early, our classes have limited class sizes.

Course Information Packet
Upon receipt of your registration, we will send you a course itinerary, map, enrollment confirmation/entrance fee waiver, and information on clothing and equipment needs. Local lodging and camping information is available upon request.

Safety, Insurance, and Physical Fitness
Every effort is made to ensure safety on Desert Institute courses. However, participants are responsible for their own safety and accident insurance. JTNPA does not accept responsibility for lost, stolen, or damaged property or any bodily injury incurred during the course. You must sign a liability waiver in order to participate in the course. Participants must be in good physical condition for courses/activities in a desert that may be hot, dry, windy, and sometimes surprisingly cold.

Waiver and Release of Claims Before participating in any of the field activities provided by the Desert Institute, and as a condition to being accepted for such activities, you must sign, for yourself and for your minor child who is a participant, a waiver and release of claims, including of negligence, arising from your or the minor’s enrollment or participation. Your information is confidential. Participants must provide their own health and accident insurance. Please obtain a doctor’s clearance if you have any condition that may impact your ability to participate in a class.

Weather, Clothing, and Equipment
Courses are held rain or shine. We reserve the right to change the course itinerary due to weather or other conditions. Students should be prepared for a variety of desert weather conditions, including cold and windy days. Appropriate clothing, footwear, and sun protection are very important. Clothing and equipment needs will be identified in your course information packet. Be prepared – bring plenty of water!

The Desert Institute is sponsored by the Joshua Tree National Park Association, and operates with the full endorsement of the NPS. Course fees only cover a portion of Desert Institute program costs.

Children and Pets
Our courses are designed for adults. An adult must accompany children under 16; the minimum age is 14. Due to federal regulations, pets are not allowed on courses or waiting unattended in personal vehicles.

Cancellation Policy
If you need to cancel, please notify us at least seven days prior to the start of the course and we will process your request minus a $25 processing fee. No refunds, transfers, or credits will be granted after the seven-day date. Please note that we cannot make any exceptions to this refund policy for any reason, including but not limited to medical reasons, illness, travel delays, personal situations, emergencies, or weather. This program depends on registration alone for its funding. While inconvenient, please understand that this policy enables us to sustain our programs even with last minute cancellations. Course fees only cover a portion of Desert Institute program costs.

Academic Credit
Credit is available from UCR Extension, University of California, Riverside. Credit fees are listed separately from noncredit fees. Credit units are based on a quarter system. Credit students may be required to successfully complete assignments or exams. Teachers may apply for Professional Career Development through their school district.

There is a $10 discount per class for JTNPA or PINE members, including those who join when they register. Discounts may not be combined.

Camping & Park Information
 You may reserve campsites on your own by calling 1-877-444-6777, on-line at, or through the Desert Institute. Campground fees will apply. Participants are responsible for their own accommodations and food. Visit the park website for more information. 

Can’t Find a Campsite?

The park has become an extremely popular destination in recent years. Due to this popularity, all park campgrounds usually fill on weekends October through May.

If you arrive too late to get a site in a designated campground, you have the following options:

  • Camp on Bureau of Land Management land outside the park.
  • Go to a private campground or stay in lodging in gateway communities. Please contact area chambers of commerce for information.

Sleeping in your vehicle overnight along the roadside or at a roadside pull off is not allowed and violators may be subject to a citation.

For more information, visit our Camping Outside of the Park page.