Joshua Tree NP – Cholla Cactus Garden Trail


What? : Located at the Colorado desert lower elevation section of the park the Cholla Cactus Garden Nature Trail is flat easy to hike short loop trail leads hikers through nearly 10 acres of dense Cholla cactus growing (cactus nickname: “Teddy Bear”).


Related blogs:

Joshua Tree National Park – Visit planning

Joshua Tree NP – Keys View

Joshua Tree NP – Geology Road (4x4 drive)

Joshua Tree NP – Barker Dam Nature Trail

Joshua Tree NP – Hidden Valley Nature Trail

Joshua Tree NP – Arch Rock Nature Trail



Where? : The Cholla Cactus Garden is the main attraction on Pinto Basin Road, 20  miles north from Cottonwood Visitor Center, 10 miles south from the junction with Park Blvd road. you will not be able to miss the parking lot on the south side of the road.

Google Map Link


When ? : Late fall, winter and spring is the preferred time to visit the Mojave desert, summer is hot.


Due note 1: Water - Always take more than what you think you need, this is desert and temperature can be hot, in summer this is extremely hot environment. There is no water available in the park.


Due note 2: Pets are not permitted on any trails in the park, except for the paved Oasis of Mara Trail.


Due note 3: There is limited cell service in Joshua Tree National Park, so make sure to have a park map on hand.


Due note 4: No gas service in the park, there are many options near the north and west entrance to the park, make sure you have enough gas when driving into the park especially if you are driving down to Highway I-10.


Due note 5: Most of Joshua Tree trails have little to no cover from the sun, make sure you are coming prepared especially at the hot summer.


Due note 6: Please read the Safety Tips section in my main park and visit planning blog.


Due note 7: This is probably the best and most popular sunrise location in the park. The first beam of light coming from the east, over the lower mountain ridge and the open valley below and paint the Cholla Cactus silhouette with warm, red, and orange color.

I came here at 3am and went to sleep for 2 hours and when I woke up at 5:15am there where already few other cars in the parking lot, just before 6am the parking lot was full, and all were waiting for the 7am sunrise.


Due note 8: Joshua Tree National Park has 24 access; you can travel in the park at night or before sunrise.


Due note 9: At winter evenings and nights it can be windy and cold, come with the right clothing.


Due note 10: Please read the Safety Tips section in my main park and visit planning blog.


My thoughts: Many years back I live in Phoenix AZ for few years so Cactus are no stranger to me. I saw the Cholla Cactus in many places, but this is probably the most concentrated place there is, a large area covered with tall Cholla Cactus Garden.

I even had first encounter with their ability to be harmful, once they got attached to your cloth or skin their spines are very painful to be removed, so be careful. The winter sunrise was impressive as expected and I had fun here trying to take pictures different cactus combinations.


The visit:


From the parking lot few easy to walk trails lead you through the garden of the “Teddy Bear” Cholla.

This quarter-mile loop provides access to an intense concentration of cholla cacti.

Not a lot more to write about this place, just walk among the tall cactus and enjoy the view.


Blume time: March–May


Even if you are not coming at sunrise and you are driving in or out from the park the short and easy hike through Cholla Cactus Garden is well worth the stop.








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