Joshua Tree Cholla Cactus Garden

The Cholla Cactus Garden is one of Joshua Tree National Park’s true one-of-a-kind features. Located at the merger of the upper Mojave Desert and the lower Colorado Desert, this level quarter-mile loop provides access to an intense concentration of cholla cacti.

Perhaps the cutest cactus on the planet, the cholla has been nicknamed the “teddy bear” cactus, but this is one teddy bear you do not want to hug! The cactus is covered in spines that will latch in to your skin on the slightest touch. This defense mechanism is effective for desert survival but can create an unpleasant experience for those who don’t stick to to the trail. There is a pamphlet at the trailhead that provides more information about this unique desert plant. The short easy hike is well worth the stop.

Joshua Tree Cholla Garden
Cholla Cactus Garden

To get to the trailhead: The Cholla Cactus Garden is the main attraction on Pinto Basin Road on the way to Cottonwood Springs (and the trailhead to Lost Palms Oasis). From Park Boulevard, take Pinto Basin Road for 12 miles. The Cactus Garden is on the south side of the road.

Trailhead address: Pinto Basin Road, Joshua Tree National Park, CA 92277
Trailhead coordinates: 33.925302, -115.928777 (33° 55′ 31.08″N 115° 55′ 43.59″W)

Use the map below to create your own directions:


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Photos

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These photos were taken in May of 2006 and April of 2010. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Mastodon Peak TrailMastodon Peak
This 2.6-mile loop visits a 3,400-foot summit with panoramic views of southeastern Joshua Tree.
Lost Palms Oasis TrailLost Palms Oasis
This 7.2-mile hike visits a desert oasis nestled between mountains in the southeast corner of the park.
Bajada TrailBajada Trail
This level 0.3-mile nature trail loop explores the plants living on a desert bajada.
Desert Queen Mine TrailDesert Queen Mine
This 1.6-mile hike follows a level trail to an overlook before crossing a canyon to visits the ruins of one the most profitable gold mines in the California desert.
Barker Dam TrailBarker Dam
This level 1.5-mile loop visits a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks.
Joshua Tree Oasis TrailFortynine Palms Oasis
The 3-mile round trip hike visits a cool desert oasis.
Hidden Valley TrailHidden Valley
This one mile loop circles the interior of a small valley surrounded by tall rocks that serves as an excellent bouldering arena.
India Cove TrailIndian Cove
The 101-site campground is home to a 0.6-mile interpretive trail and endless bouldering and rock climbing opportunities.
Ryan Mountain TrailRyan Mountain
This 3-mile round-trip hike offers summit views from the center of Joshua Tree National Park.
Lost Horse Mine TrailLost Horse Mine
This 4-mile round-trip trail visits a well-preserved mine and mill.
Warren Peak TrailWarren Peak
This 5.5-mile hike summits a peak with impressive views over the west side of Joshua Tree.
Lucky Boy Vista TrailLucky Boy Vista
This level 2.5-mile hike visits a modest overlook at the site of an old mine.
Arch Rock Hike Joshua TreeArch Rock
This 0.3-mile loop visits a natural arch in the granite formations around White Tank Campground.
Keys View TrailInspiration Peak
This 1.2-mile hike leaves the crowds at Keys View for even grander views at a 5,550-foot summit that looks out on the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea, Mount San Jacinto, and much of Joshua Tree National Park.
California TrailsHikes in the California Desert
Explore more trails in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Mojave National Preserve.
Camping
Joshua Tree CampingJoshua Tree Campgrounds
There are nine campgrounds with 500 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
Wildflowers
Joshua Tree WildflowersJoshua Tree Wildflowers
The desert in bloom is something any outdoor enthusiast in California should see.
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Distance: 0.25 miles – Elevation change: 5 feet

One Comment on Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park

  1. Gene Poe says:

    DO NOT GET NEAR THESE! I know! If you only bush against those devils, they get into your skin, and have little hooks that you can’t pull out! I have two small ones, that I don’t even get near! You have been warn!

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