Cholla Cactus Garden is one of Joshua Tree National Park’s 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 the trail.
A pamphlet at the trailhead provides more information about this unique desert plant. The short easy hike through Cholla Cactus Garden is well worth the stop.
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: 33.9253, -115.9289 (33° 55′ 31″N 115° 55′ 44″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding California Desert trails and campgrounds.
|Mastodon Peak |
This 2.6-mile loop visits a 3,400-foot summit with panoramic views of southeastern Joshua Tree.
|Lost Palms Oasis |
This 7.2-mile hike visits a desert oasis nestled between mountains in the southeast corner of the park.
|Bajada Trail |
This level 0.3-mile nature trail loop explores the plants living on a desert bajada.
|Desert 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 |
This level 1.5-mile loop visits a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks.
|Fortynine Palms Oasis |
The 3-mile round trip hike visits a cool desert oasis.
|Hidden Valley |
This one mile loop circles the interior of a small valley surrounded by tall rocks that serves as an excellent bouldering arena.
|Indian Cove |
The 101-site campground is home to a 0.6-mile interpretive trail and endless bouldering and rock climbing opportunities.
|Ryan Mountain |
This 3-mile hike offers summit views from the center of Joshua Tree National Park.
|Lost Horse Mine |
This 4-mile round trip hike visits a well-preserved mine and mill.
|Warren Peak |
This 5.5-mile hike summits a peak with impressive views over the west side of Joshua Tree.
|High View Nature Trail |
This 1 1/3-mile loop climbs a ridge on the west side of the park that offers views of San Gorgonio Mountain and Yucca Valley, along with an introduction to desert plants.
|Lucky Boy Vista |
This level 2.5-mile hike visits a modest overlook at the site of an old mine.
|Arch Rock |
This 0.3-mile loop visits a natural arch in the granite formations around White Tank Campground.
|Inspiration 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.
|Hikes 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.
|Joshua Tree Campgrounds |
Nine campgrounds with 500 total sites are spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
|Joshua Tree Wildflowers |
The desert in bloom is something any outdoor enthusiast in California should see.