The Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park is a pretty strange, unusual, and unique sight to see. Especially since you’ll be driving through vast flat land and all of a sudden there is a garden of cacti. It’s seem to appear out of the middle of nowhere! And the cool thing is guys, the cacti is growing here naturally!
At the cactus garden you can walk a .25 mile trail that weaves in between thousands of cholla cacti. I really enjoy this location of the park and I highly suggest a visit. However, if you are visiting with small children keep an eye on them, this isn’t a good place to be wandering off. (We’ll talk about that later.)
How To Get Here
If you enter the park through the entrance off Hwy 62 by the Joshua Tree Visitor Center this is a very peculiar drive that I personally recommend. The Cholla Cactus Garden is roughly 34 miles from the Visitor Center but the drive is well worth it. I promise!
What’s cool about the drive is that you go through two different desert zones. Each one has an extremely different landscape with different plants and animals dwelling in the area. First is the Mojave desert which features the ever famous Joshua Tree. This area is cooler and higher in elevation. Then you enter the Colorado desert where you find the Cholla Cactus Garden. Here the elevation is lower and the climate is warmer. It’s a very interesting transition to go from one desert to the other!
What You Need To Know
Don’t touch the cacti. Okay, I’m not joking when I say these lil guys are dangerous. The cacti are known as “jumping” cholla meaning they will find a way to go home with you. And they HURT!
They’re also given the nickname teddy bear cholla which just seems so cruel considering they’re no where near snuggle material. I’ve never had one of these naughty little guys try to attack me, but I have seen them “jump” in real life. There was pain, anger, and even some blood.
I know they look cute they have teddy bear in their nickname for goodness sake. They also aren’t very tall in size, so you think they are friendly and fun to play in, but they aren’t. Be careful.
Cholla Cactus Garden Tips
- Lot of resources say this is an awesome sunrise spot.
- Stay on the trail to minimize the risk of a cactus attack.
- Closed toe shoes are a must.
- Pronounced choy-a.
- Spring is usually the best time to visit the garden this is when the cacti will be blooming.
More Cholla Cactus Garden Resources
- This is what you DON’T want to happen. No joke! Cholla Cactus Attack!
- Love Your RV: Cholla Cactus Garden Visit Video
- Department of Wandering features AMAZING images of the Cholla Cactus Garden at sunrise
- Roadtrippers ultimate Joshua Tree Guide
- My first visit to the Cholla Cactus Garden
- Tips for photos in the National Park
Remember Look but Don’t Touch. Adventure Awaits!