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Cholla Cactus Garden
Vacation Travel Guide

Discover the diversity of Joshua Tree National Park on a short walk around a grove of cactus plants that shimmer in the bright sunshine. 

Cholla Cactus Garden is a one-of-a-kind natural attraction and a must-see on a tour of Joshua Tree National Park. Come here to follow a trail through an area filled with photogenic, curiously shaped cholla cacti. The natural garden stands in the Pinto Basin, a barren region just south of the confluence of the lower Colorado Desert and upper Mojave Desert.

Look for the garden’s stars, the many cholla cacti, which thrive on a seasonal water supply from nearby Wilson Canyon. Two nicknames are associated with the plant. One is the Jumping Cholla, referring to the ease at which its spikes detach themselves with slight touches. The other is the Teddy Bear Cholla, due to the fuzzy appearance of the silver-colored spines.

Get close to the plants by walking the 1,312-foot-long (400-meter) Cholla Cactus Garden Trail. Interpretive signs provide information about the cacti and the garden’s other plants, including climbing milkweed, creosote bush and jojoba. After spring or summer rain you might see yellow blooms on the cacti. Because many of the plants do not reach eye level, you will get a good view over much of the extended garden. With flowering plants in the foreground and a mountainous backdrop, you’ll have superb photo opportunities.

As you walk, be careful not to touch the plants because the spines are strong enough to pierce clothing, footwear and skin. Interestingly, the dead spines scattered on the ground are fundamental to the reproductive process. Over time they acquire roots and develop into new plants.

Find the garden about a 30-minute drive north of the Cottonwood Visitor Center. Use the small parking lot at the trailhead. Combine your time at the garden with a visit to other park attractions such as Hidden Valley Nature Trail and Skull Rock.

Cholla Cactus Garden is open year-round. Visit in spring, when the plants are in full bloom. Pay the admission fee for Joshua Tree National Park at one of the park’s four visitor centers or at fee machines that take credit cards and are always open. Find further information on the National Park Service website.

Top Hotels Close to Cholla Cactus Garden

Thar in the Mojave - A Joshua Tree Retreat
Thar in the Mojave - A Joshua Tree Retreat
Twentynine Palms, CA
The price is $129 per night from Dec 7 to Dec 8

Located in Wonder Valley, this romantic vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center, Luckie Park, and Twentynine ...

4/5Very Good! (1 review)
Secluded, peaceful

"I would reccomend arriving during daylight for initial entry as all the steps that were sent would have made it easier to navigate if we could see. 😊 We were able to bring our dog which we enjoyed. It was clean, comfortable, lots if space, beautiful views, quiet. We would have like to open windows ..."…"

Reviewed on Nov 27, 2020

Thar in the Mojave - A Joshua Tree Retreat
Todos Santos JoshuaDesertRetreats
Todos Santos JoshuaDesertRetreats
3 out of 5
81761 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA
Get Rates

Located in Wonder Valley, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center, Luckie Park, and Twentynine Palms Art ...

Todos Santos JoshuaDesertRetreats
Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Twentynine Palms, CA
The price is $140 per night from Jan 4 to Jan 5

Situated in a rural location, this vacation home is 1.3 mi (2 km) from Sky's the Limit Observatory and Nature Center and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Joshua Tree National ...

5/5Exceptional! (17 reviews)
Wonderful week ....

"Wonderful house and wonderful manager. Very close proximity to JTNP and a short drive to the USMC Twentynine Palms Base (our son is stationed there). Exactly as the description stated ... clean, modern, quiet! We have never been to California or the desert before and this experience definitely made ..."…"

Reviewed on Nov 3, 2020

Secluded Desert Retreat Staycation Fast Wifi
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Cholla Cactus Garden Flight + Hotel Deals

The Inn On First
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Reviews of Cholla Cactus Garden

4.8

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
46
5 - Excellent 75.40983606557377%
4 - Good
15
4 - Good 24.59016393442623%
3 - Okay
0
3 - Okay 0%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
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1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

HawaiiGuy808

Oct 12, 2018

Worth the drive, un-real experience. Don't touch!

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Best Lodging Options Near Cholla Cactus Garden

Thar in the Mojave - A Joshua Tree Retreat
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BYO Tent@ Offgrid Joshua Tree Desert Campsite
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M&L Desert Cottage - 3 Miles From the North Entrance of Joshua Tree!
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Modern Oasis Near Joshua Tree National Park
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Adobe by Joshua Desert Retreats
Adobe by Joshua Desert Retreats
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New! Wonder Valley Sky - A Beautiful Modern Joshua Tree Retreat
New! Wonder Valley Sky - A Beautiful Modern Joshua Tree Retreat
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The price is $175 per night from Dec 16 to Dec 17
New! Wonder Valley Sky - A Beautiful Modern Joshua Tree Retreat
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.