Day Trip #11: The Cholla Cactus Garden at Joshua Tree National Park

Lynn Bremner
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The Cholla Cactus Garden along the Pinto Basin Rd. in Joshua Tree NP.

The Cholla Cactus Garden along the Pinto Basin Rd. in Joshua Tree NP.

Day Trip #11: The Cholla Cactus Garden
By Lynn Bremner

Location: Joshua Tree National Park along Pinto Basin Rd.

The Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park is a wonderland of Cholla cactus. You’ll find the garden along Pinto Basin Road, which runs through the heart of the park. A sea of green, silver and gold, the cactus garden provides a rare and beautiful experience. Walk from the parking area to the short nature trail, meander through the Cholla and enjoy observing the fuzzy joints of this unusual cactus.

The species of Cholla that grows in the garden is scientifically named Opuntia bigelovii, but often called Teddy Bear Cholla or Jumping Cholla. The latter name was derived from the way the joints break off — very easily after being only slightly bumped or disturbed. Watch the ground carefully as you walk for these stray bits! New cactus start growing from the broken-off joints, and the garden continues to grow and renew itself.

A Cholla Cactus.

A Cholla Cactus.

If you are interested in photography this is a great location to get some sunset photos. The silvery-gold sheen of the spines as the light glints through their sheathes, and the shape of the Cholla, make for some spectacular shots when the sun starts to drop. If you visit the park, the Cholla Garden should be on your list of things to see and do. The nature trail only takes about 10 minutes to walk through and the photos you get will be well worth the time!

Related links and information:

Click here to view a video – Cholla Cactus Garden


Lynn Bremner

Lynn Bremner is the author of, a blog about desert road trips and tips. She started the blog after moving to Indio, CA where she now resides. Now a true desert dweller, Lynn has added in some of her own views on desert living. The heat does not keep her indoors in the summertime. She is out running, golfing or taking short day trips to some of the local points of interest. After years of traveling along the dusty, desert trails with her father, she has come to appreciate the beauty and solitude of the desert landscape. Her father’s passion for prospecting, desert lore and exploring the desert parks took their family to many interesting places, mostly in California, Nevada and Arizona. Lynn now writes about her desert road trips and intertwines a little bit of desert living into the mix. In addition to the DesertRoadTrippin’ blog, Lynn also writes articles and produces content for the, Empire Polo Lifestyle Magazine and

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