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

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

5 thoughts on “Day Trip #11: The Cholla Cactus Garden at Joshua Tree National Park”

  1. Joanne Barton

    Love The Cholla Cactus Garden at Joshua Tree National Park. The first time my husband and I drove through the park we totally missed the garden. We use it to cut through from Southern CA to Palm Springs and up to Northern CA. But we were sure to stop the next time we passed through.
    I love the desert more than my husband but I still encourage him to return every year. I have some great pictures of the Cholla Cactus at sunset and they just sparkle.
    This is my first time here so not sure how to attach a picture to this site.
    We ran into Mt. Whitney by mistake by taking a wrong turn in the dessert farther south. I love the eastern desert of the state. It is just beautiful. and the Mount Whitney area is full of exploration. I highly extend an invite to anyone who loves to explore and the high desert is wonderful. You will find it hard to get to Mt Whitney if you wish to climb as they do not clear the portals to the mountain. We just drove or hiked as far as we could but the area is a very peaceful place for all. Their is basically a one street town with restaurants sharing days that they are open to give them all a chance for service. Thanks Lyn for writing about this beautiful and peaceful place.
    Northern California

  2. Hi Lynn:

    I have long tapped-in and out of to reinforce and remind myself of various facts, locatins, etc and I figured it was about time to simply say Thank You Very Much for your wonderful website and for all the things that you do for our deserts.

    We lived in San Diego for 20 years and made several trips to Anza Borrego SP, Johshua Tree NP, Death Valley too. We originally hail from the Sacramento area, but, in my job, my wife and I have moved around a lot in the last 42 years. Now, we are way back here in Easton, Pennsylvania where I was transferred a few years ago – there’s more to the story than that, but I don’t want to bore you to tears. We plan to return to the west as soon as we can….as beautiful as the east is, we don’t want to “die here” 🙂

    So I hope you don’t mind if I become a more regular participant and viewer..I know how much work it is to put detailed information together like you do for your articles, so let me just say Bravo and thanks again Lynn!

    Best Wishes

    Denny and Barbara Jump
    Easton, PA

  3. My Mom went to Scotland to look up our family history. I’ll ask her where she went and where our family lived in Scotland. Thanks for the note! Lynn

  4. hey im lynn bremner, im from huntly in the shire, scotland. lots of bremners here and most of us are ginger xx

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