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Cholla Cactus Garden

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.


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Top Cholla Cactus Garden Hotel & Accommodation Deals

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Todos Santos JoshuaDesertRetreats
Todos Santos JoshuaDesertRetreats

Todos Santos JoshuaDesertRetreats

81761 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    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 Gallery. 29 Palms Historical Society and Twentynine Palms Visitor Center are also within 12 mi (20 km).

    Godwin Ranch by Joshua Desert Retreats
    Godwin Ranch by Joshua Desert Retreats

    Godwin Ranch by Joshua Desert Retreats

    5188 Godwin Road, Twentynine Palms, CA
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Wonder Valley, this vacation home is within 9 mi (15 km) of Luckie Park, Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center, and Smith's Ranch Drive-In Theater. Twentynine Palms Art Gallery and 29 Palms Historical Society are also within 9 mi (15 km).

      Adobe by Joshua Desert Retreats
      Adobe by Joshua Desert Retreats

      Adobe by Joshua Desert Retreats

      5148 Godwin Road, Twentynine Palms, CA
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Wonder Valley, this vacation home is within 9 mi (15 km) of Luckie Park, Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center, and Smith's Ranch Drive-In Theater. Twentynine Palms Art Gallery and 29 Palms Historical Society are also within 9 mi (15 km).

        Back-Of-Beyond by Joshua Desert Retreats
        Back-Of-Beyond by Joshua Desert Retreats

        Back-Of-Beyond by Joshua Desert Retreats

        4190 Kern Road, Twentynine Palms, CA
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Wonder Valley, this vacation home is 11.3 mi (18.2 km) from Luckie Park and 11.5 mi (18.4 km) from Smith's Ranch Drive-In Theater. Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center and Twentynine Palms Art Gallery are also within 16 mi (25 km).

          Mojave Trails Inn and Suites NZ$110
          Mojave Trails Inn and Suites

          Mojave Trails Inn and Suites

          73842 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in a national park, this inn is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Twentynine Palms Visitor Center and 1.3 mi (2 km) from Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center. 29 Palms Historical Society and Twentynine Palms Art Gallery are also within 15 minutes.

            Rancho Mesa by Joshua Desert Retreats
            Rancho Mesa by Joshua Desert Retreats

            Rancho Mesa by Joshua Desert Retreats

            80322 Mesa Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Wonder Valley, this vacation home is within 12 mi (20 km) of Luckie Park, Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center, and Smith's Ranch Drive-In Theater. Twentynine Palms Art Gallery and 29 Palms Historical Society are also within 12 mi (20 km).

              El Rancho Dolores Motel at Joshua Tree National Park NZ$102
              El Rancho Dolores Motel at Joshua Tree National Park

              El Rancho Dolores Motel at Joshua Tree National Park

              73352 29 Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, CA
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Twentynine Palms, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of 29 Palms Historical Society, Tortoise Rock Casino, and Knott Sky Park. Joshua Tree National Park North Entrance is 6.4 mi (10.3 km) away.

                Witt's End by Joshua Desert Retreats
                Witt's End by Joshua Desert Retreats

                Witt's End by Joshua Desert Retreats

                80951 Witt Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Wonder Valley, this vacation home is 11.8 mi (19 km) from Luckie Park and 11.9 mi (19.2 km) from Smith's Ranch Drive-In Theater. Joshua Tree National Park Oasis Visitor Center and Twentynine Palms Art Gallery are also within 16 mi (25 km).