Cholla Cactus Garden

#5 in Best Things To Do in Joshua Tree National Park
Cholla Cactus Garden picture1 of 3
Cholla Cactus Garden2 of 3
Carolyn Hebbard/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.2

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Cholla Cactus Garden, located about 12 miles south of the park's North Entrance, is home to one of the few stands of cholla cactus in the park. The short, quarter-mile Cholla Cactus Garden Nature Trail is a flat loop, which takes visitors to see the plants, of which the "teddy bear cholla" is the main attraction.

Identifying the teddy bear cholla is easy. It has densely interlaced yellow spines, tightly clustered stems and a dark lower trunk. Another name for this cactus is "jumping cholla," because the stem-joints, which have tiny barbs on the spines, easily latch on to anything near it. Make sure to stay a healthy distance away, as the barbs are painful to remove, according to recent visitors, who say look, but don't touch the fuzzy-looking cactus.

Entrance to the garden is free. Visit the NPS website for more information about the other cacti species you'll spot.

More Best Things To Do in Joshua Tree National Park

Rock Climbing1 of 12
Stargazing2 of 12
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Rock Climbing

Climbers flock to Joshua Tree from around the world to tackle the literally thousands of routes open to them. There are challenges for all ability levels, with more than 8,000 climbing routes, 2,000 boulder problems and hundreds of natural gaps to choose from. Because Joshua Tree has its own particular set of safety issues, from high temperatures to remote climbing spots, it pays to do your homework first. If you're unfamiliar with the park, you'll want to purchase a climbing guide and hiking map, which are available at park visitor centers and online.

Certified guides can also lead you on climbs and provide a great way to explore in safety. If you do hire a climbing guide, make sure that they are permitted to work in Joshua Tree National Park. Each guide is required to have rock guiding certifications through the Professional Climbing Guides Institute, the American Mountain Guides Association or similar organizations. They are also required to be certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR and must carry insurance.

Read more
Moelyn Photos/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Joshua Tree National Park »

Explore More of Joshua Tree National Park

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

CDC Coronavirus Travel Updates: What to Know About Current Travel Restrictions

Cruises suspend sailings; hotels, airlines tweak cancellation policies; see the latest CDC travel advisories.

What Will Happen to My Elite Status and Points Because of the Coronavirus?

Limited travel due to the coronavirus prompts airline and hotel rewards programs to make policy changes.

14 Top Jigsaw Puzzles, Games and Books to Keep Travelers Entertained

Even though you're stuck at home, you can still indulge your wanderlust with these activities.

15 Top Cookbooks to Buy

Travel to far-flung destinations and enjoy international food without leaving home.

The 12 Best Language-Learning Apps, Programs and Online Courses

Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill.

The 13 Best Sedona Tours

Get lost in the magic of Sedona's red rocks on these top adventures.

What is an Ecolodge? 21 Top Eco Resorts and Eco Hotels Around the World

Luxury meets environmental welfare at these top-notch ecolodges.

The 12 Best Puerto Rico Tours

Experience island living at its best on one of these guided trips.

I Went On a Cruise During the Coronavirus Pandemic. This Is What Happened.

Coronavirus concerns, itinerary changes and uncertainty lead to an unusual vacation.

5 Travel-Themed Activities to Do at Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Use these suggestions to fill the travel void amid the pandemic.