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
4.2scorecard
  • 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
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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.

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