View the Cholla Cactus Gardens at Sunset
The Cholla Cactus Garden is a spectacular sight to see. There are nearly 10 acres of landscape dominated by the teddybear cholla. These furry cactus are anything but cuddly, so don’t get too close! The prickly part will attach to your skin very easily, and it hurts like hell to get them out. It’s best to see this sight at sunrise or sunset so you can see how these fuzzy plants light up in the glow!
0.2 mile flat and well-marked loop trail
Parking Lot at the Cholla Cactus Garden Trailhead
You’ll need to pay for a National Park Pass to visit since this is inside Joshua Tree National Park. You can do so on entry to the park at the rangers station.
When To Go
The best time to see these teddy bear Chollas are at sunrise or sunset when thier furry little spikes glow in the sun.
Park your car, then head out on one of the two diverging entrances to the trail. Either way you go, it will loop around back to the parking lot.
There are a few wooden bridges along the path crossing over the sandy washes.
Tip: Bring a first aid kit
We got here about 45 minutes before sunrise and it was a gorgeous sight to see. If you want to view it with less people, go at sunrise instead.
The light on the needles lights up the garden and is a really unique sight in Joshua Tree.
If you go at sunset and decide to head back out the Twenty-one Palms Park Entrance (northeast), make reservations in advance for Kitchen in the Desert, a lovely Caribbean restaurant that just opened up and has all the desert vibes and delicious food.
If you decide to go for sunrise, dress in layers (the desert gets cold!) and be prepared to wait for the morning glow.
For a more comprehensive guide on Joshua Tree, read City Guide Joshua Tree: A Rustic Desert Escape.