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!

Tip: There is a great Self-Driving Audio Tour on Get Your Guide for the National Park if you enjoy having a historical background on the gold prospecting and cattle rustling of Joshua Tree’s past.

Walk Info

  • 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.

Just For Fun Park Tees

It’s always fun to get a tank or tee with the National Park name on it for photos. If you purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no added cost to you. Thank you for supporting this travel blog with your purchase!

The Walk

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.


More Tips

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.

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Dine at Twentynine Palms Kitchen in the Desert


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