Cholla Cactus Garden Joshua Tree LA

Cholla Cactus Garden Joshua Tree


From the issue Joshua Jamboree

Teddy Bear Garden

You're probably familiar with warm fuzzies and cold pricklies, but have you ever heard of fuzzy pricklies? One of Joshua Tree's most endearing oddities is a naturally high concentration of the cuddliest looking cactuses around. Get up close to hundreds of these fuzzy-looking 3-footers on a quarter-mile self-guided nature trail in the Cholla Cactus Garden, located near the geographic center of the park. Cholla (pronounced choy-ya) are brown on the bottom and tan on top, earning them the nickname teddy bear cactus. Just don't snuggle up to them. Their spines are armed with a microfiber barb—yowza! Cholla do, however, make nice with one species: yellow flowers bursting from their tops can attract an entourage of bees. To avoid getting pricked—or stung—stick to the main trail. Garden's got good buzz.

WHERE TO STAY: Mojave Sands (62121 29 Palms Highway in Joshua Tree) is a fully refurbished, eco-chic motel near the park's west entrance. Each of the five motel rooms has a private patio, and its two suites have steam showers (one of the suites even has a private outdoor shower for those who like things au naturel). In lieu of televisions, rooms are equipped with a turntable and records—an interesting spin on good old-fashioned entertainment! There are also nine campgrounds in the park, most of which are first come, first served. Four campgrounds take online reservations, including Indian Cove Campground. White Tank Campground is closest to the Cactus Garden, located just 7 miles east on Pinto Basin Road.

Cholla Cactus Garden is located on Pinto Basin Rd., 12 miles east of Park Blvd. and 20 miles west of the Cottonwood Visitor Center (near Lost Palms Oasis Trail). Park in the lot on the south side of the road and follow the nature trail through the cactus garden.

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