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Top Tours

 
Joshua Tree National Park Van Tour
"Take a trip to the unique and pristine desert wonderland of this local national park. In the comfort of a 15-passenger van or enclosed SUV guests will see firsthand the contrast between the Colorado and Mojave Deserts while enjoying a running narration f unique vegetation mining history and wild west stories make this tour a must-see for the Palm Springs visitor. The tour includes stops at the Park Visitor Center for souvenirs Hidden Valley and Keys View for optional nature walks. Tour price includes water snacks entry fee to the park and pickup and drop-off from Palm Desert or select local resorts."""
From $119.00
 
Wildlands Preserve Nature Tour
"This tour starts with an 8am or 1pm departure time from Palm Desert. Along the way you will visit the Coachella Valley Preserve the Morongo Preserve and the Whitewater Preserve. Because of the concentration of water each locale offers a unique contrast to surrounding desert environs. Lush plant life wildlife water and fascinating geology are all part of this tour.Your expert guide will talk about the windmills the San Andreas Fault Indian Culture and whatever else strikes your interest. Wear comfy walking shoes as short
From $119.00
 
Earthquake Canyon Express Downhill Bike Adventure
"The Earthquake Canyon Express – Riders are treated to a geologic extravaganza on this 20 mile tour that descends through the heart of the San Andreas Fault zone on a paved road to the heart of grape country near Mecca. There are no cross roads no turns and very little traffic which makes this a relaxing sightseeing adventure. Riders will see the stark beauty of the desert as they descend a total of 1200 feet over the route.The course takes riders from the transition zone between the Colorado an winds its way through the narrow canyon walls of Box Canyon and finishes with spectacular views of the Salton Sea Mt. San Jacinto the All-American Canal and the agriculture of the eastern Coachella Valley. The tour finishes with a visit to the Oasis Date Gardens for a date shake and restroom break."
From $105.00

Cacti Tips (13)

Cholla Cactus garden

The southeast portion of the park is at a lower elevation than the northwest and is therefore hotter and drier. Here the Joshua tree's give way to other desert plants such as this concentration of Cholla plants

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Jim_Eliason
Jan 03, 2006

Cholla Cactus Garden

Head toward the eastern section of Joshua Tree National Park and you'll find the Cholla Cactus Garden. These cacti are quite common in the eastern Colorado Desert portion of the park and tend to grow in big clumps. The Cholla Cactus Garden is just one such gathering of cacti.

From a distance, these impressive cacti look almost fuzzy. Up close, their long spines are definitely not touchable. Their impressive size and lovely green & brown colors make for great photos, though. At the Cactus Garden, you can stoll along a marked path and admire all the cacti.

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Erin74
Feb 25, 2004

Cholla Cactus Garden

In the eastern part of Joshua Tree NP you will come across the Cholla Cactus Garden. To have a better look at these cactus species you may follow one of the parks 12 nature trails.

From far away, the cactuses look soft and touchable, but all I can say is that these plants do not belong to the cactus family for nothing...

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Alice-Kees
Sep 24, 2003

Cholla Cactus Garden

In the eastern part of park, which is the Colorado Desert, the most widespread plant is the creosote bush but in a few areas you'll be able to see the cholla cactus. The Cholla Cactus Garden is one of these areas where the chollas dominate the landscape due to favorable goundwater conditions. A 1/4 mile loop trail winds through the patches of chollas. You can pick up an instructional leaflet near the entrance ($0.25 donation suggested). You are instructed not to touch the cacti (and I'm sure a lot of people try to hug them) which look fuzzy and inviting - their common name is teddy bear cholla - but they can surely sting. The leaftlet talks about plants and animals of the desert. One interesting and well-adapted little fellow is the desert wood rat which makes its home among the cholla cactus joints.

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Andraf
May 02, 2005
 
 
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The cholla cactus garden

These fuzzy cacti look as if they belong in an episode of star trek. They are fascinating, but very painful. This species is sometimes known as the jumping cholla because the little balls of spines seem to leap from the cactus to the unsuspecting hiker. I have first-hand experience with the jumping cholla (and yes it was very painful) but that will have to wait until I make my Anza-Borrego Desert page.

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zrim
May 05, 2003

Ocotillo Patch

About 1.5 miles farther east from cholla cactus garden you'll find the the Ocotillo Patch (which is actually nothing more than a patch). The Ocotillo is a tall shurb, also a member of the Colorado desert flora. I thought it looked interesting and worth the short stop.

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Andraf
May 02, 2005

Stop

It's a fitting end to a spectacular journey. As the shadows of the gorge grow larger and the sunlight recedes beyond the Hexie Mountains to the west, the head feels abit light but the spirits are still soaring. You realize you've journeyed deep into the heart of lightness. And you're better for it. STOP

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cobrioc
Oct 23, 2002

Cholla Cactus Garden

As you cross out of the Mojave desert and into the Colorado desert, the scenic drive has fewer points to stop at. One of the more impressive ones is this patch of Cholla cacti. The Cholla is also known as the jumping cactus - if you should get too close and brush up against this cactus, the spines will "jump" and stick themselves into you. There are a number of warning signs at the beginning of the trail that leads through the garden to be extremely careful, as you'll get very up close and personal with these along the quarter-mile loop trail. This is an extremely nifty landscape, and a very flat and easy path (although you certainly will probably be a little more aware of you footing so you don't trip and fall into one of these babies!) Some of the cacti are fairly tall, and eventually you end up in a spot where you can see nothing else around you. A highly recommended stop - but not good for small kids or pets.

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PinkFloydActuary
May 26, 2007

Top 5 Joshua Tree National Park Writers

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Basaic

"Joshua Tree National Park"
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JLBG's Profile Photo

JLBG

"Joshua Tree NP, a plants Heaven"
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Andraf's Profile Photo

Andraf

"Funny Trees and More"
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KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

KimberlyAnn

"Joshua Tree National Park by Kimberlyann"
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cobrioc's Profile Photo

cobrioc

"Deep Into the Heart of Lightness"
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Cholla Cactus Gardens

Take the drive from the North Entrance Station to Cottonwood Visitor Center. Along the way you will see the Cholla Cactus Garden on the right side of the road. This is an unusually dense area of Teddy Cholla Cactus. We have see Teddy Bear Cholla in a number of deserts, but we have never seen so many in one area. And what is really strange is that there are hardly any in the other areas of the park.

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KimberlyAnn
Apr 28, 2005

Cholla Cactus Garden

By far the most dense area of cacti in the entire park, the cholla cactus garden is a quick stop as you ride along Pinto Basin Road. The trail is set and you take a quick walk around while checking out the large amount of cactus. It's worth taking a stop just to see so much of them at once.

There is a small brochure you can purchase on site that provides information as you walk through.

RblWthACoz
Jan 28, 2006

Garden Display

There is a small garden showcasing plants indigenous to this area near the Oasis Visitors Center. I find the wide variety of cacti in the desert and the way they adapted to their environment fascinating.

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Basaic
Aug 07, 2015

Cholla Cactus Garden

The Cholla is sometimes called a "jumping cactus" because of the way it catches onto unwary passersby. One of the more interesting things to see in the park is the "Cholla Cactus Garden", a short relaxing walk through a grove of these cacti complete with an informative guide and educational signs. Just watch out for the cactus and make sure it does not jump on you.

Basaic's Profile Photo
Basaic
Feb 08, 2013

Things to Do Near Joshua Tree National Park

Things to Do

Ryan Mountain

The Ryan Mountain trail is a 3 miles roundtrip leading to probably the best views in the park. The trail begins at Ryan Mountain parking area and climbs steadily. With a 1000-foot elevation gain over...
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Things to Do

Barker Dam

Barker Dam itself was a bit of a letdown and was not nearly as interesting as the trail leading to it. Barker Dam began as a catch basin to store water for the ranchers in the area. It was made into a...
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Things to Do

Skull Rock

This rock vaguely resembles a human skull. it's right off the main road in the jumbo rocks area. it was created from wind and rain erosion. There is a short 1.7 mile trail that originates from here,...
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Things to Do

Living Desert Zoo

Having seen wildlife happy and active in their native habitats many times, I'm less interested in visiting zoos these days. Moreover, I lived in San Diego for eight years and visited the world's...
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Things to Do

Living Desert Botanical Gardens

Much of the effort of The Living Desert is to impress upon visitors the value of desert habitat. Along the walk that visits the zoo, there are a number of garden spots with desert botanicals, some of...
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Getting to Joshua Tree National Park

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