Photograph the Cholla Cactus Gardens at Sunrise or Sunset

Riverside County, California

4.3/5
based on 7 reviews

Details

Distance

0.25 miles

Elevation Gain

0 ft

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by Ryan Dewane

Cholla Cactus Garden is home to thousands of cactus with some wildflowers during the right season. This is a great sport for sunrise and sunset as the cacti begin to glow in the light. 

The Cholla Cactus Garden is something everyone can appreciate and enjoy. The trail is in total about a 0.25 loop, but you are certainly free to wander around more. Plan on spending at least 30 minutes to an hour enjoying the scenery.

If you are a photographer, you will be enthralled by the lighting conditions. The garden is located off of Pinto Basin Roa in Joshua Tree. The parking lot is 20 miles north of the Cottonwood Visitor Center and almost impossible to miss as it is surrounded by the thousands of cactus that make the spot so famous.

During the early morning or sunset, the needles on the cactus begin to look like they glow and it creates quite a scene. It is usually not too crowded so it is a great spot to just relax at after a long day of hiking or rock climbing. Jumbo Rocks and White Tank campgrounds are both near by if you are staying in the park overnight.

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Features

Camping
Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

Wander through this garden. Cool to see these so up close. Blue sky backdrop makes for some nice photos. Worth a stop for sure!

The only problem with this trail is, well, it gets a little crowded. But it being out of the main valley, likes he Tuolmne Meadows is (are?) for Yosemite, makes for a less overrun with annoying tourists experience in general. So while we missed the sunrise, we did get some epic shots.

watch your step. i moved to the side as an elderly couple passed and got attacked by the jumping cactus, which is a well earned name, i didn't even get close to one, but sure enough i was picking spines out all day long. still worth 4 stars though

A must see if you are at J Tree. It is awesome!

These "jumping teddy bears" are no joke. My girlfriend got one stuck in her ankle and if it weren't for a few rocks lying around, I'm not sure how we would have gotten the cactus out of her! (nearly a year later and she still has little "scars") Don't let this steer you away, though. Other than the dark skies, shooting these Cholla at sunrise was what I was MOST excited about at Joshua Tree. The color of the sky mixed with the Cholla glow is a photographer's paradise!!

The jumping cholla will get you if you're not extremely careful. It's very easy to pick up a broken-off section of the plant along the trail, so be very diligent about where you step.

After spending a few days in Joshua Tree, we saved this spot for sunrise on the last day. Let me just say that we saved the best for last. As he said, the light coming off the cacti glows in the morning and it is absolutely spectacular! Definitely make sure to visit on your trip to Joshua Tree.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Backcountry Camp in Joshua Tree

Night Shoot at Arch Rock

Camp at Joshua Tree's White Tank Campground

Arch Rock Nature Trail

Camp at Joshua Tree's Jumbo Rocks

Skull Rock Trail at Joshua Tree National Park