Cholla Cactus Garden
Joshua Tree National Park, California
This short self-guided nature loop takes you through a bizarre landscape of cholla cactus, also called teddy bear cactus or jumping cholla, because the needles can attach themselves to anything that comes near them, hence the “jumping” nickname. An especially unnerving highlight of this hike was the pile of cactus spines at the base of one of these cacti that turned out to be a desert rat’s nest—a little creepy, but a really cool fact to know! In addition to the amazing variety of desert vegetation, the vistas of the landscape—including great views of the Pinto Mountains—along this trail are incredible.