Sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden


One of the many points of interest I explored in Joshua Tree during my early 2020 visit was the Cholla Cactus Garden…because who doesn’t love navigating a path through super-spikey cacti before dawn?

Just before sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park

It was one of those situations where those who wandered off the marked path had to proceed with caution. Chollas are notoriously sneaky and can seem to make their spikes jump out and grab you. They don’t actually jump out at you, but they do stick to almost anything they touch…clothing, shoes…skin (ouch).

Sunrise glow just starting to hit one of two young chollas

Needless to say, I moved very slowly to capture my shots that morning, especially before the sun broke over the distant mountains. The Cholla Cactus Garden can be treacherous, but also, shockingly beautiful when the light catches the edges of the cacti with an early morning glow.

Early morning sunlight on a cholla cactus skeleton
Sun beams peaking through at the Cholla Cactus Garden

The early morning glow was truly spectacular, but as the sun rose higher, the lighting changed and breakfast was calling.

The Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park is an interesting place to see and photograph…but seriously, watch out for those spikey things! Learn more about this corner of Joshua Tree here.

Cholla Cactus Garden Capture and Processing Notes

All photos in this series were captured with my Canon 6D and either my 24-105 or 70-200 lens. Processing was done in Lightroom Classic and Photoshop.

More Joshua Tree Photos

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