• Above Golden Canyon

    Death Valley

    National Park CA,NV

There are park alerts in effect.
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    Expect high temperatures of 100 to 120 degrees F on your summer visit to Death Valley. Heat related illness is a real possibility. Drink plenty of water and carry extra. Avoid activity in the heat. Travel prepared to survive. Watch for signs of trouble. More »

  • Zabriskie Point to close for repairs

    Starting October 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, all access to Zabriskie Point and surrounding area will be closed for major rehabilitation work to repair unstable support walls and improve conditions. CA Hwy 190 will remain open to through traffic.

Cacti / Desert Succulents

Cacti and Joshua Tree
Pineapple Cactus, Joshua Tree and Cholla

The Mojave Desert is rich with cacti and succulent species, yet in Death Valley National Park they are scarce due to the extremes of heat, dryness and soil salinity. Even so, cactus grow from an elevation of 400 feet above sea level to the summits of the surrounding mountains.

The cactus species most commonly seen are cottontop barrel, silver cholla, and beavertail cactus. Engelmann hedgehog cactus are locally abundant above 3000 feet elevation. Grizzly bear pricklypear is the most common species in the pinyon-juniper woodlands.

Joshua trees--the indicator species of the Mojave Desert--are found in only a few locations here. The Lee Flat area contains the finest stand in the park.

In contrast to other succulent species, pickleweed is very salt-tolerant and can be found in marshy areas below sea level.

Barrel Cactus

  • California Barrel Cactus
    Ferocactus cylindraceus var. lecontei
  • Cottontop Barrel Cactus
    Echinocactus polycephalus
  • Mojave Pineapple Cactus
    Sclerocactus johnsonii
  • Mojave Fishhook Cactus
    Sclerocactus polyancistrus

Hedgehog Cactus

  • Engelmann Hedgehog Cactus
    Echinocereus engelmannii
  • Mojave Mound Cactus
    Echinocereus triglochidiatus var. mojavensis

Pincushion Cactus

  • Desert Spinystar
    Escobaria vivipara var. deserti
  • Corkseed Fishhook Cactus
    Mammillaria tetrancistra

Pricklypear Cactus

  • Beavertail Cactus
    Opuntia basilaris
  • Old Man Pricklypear
    Opuntia erinacea var. erinacea
  • Grizzly Bear Pricklypear
    Opuntia erinacea var. ursina
  • Mojave Pricklypear
    Opuntia mojavensis
  • Brown-spined Pricklypear
    Opuntia phaeacantha var. major
  • Plains Pricklypear
    Opuntia polycantha var. rufispina

Cholla Cactus

  • Silver Cholla
    Opuntia echinocarpa
  • Pencil Cholla
    Opuntia ramosissima


  • Joshua Tree
    Yucca brevifolia
  • Mojave Yucca
    Yucca schidigera

Other Succulents

  • Pickleweed
    Allenrolfea occidentalis
  • Dead Man’s Fingers (annual)
    Calandrinia ambigua
  • Western Spring Beauty
    Claytonia lanceolata
  • Panamint Live-forever
    Dudleya saxosa ssp. saxosa
  • Bitterroot
    Lewisia rediviva
  • Inkweed
    Suaeda moquinii

Did You Know?

The salt stretches across the floor of Death Valley

The salt pan on the floor of Death Valley covers more than 200 square miles. It is 40 miles long and more than 5 miles wide.