Pinto Basin Road Project Complete At Joshua Tree National Park

The Pinto Basin Road rehabilitation project improved the turnout at the Cholla Cactus Garden. NPS photo.

A much-needed rehabilitation of the Pinto Basin Road in Joshua Tree National Park has been completed, providing visitors with a safer road and improving drainage and turnouts.

The project, which began in February and required the relocation of roughly 800 cholla cacti, was celebrated on July 15 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Cholla Cactus Garden along the road.

The project repaired a dozen miles of the Pinto Basin Road. It improved road stability by reconditioning the road surface, improving and rehabilitating drainage features, repairing flood damaged segments of roadway, realigning short segments to improve traffic visibility, and making minor adjustments to the road width to accommodate today’s wider vehicles and more safely allow bicycles to use the road shoulder.

The project also corrected longstanding traffic safety problems at the heavily visited Cholla Cactus Garden. Other vista points and turnouts were also enhanced.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Joshua Tree Superintendent Mark Butler said the project was completed "under budget, ahead of schedule, and with minimal effect to park visitors.”

A primary goal of the project was to protect park resources and limit inconvenience to park visitors during the busy spring visitation and construction period. Improvements along the road also include easier access to interpretative waysides and scenic viewpoints.

Several of the parking pullouts will now safely accommodate the many charter and school buses that visit the park, as well as the larger recreational vehicles. Safety-oriented road realignment near the Cholla Cactus Garden required the relocation of approximately 800 teddy bear cholla cactus, also known as jumping cholla. Transplant of these cacti will occur next fall.