A Hidden Adventure: The Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden

Cactus Garden Header

Have you been to the Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden?

If you have a thing for cactus or just want a stroll in a lovely garden, I highly recommend a visit to the Stanford Arizona Cactus garden. Its a hidden gem on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, CA. 

If you’ve never been to Stanford’s campus,  you are in for a treat. Stanford is one of the world’s leading research universities and is   known for many things. But very few people know about the Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden. The campus is quite beautiful and has a Rodin sculpture garden, lots of historical monuments, and the very special Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden.

Some History About
The Stanford
Arizona Cactus Garden

Originally, Jane and Leland Stanford commissioned the design of The Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden by landscape architect Rudolf Ulrich in 1881. They planned on building a beautiful home surrounded by a manmade lake and lovely gardens.

Sadly, their only son died of typhoid fever at the age of 15, in 1884. Consequently, they never built the home, or the lake, and instead named a university after their late son, Leland Jr.


Now, move your car across the road and treat yourself to some lunch and shopping at the awesome Stanford Shopping Center!

The Stanford Arizona Cactus Garden later became a popular place for Stanford students to stroll through, but over time, garden was sorely neglected. Thankfully, in 1997, a group of volunteers began renovating and preserving the historic garden.

It is so pleasant, calming, and simple. No fees, no fuss, no crowds and very covid friendly! And plenty of great photo spots!

There are over 500 cacti and succulents in this small garden. It’s a little patch of Arizona in northern California!

Plan on roaming out of the garden to see The Stanford Family Mausoleum with Sphinxes and another memorial of the Angel of Grief statue nearby.

Know before you go

The garden is tucked into campus a bit, so Siri may have you pulling into random driveways. It is located on the south side of the mausoleum off of Quarry Road between Campus Drive and Arboretum Road. The best place to park is in a parking lot near the corner of Welch Road and Quarry Road. There is a path into the garden from Quarry Road.



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

Packing List