Antelope Valley: Wikis


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A truck passes eastbound along the busy Highway 138 through the Antelope Valley. The Tehachapi Mountains are visible in the distance.

The Antelope Valley in California, United States is located in northern Los Angeles County and the southeastern portion of Kern County, California and constitutes the western tip of the Mojave Desert. It is situated between the Tehachapi and the San Gabriel Mountains.[1]

The valley was named for the graceful Pronghorn antelopes that are said to have roamed there until being eliminated by hunters and bad weather in the 1880s.[1] The principal cities in the Antelope Valley are Palmdale and Lancaster.



Shaped like a sideways letter "V", the Antelope Valley comprises the western tip of the Mojave Desert, opening up to the Victor Valley and the Great Basin to the east. Lying north of the San Gabriel Mountains and southeast of the Tehachapis, this desert ecosystem spans approximately 2,200 square miles (5,698 km2). Precipitation in the surrounding mountain ranges contributes to groundwater recharge.

Flora and Fauna

The Antelope Valley is home to a wide range of plants and animals, all of which are adapted to the area's climate. It is home to hundreds of plants like the Joshua Tree, Scrub Oak, Creosote, and the California Poppy. Winter brings much-needed rain which slowly penetrates the area's dry ground, bringing up native grasses and wildflowers. Poppy season depends completely on the precipitation, but a good bloom can be killed off by the unusual weather in the late winter and early spring months. Snow is not unusual for the Antelope Valley in spring, because it is often the most unstable weather the Valley receives. The Antelope Valley gets its name from its history of Pronghorn Antelope grazing in large numbers. 1882-1885 The Valley lost 30,000 head of antelope. Almost half of the antelope for which the Valley was named. Unusually heavy snows in both the mountains and the Valley floor drove the antelope toward their normal feeding grounds in the eastern part of the Valley. Since they would not cross the railroad tracks, many of them starved to death. Others were attacked by coyotes and wildcats, or became easy prey for hunters. Once abundant, they mostly died off or migrated into the Central Valley. A drought in the early 1900s caused a scarcity in bunch grass, their main food source. Now the sighting of a Pronghorn is rare, although there are still a small number in the Valley. Black bear are resident with sightings as recent as July 17, 2008, they like to hide in the hills behind the towns and often are only in the valley for foraging or resting in caves. When they come into towns they are sometimes tranquilized and relocated (but often just outside of town). Bobcats and Coyotes are very common. Coyotes often howl or cry at night or day during spring, summer, and fall months. Tortoises are not rare, but they often hide in burrows to escape the desert heat.

Water issues

Human water use in the Antelope Valley depends mainly on pumping of groundwater from the valley's aquifers and on importing of additional water through aqueducts. Long-term groundwater pumping has lowered the water table, thereby increasing pumping lifts, reducing well efficiency, and causing land subsidence.[2] While aqueducts supply additional water to meet increasing human demand for agricultural, industrial, and domestic uses, diversion of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in Northern California has had, and continues to have, adverse environmental and social effects in the Delta. "Over decades, [the] competing uses for water supply and habitat have jeopardized the Delta’s ability to meet either need. All stakeholders agree the estuary is in trouble and requires long-term solutions to ensure reliable, quality water supplies and a healthy ecosystem".[3]

Antelope Valley's rapid human population growth and development place considerable stress on the local and regional water systems. According to David Leighton of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), "A deliberate management effort will be required to meet future water demand in the Antelope Valley without incurring significant economic and environmental costs associated with overuse of the ground-water resource".[4]

Human history

The first peoples of the Antelope Valley include the Kawaiisu,[5] Kitanemuk, Serrano, and Tataviam. The valley was first entered by Europeans in the 1770s, during colonization of North America. Father Francisco Garces, a Spanish Franciscan friar, is believed to have traveled the west end of the valley in 1776. By 1808, the invaders forced native peoples out of the valley and into missions.[6]

Jedediah Smith came through in 1827, and John C. Fremont made a scientific observation of the valley in 1844 along with his other California explorations.

Stagecoach lines came through the valley along its foothills after Fremont's visit and were the preferred way of travel for colonists before the coming of the Southern Pacific railroad in 1876. The rail service linking the valley to the Central Valley and Los Angeles started the first large influx of white settlers to the valley, and farms and towns soon sprouted on the valley floor.

The aircraft (now referred to as aerospace) industry took hold in the valley at Plant 42 in 1952. Edwards AFB, then called Muroc Army Air Field, was established in 1933.

Panoramic view of Lancaster


In recent decades the valley has become a bedroom community,[citation needed] to the Greater Los Angeles area. Major housing tract development and population growth took off beginning in 1983, which has increased the population of Palmdale around 12 times its former size as of 2006. Neighboring Lancaster has increased its population since the early 1980s to around 3 times its former level. Major retail has followed the population influx, centered around Palmdale's Antelope Valley Mall. The Antelope Valley is home to over 475,000, and is expected to reach 1,000,000 people by the year 2020.[citation needed]

Whites make up approximately 48% of the population of the Antelope Valley and the majority in most of its cities and towns. Hispanics are the next largest group, followed by African Americans and Asian Americans.

Military base

Discovery (STS-114) touches down in the Antelope Valley (Edwards Air Force Base), (August 9, 2005)

Edwards Air Force Base lies east of Rosamond, 37 miles (60 km) northeast of Palmdale. Edwards AFB's dry lakebeds are the lowest geographic elevation in the valley. Significant amounts of U.S. military flight testing is performed there, and it has been the site of many important aeronatical accomplishments, including the first flight to break the sound barrier. NASA space shuttles originally landed at Edwards because the lake beds offer a vast landing area. NASA has since built a huge landing strip at Kennedy Space Center, and Edwards remains the backup in case of bad weather at Cape Canaveral.

NASA Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center is a tenant organization at Edwards AFB. The Center is best known for the X-15 experimental rocket ship program. It has been the home of NASA's high performance aircraft research since it was founded for the X-1 program. The Orbiter is serviced there when it lands at Edwards.



SpaceShipOne (Flight 15P) landing at Mojave Air & Space Port (June 21, 2004)

U. S. Air Force Plant 42 in northeast Palmdale is home to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems, among other aerospace-related companies. Notable projects assembled and/or designed there include the space shuttle orbiters, B-2 Spirit bomber, F-117 Nighthawk fighter, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, a passenger jet aircraft.

The newly dedicated Mojave Air & Space Port is also located in this region. The spaceport is famous as the base of operations for Scaled Composites, the company that designed SpaceShipOne and won the X-Prize.

Much of the work done at these facilities is performed in coordination with Edwards Air Force Base and the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (see above), from the creation and testing of proof-of-concept X-planes, to Space Shuttle operations, to the manufacturing and integration and testing of new military aviation equipment.


Antelope Valley in spring covered by a carpet of goldfields Lasthenia californica.

The valley's first main industry as a part of the United States was agriculture. Historically known regionally for its extensive alfalfa fields and fruit crops, farmers now are growing a wider variety of crops, such as carrots, onions, lettuce, and potatoes. As housing tracts continue to build in the middle of the valley, the farm operations are now found farther to the west and east sides than in previous decades.


The second largest Borax open pit mine in the world is located near Boron. Public touring is available.


  • U.S. Pole Company Inc.
  • Senior Systems Technology
  • Delta Scientific
  • Lance Camper Manufacturing Corporation


Colleges & universities

  • The University of Antelope Valley is the first native University to the Antelope Valley. It consists of two campuses located in Lancaster, and a satellite classroom in Rosamond, CA. UAV offers a variety of certificate programs and several courses for Associate and Bachelor degrees, along with one Master's program in Criminal Justice.
  • The Antelope Valley Community College District is the local public college system that covers the area with a primary service area of 1,945 square miles (5,040 km2) covering portions of Los Angeles and Kern counties. Instruction is offered at multiple sites, including Palmdale and Lancaster, as well as through online and instructional television courses. It has 2 campuses. The main one, Antelope Valley College is a comprehensive community college located in Lancaster. The college offers Associate in Arts/Associate in Science (two-year) degrees in 67 fields, as well as certificate programs in 56 vocational areas. It also hosts a satellite location of California State University, Bakersfield-Antelope Valley, where students can obtain bachelor's and master's degrees. Enrollment for the 2007-2008 academic year exceeds 14,000. The second campus is a satellite campus in Palmdale with an enrollment of just over 500.
  • University of Phoenix has a satellite campus in Lancaster.
  • University of La Verne has a satellite campus in Palmdale.
  • DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management has a satellite campus in Palmdale.
  • Chapman University has a satellite campus in Palmdale.
  • The AERO Institute at the Palmdale Institute of Technology is a facility in Palmdale at the Civic Center. It is operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the City of Palmdale, and distance learning through a number of universities is available including Purdue, USC, University of San Diego, Pepperdine University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University ,Caltech and Cal Poly Pomona. This specialized school offers graduate and undergraduate education in aerospace science, engineering, and technical skills.
  • West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, is an unaccredited Independent Fundamental Baptist Bible college offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in Pastoral studies, evangelism, missions, church ministries, music, Christian education, youth ministry, and secretarial studies. West Coast opened in 1995, and now has about 850 students.
  • The Lancaster University Center in Lancaster provides local students education in engineering and technology. The $3.5 million reconstruction of Challenger Hall, located at the old Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, gave the new campus 13 classrooms, 2 of which are high tech distance learning rooms and 2 of which are lab classrooms, as well as office space. The school was created through partnerships with California State University, Bakersfield, California State University, Fresno, and local aerospace companies.

High schools

There are also several private and home school high schools in the area, most notably:

  • Abraham Lincoln High School - Rosamond
  • Paraclete High School
  • Bethel Christian High School
  • Desert Christian High School
  • Pearblossom High School
  • Desert Sands Charter Schools - Lancaster
  • Desert Sands Charter Schools - Palmdale
  • Opportunities for Learning Charter Schools - Lancaster
  • Opportunities for Learning Charter Schools - Palmdale

School districts


The Antelope Valley Symphony Orchestra is a professional ensemble that performs four concerts each year at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center. It is an auxiliary of Antelope Valley College, and performs regularly with the Antelope Valley College Civic Orchestra.




Major highways and roads


On the ridgeline of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles Crest Highway (State Route 2) snakes 60 miles (100 km) through the Angeles National Forest to La Canada Flintridge and the Greater Los Angeles metropolitan region.


  • Metrolink passenger rail service to the Los Angeles Basin and other parts of Southern California provides service to Antelope Valley commuters at its Lancaster, Palmdale, and Vincent Grade/Acton stations.
  • Amtrak passenger rail service has a commuter bus that stops at the Palmdale Transportation Center and the Lancaster Metrolink station, connecting Antelope Valley residents to the national rail network.
  • A future rail line is planned between the Palmdale Transportation Center and Palmdale Regional Airport. This will connect the airport directly with the extensive Southern California mass transit network. As of 2007 it is still unknown whether this will be a subway or an elevated rail line.
  • The California High Speed Rail authority has designated Palmdale as a stop on the future rail line between San Francisco and San Diego. Due to a lack of funding, as of 2007 it will be several years before this project is begun.



  • Palmdale Regional Airport, co-sited with USAF Plant 42 is by far the largest and busiest airport in the valley and is owned by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the Los Angeles city government entity which owns and operates LAX. Although mostly military flights occur at this airport, it also has an unused commercial terminal.
  • General William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster is the valley's busiest general aviation airport. It is the fourth largest airport in the valley. Charter air service and helicopter rides are available. This airport also has the valley's only aviation school.
  • Inyokern Airport in Inyokern, near Ridgecrest, is a large general aviation airport with limited commercial airline service to Los Angeles International Airport, serving the northern Antelope Valley and Indian Wells Valley communities. Charter service is also available. It is the area's third largest airport.
  • Mojave Air & Space Port in Mojave is a large civil aviation center and the second largest airport in the valley. Voyager and SpaceShipOne were developed and flown from its location.
  • Mountain Valley Airport in Tehachapi is a gliderport, privately owned but open to the public, which offers glider training for civilian and military pilots
  • Tehachapi Municipal Airport in Tehachapi is a small general aviation airport.
  • Agua Dulce Airpark in Agua Dulce is a meduim sized general aviation airport.
  • Rosamond Skypark Airport in Rosamond is a small general aviation airport, privately owned and operated.
  • California City Municipal Airport in California City is a small general aviation airport.
  • Crystalaire Airport in Llano is a small airstrip principally dedicated to glider flights.

Notable people

Some people of note have spent time in the valley, including:

See also Aerospace Walk of Honor - downtown Lancaster sidewalk tribute to the U. S. Air Force flight test community.

Valley place names

Cities over 100,000 population

  • Palmdale (population 151,346) - incorporated in 1962
  • Lancaster (population 145,074) - incorporated in 1977

Cities less than 100,000 population

Unincorporated towns and districts

Over 10,000 Population

Under 10,000 Population


  1. ^ a b Dale Pitt (2000). "Antelope Valley". Los Angeles A to Z: an encyclopedia of the city and county. University of California Press. p. 20. ISBN 9780520205307. 
  2. ^ Ikehara and Phillips (1994). Determination of land subsidence related to ground-water-level declines using Global Positioning System and leveling surveys in Antelope Valley, Los Angeles and Kern counties, California, [1]
  3. ^ Department of Water Resources
  4. ^USGS
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]

External links

Coordinates: 34°45′05″N 118°15′08″W / 34.7513712°N 118.2522977°W / 34.7513712; -118.2522977

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Antelope Valley in Southern California is a region in the north end of Los Angeles County and eastern Kern County.


Los Angeles County
Kern County

  • Mojave
  • Rosamond
  • Quartz Hill
  • Littlerock
  • Pearblossom
  • Llano
  • Lake Los Angeles
  • Leona Valley
  • Antelope Acres
  • Del Sur
  • Lake Hughes
  • Elizabeth Lake
  • Boron
  • Neenach
  • North Edwards
  • Edwards
  • Gorman
  • Pinon Hills
  • Phelan
  • Kramer Junction


The Antelope Valley began as a community nearly a century ago. Its original inudstries were agriculture and mining, and those persist to this day with boron and copper mining going on in the northern hills and carrots and onions growing in the outlying areas. However, the region is now dominated by the aerospace industry, with the core work being done in and around either Air Force Plant 42 or Edwards Air Force Base. Economically, the area is dominated by its two largest cities, Palmdale and Lancaster. Between the two cities, a population of over 500,000 people call the Antelope Valley home. Roughly half of the breadwinners in the area commute to jobs closer to the nearby urban center of Los Angeles, but the others work near where they live. Attracted by affordable housing, clean air, and freedom from the crowding and congestion of the big city, the residents of the Antelope Valley (or "A.V." to the locals) also boast proximity to some interesting local attractions.


English is the dominant language; in some neighborhoods Spanish is spoken but an English speaker is usually easy to find there.

Get in

By plane

Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD) in Palmdale was served by United Airlines and Delta Airlines in the past. Currently, no scheduled air service exists in the Antelope Valley due to the economic recession. Charter flights however, are available in Fox Field to the northwest of Lancaster.

Bob Hope Airport (BUR), in Burbank 50 minutes South of Palmdale is served by all major domestic carriers except Continental Airlines.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Ontario International Airport (ONT), and Bakersfield Meadows Field (BFL) are all approximately 1.5 hours away with clear traffic. LAX has the most flight options and is relatively the cheapest way to go, but the traffic is usually bad. Ontario is usually a good alternate, although it has less flight options than LAX and occasional poor traffic conditions. Bakersfield has the least amount of traffic problems of any of the airports, except for Palmdale itself, but has fewer flight options than the other major airports and is usually more expensive.

If willing to drive a distance (90-120 miles), Long Beach Municipal Airport (LGB) and John Wayne International (SNA) are also available as alternatives.

By Rail

The Palmdale Transportation Center is the area's principal transit hub. It is served by Metrolink, a commuter light-rail line from Los Angeles, by Amtrak using it's Throughway Bus service, and also by Greyhound Bus. Lancaster also has a Metrolink station that serves as the final destination on the Antelope Valley Line. There is also another Metrolink station on the edge of southern Palmdale called Vincent Grade - Acton.

  • El Taxi en Espanol (661) 266-2255
  • Red Top/High Desert (661) 267-2323
  • Southland Yellow Cab (661) 723-2227
  • United Taxi (661) 267-9850
  • Yellow Star Cab (661) 951-1155

Get around

Access to the Antelope Valley is had from Los Angeles maily along California State Route 14, the Antelope Valley Freeway. From its beginning near Northridge, it is about a 45-minute drive to Palmdale, the southern of the Antelope Valley's two main cities. It is also possible to get to the area along California State Route 138, either from its point of origin along Interstate 5 between Santa Clarita and the Grapevine, or from where it intersects Interstate 15 in Victorville.

Once in the Antelope Valley, visitors may note that the streets proceed along an orderly grid. Avenue "A" runs east-west along the Los Angeles County-Kern County border. Avenue "B" runs parallel to it, exactly one mile south. Avenue "C" is one mile south of "B," and so on south to Avenue "T" (there are other, more southerly avenues, but visitors are unlikely to encounter them). The north-south lines parallel "Division Street," an arbitrary street that runs due north-south along a path that can be projected north from Lake Avenue in Pasadena. Every mile east or west from Division Street is noted by ten "street" numbers -- one mile west of division street is 10th Street West, and one mile west of that is 20th Street West, and so on.

Local residents refer to the "east side" and "west side" of town. In Palmdale, this generally refers to something being east or west of Division Street, but in Lancaster, it often means east or west of the Antelope Valley Freeway, which runs one to two miles west of Division Street.

Historical roads in and out of the area include Sierra Highway, which runs along the former U.S. Route 6, and Lancaster and Palmdale Boulevards. Lancaster and Palmdale Boulevards are both major commercial thoroughfares.


The Antelope Valley is an arid plateau located between the Tehachipi and San Gabriel Mountains. It enjoys clear air and strong winds, and fantastic visibility. While not everyone will appreciate the rugged beauty of the desert and the rugged mountains nearby, others find the scenery spectacular. Dotting the landscape are the Antelope Valley's trademark Joshua Trees, which grow only in the Mojave Desert and in Israel.

Immediately north of the intersection of Avenue "S" and the Antelope Valley Freeway is a low hill, through which the freeway cuts. This is called the "Palmdale Bulge" and it is located immediately above the San Andreas fault. Strata of rock are clearly visible, warped and twisted in dramatic fashion by the tectonic interaction of the Pacific and North American plates. While most visitors only glance at the formation from the freeway, it is possible to park and hike about one-half mile through the desert to overlook the formations. Be careful and do not approach too close to the edge of the steep cutaway.

Aircraft in flight can be seen irregularly -- much of the United States' most advanced airplanes have been assembled and test-flown here. Most impressive to see in flight are the B-2 Spirit Bombers which are assembled at Air Force Plant 42, located along Sierra Highway. Other advanced aircraft such as the F-35 can be seen in test flights, as well as some older aircraft such as F-22s, T-38s, B-1s, C- and KC-135s, and even the occasional B-52 or C-5 Galaxy. A small dirt parking lot at the intersection of Avenue N and Sierra Highway affords a straight-down-the-runway look at whatever is being tested and flown that day. The SR-71 and F-117 are not seen in the skies anymore, but the frames of these and other history-making airplanes can be seen at Blackbird Park on Avenue P and 25th Street East.


The Antelope Valley Indian Museum in Lake Los Angeles offers insights and artifacts showing the indigenous population. The Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve [1], for a few weeks every year, presents a glorious exhibition of native wildflowers including the state flower, the California Golden Poppy. Hillsides turn orange, purple, and yellow several weeks after the rain as the native flowers bloom. Devil's Punchbowl is the most prominent of several outstanding local hikes in and around the Angeles National Forest. The Lancaster JetHawks are a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and play at ClearChannel Stadium located on Avenue I next to the 14 Freeway. The National Soccer Center is a mecca for high school and youth-league soccer tournaments. The annual Edwards Air Force Base open house provides one of the best displays of precision and high-tech aviation available to the general public anywhere. The Shambala Preserve in Acton, run by retired movie star Tippi Hendrin, preserves large cats and is a good activity for youth groups; another large cat preserve is in Rosamond west of the Freeway. Willow Springs racetrack is one of the more challenging minor-league auto racing tracks available and can be rented for private use on a limited-availability basis.


Chain restaraunts abound; if you love the Olive Garden, Outback, BJ's Brewpub, Chili's, or Appelbee's, the Antelope Valley has a lot to offer. Finer dining options are available at Tina's Ristorante in Lancaster for truly top-notch Italian food, Vincent Station south of Palmdale for steaks and seafood, and the clubhouse at the Rancho Vista golf course.


Visitors looking for libations are best advised to have a drink in the bar area of one of the various chain restaraunts around the mall like Red Lobster, BJ's, or Olive Garden. There are few high-end, stand-alone bars. If you're looking for a belly full of beer and some sports on the TV, there are several good sports bar-and-grills like Buffalo Wild Wings, Schooner's, Coach's, or Papa's Barbeque Pit.

Stay safe

Some neighborhoods, generally on the east side of Palmdale and Lancaster, are known to be high-crime areas and as with any urbanized or partially urbanized area, visitors should be aware of their surroundings and avoid suspicious individuals. Generally, however, the Antelope Valley enjoys lower rates of both violent and property crime than the rest of Los Angeles County.

Get out

Affordable greensfees can be found at several local golf courses, including Desert Aire and Lake Elizabeth. Rancho Vista and the Antelope Valley Country Club are private courses and are somewhat more expensive.

Bird watchers will enjoy the proliferation of red hawks in the area, and there is an abundance of waterfowl in and around the acqueduct. At night, owls prowl the deserts looking for prey. Other local wildlife that can be seen with some frequency are desert tortoises, coyotes, a wide variety of snakes, and the occasional small black bear from the nearby mountains looking for forage.

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