Ridgecrest is located in the southern portion of the Indian Wells Valley and in the northeast corner of Kern County, surrounded by four mountain ranges; the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Cosos on the north, the Argus Range on the east, and the El Paso Mountains on the south. It is approximately an hour and quarter from the Lancaster Palmdale area and approximately two hours from both Bakersfield and San Bernardino.
Ridgecrest evolved into a growing and dynamic city during the 1950’s and 1960’s as a support community, vital to the mission of the Navy, by providing housing and services for Federal employees and contractors. Ridgecrest incorporated in 1963 and now provides shopping for over 40,000 people throughout the Indian Wells Valley.
China Lake Naval Weapons Center and now the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station is home to the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division. The economic stability of Ridgecrest as service community for the NAWS has been essential to its successful emergence as a community in its own right. Residents are attracted to the same locations characteristics that initially attracted the NAWS; space, clean air, good water, highway accessibility, easy access to multiple recreational opportunities, and proximity to Los Angeles and Bakersfield.
As the only incorporated community in the Indian Wells Valley, Ridgecrest boasts a thriving economy and a robust population of just over 27,000 people.