Antelope Valley

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

Regions

Cities

Towns

Understand

The Antelope Valley is an arid plateau located between the Tehachapi 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 only grow in the Mojave Desert.

The Antelope Valley began as a community nearly a century ago. Its original industries 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.

Talk

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

Although there is a large regional airport in the Antelope Valley (Palmdale Regional Airport (PMD)) there is no currently-scheduled commercial air service available. Charter flights are available at General William J. Fox Field (WJF) located three miles northwest of Lancaster.

The nearest regional airport is Bob Hope Airport (BUR) in Burbank, just 50 minutes south of Palmdale by freeway, and is served by all major domestic carriers.

There are several other major airports around Southern California within driving distance of the Antelope Valley. Listed driving times to Palmdale are ideal and can vary greatly depending on traffic. Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX) (1hr 15 min) has the most flight options and is relatively the cheapest way to go, but the traffic is usually heavy. Ontario International Airport (IATA: ONT) (1 hr 30 min) is usually a good alternative, but doesn't have as many flight options as LAX and occasionally has poor traffic conditions. Bakersfield Meadows Field (IATA: BFL) (1 hr 45 min) has a better traffic situation but fewer flight options and is usually more expensive. Two other smaller airports include Long Beach Municipal Airport (IATA: LGB) (1 hr 45 min) and John Wayne International (IATA: SNA) (1 hr 40 min).

By train

Direct rail service to the Antelope Valley is provided by Metrolink. The Antelope Valley Line begins at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and runs many times daily. There are two stops in the valley: the Palmdale Transportation Center, which is the area's principal transit hub, and Lancaster, which is the end of the line.

Amtrak also serves the Antelope Valley, but not by train directly. Travelers coming from the north have two options. If you're riding one of the coast trains (Pacific Surfliner or Coast Starlight), you can transfer to Metrolink at Union Station in Los Angeles. If you ride the San Joaquin through the central valley to Bakersfield, you must transfer to the Amtrak Thruway Bus service to reach the Lancaster and Palmdale Metrolink stations. Passengers coming from Chicago on the Southwest Chief can exit at Victorville and use the Thruway Bus service to Lancaster and Palmdale.

By bus

The Antelope Valley is served by one national bus service: Greyhound Bus. The Greyhound Bus station is located at the Palmdale Metrolink transportation hub.

Regional bus service is also available through the Antelope Valley Transit Authority. AVTA buses run each day between the Antelope Valley and downtown Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, and the San Fernando Valley.

Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach is provided between Bakersfield and the Antelope Valley. Coaches through Boron continue on to Barstow and Las Vegas, while coaches through Lancaster and Palmdale continue on to Victorville.

By car

The main freeway into the Antelope Valley from the Los Angeles area is California State Route 14 called the Antelope Valley Freeway. It begins between the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys where it splits from Interstate 5 and passes through the San Gabriel Mountains offering some beautiful views of mountain valleys and spectacular rock formations at Vasquez Rocks.

CA-138 brings drivers to the Antelope Valley from San Bernardino after it splits from Interstate 15. This beautiful drive takes you through Cajon Pass and the Angeles National Forest. This route gives some long views of the entire Antelope Valley as it descends along the north face of the San Gabriel Mountains, passing Phelan and Pinion Hills.

The town of Mojave acts as a gateway to the north end of the Antelope Valley where drivers coming from the east, north and west all meet to access the Antelope Valley freeway. From the north, the Antelope Valley Freeway extends all the way to Inyokern where it joins with US-395. Travellers coming from Reno, Nevada and Yosemite National Park come down this route. Highway 58 from Bakersfield brings travellers from California's San Joaquin Valley through the Tehachapi Mountains and a forest of wind turbines that cover the mountainsides while generating electricity for Southern California. Highway 58 from Barstow brings travellers from Las Vegas, Nevada past the borax mines at Boron and along the northern edge of Edward Air Force Base through long stretches of open Mojave Desert.

Two other scenic routes into the valley come from Interstate 5 at Gorman, using CA-138 (for those coming from Bakersfield who want to drive the scenic Grapevine), and from Victorville along CA-18, also called Palmdale Road, which joins CA-138 coming from San Bernardino.

Get around

The street system of the Antelope Valley is a grid oriented to the compass points, although there are some exceptions. Major east-west streets are given English alphabet names while major north-south streets are given number names.

The alphabetic streets begin where Kern and Los Angeles counties meet north of Lancaster. Avenue A runs along the county line. One mile south is Avenue B, then Avenue C, and so on to Avenue T south of Palmdale where the grid system ends because of the San Gabriel Mountains. There are also minor streets using letter-number combinations (Avenue J-4 or Avenue P-8). These streets are spaced at 1/16th mile increments.

The north-south streets have a point of origin called Division Street. Each street divisible by 10 is one mile farther from Division Street, both to the east and west (10th Street is one mile from Division Street, 20th Street is two miles from Division Street). Between these streets are minor streets spaced 1/10th of a mile apart and named incrementally (11th Street, 12th Street, etc.). Location of the street either east or west of Division Street is part of the street name, which means there are often two streets named similarly (10th Street East and 10th Street West, for instance).

Many streets have what might be “normal” names (Milling Street, Fig Avenue) that don’t relate to the major or minor grids. This can be confusing when trying to find addresses in the Valley. (Norberry Street is not near any of the letter N streets, for instance.)

GPS devices can be a big help for anyone not familiar with the street and address layout of the Antelope Valley when searching for a location.

By bus

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority provides public transit bus service around the Antelope Valley and to connecting points in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys.

By train

Train service is available between Lancaster and Palmdale as part of the Metrolink service. Metrolink also connects to the Santa Clarita Valley, then continues into Los Angeles. Trains run all day and evening long.

By taxi

Roadside Assistance

If you experience auto problems and find your cell phone cannot connect or the battery is low, Los Angeles County maintains an emergency call box system along all major freeways, including the Antelope Valley Freeway as part of the statewide call box system. Each call box is a yellow box attached to a pole with a large blue “Call Box” sign at the top. Inside is both a phone and a TTY keyboard which will be answered 24 hours a day.

See

San Andreas Fault: Immediately north of the intersection of Avenue "S" and the Antelope Valley Freeway is a low hill, through which the Highway 14 cuts. This is called the Palmdale Bulge and is located immediately above the San Andreas fault. Strata of rock are visible, warped and twisted in dramatic fashion by the tectonic interaction of the Pacific and North American plates. 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.

US Air Force Plant 42: 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 flying 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 Space Shuttle fleet was also built at the Rockwell International buildings once located here. Lockheed Martin's Skunkworks is located at a hangar at the western edge of the Plant 42 property, and the little skunk logo can be easily seen from Sierra Highway.

California Aqueduct (formally the California State Water Project) is a series of aqueducts, reservoirs, power plants and pumping stations that run the length of the state of California, a portion of which passes through the Antelope Valley along the San Gabriel Mountain foothills. There are many vantage points where the waterway can be seen. There are also many miles of bicycleways along the aqueduct.

Wind Energy: The Antelope Valley is home to some of the largest installations of wind farms in the world because of its abundant breezes most of the year. One major field of windmills can be seen west of Mojave in the Tehachapi Mountains where windmills of all sizes cover everything from the desert floor to the mountain ridges.

Do

Eat

Chain restaurants 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.

Drink

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.

Go next

Affordable green fees 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 aqueduct. 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.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 12, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.