Wildflowers in Ridgecrest, California

Local features and activities

The most notable feature in the nearby area is the Coso People rock art in Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons. The Coso People were prolific artists and traded with distant tribes using tools crafted of stone. Archeological recovery at coastal Chumash sites in California indicates considerable trade with the Coso People.

Other traditional activities present are:

The front of the Maturango Museum

Maturango Museum

The Maturango Museum is located in Ridgecrest. The museum is best known for the guided tours on China Lake Naval Weapons Station (NAWS). The Museum offers exhibits and displays featuring both the natural and the cultural history and diversity of the Northern Mojave Desert with exhibits of plants, animals, Native American artifacts, geology and contemporary arts and crafts.

Naval Air Weapons Station


Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake or NAWS China Lake is an airborne weapons testing and training range located adjacent to Ridgecrest and operated by the United States Navy and its contractors. The officer's family housing on base is noted for their monthly 'pig parties' where a lawn ornament in the shape of a pig placed by the previous host on another's lawn signaled who the next host woud be and the next location for the neighborhood gathering. Each family would bring their meat to burn and a dish to share. At some point during the party, a decision was made to deposit the pig at another home for the location of next month's pig party.


Archaic abstract curvilinear-style
petroglyphs near Ridgecrest, CA

Coso Rock Art District

Coso Rock Art District, sometimes equated with the Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons is a site containing over 20,000 Native American petroglyphs now located within Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, near China Lake and Ridgecrest, California. In fact, there are several other distinct canyons to the Coso Rock Art District besides the Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons. Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964. In 2001, they were incorporated into a larger National Historic Landmark District, called Coso Rock Art District.

Walker Pass


Walker Pass (el. 5,250 ft (1.60 km)) is a mountain pass by Lake Isabella in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. It is located in northeastern Kern County, approximately 53 mi (85 km) ENE of Bakersfield and 10 mi (16 km) WNW of Ridgecrest. The pass provides a route between the San Joaquin Valley on the west and the Mojave Desert on the east.