Per US Census Bureau:
Median household income (2017-2021, in 2021 dollars): $77,534
Per capita income (2017-2021, in 2021 dollars): $36,966
Median gross rent (2017-2021): $983
NAWS China Lake and Surrounding
Elevation: 2264 feet
Coldest Months: November, December, January (extreme low/high 30/60°F)
Hottest Months: June, July, August (extreme low/high 100/120°F)
Humidity Average: China Lake 35% vs. San Diego 69%, Seattle 75%, Japan 65%
Sunshine: 280+ days of clear, blue skies and skin-searing rays
Humans: Dress to protect, use sunblock, stay hydrated, and plan/prepare for excursions and road-trips well as the desert does not discriminate.
Pets: The intense cold and heat of the high desert is extremely punishing, which is not an ideal place for outdoor pets so please take special care of your critters so that they do not suffer while playing/resting indoors or outdoors. When you leave your home for any period of time, ensure indoor temperatures are comfortable. When you and your pets go outside to play, ensure they have plenty of shade, water, and rest breaks. Do not walk your pets on asphalt/concrete in the heat of summer as their paws will burn and blister on the 165°F ground. For reference, hot water straight from your faucet is approximately 140°F. Never leave children or pets in vehicles.
Temperatures get extremely hot during the summer months, with a median temperature of 102.5 degrees or higher, from June through September, it is essential to dress properly in order to withstand the sun. Additionally, be aware that temperatures can drop to single digits in the winter time.
Resources and Safety tips
China Lake has over 300 days of sunshine to take advantage of. Fleet and Family Support Center (610 Blandy Ave, Bldg 2308) can offer you ideas, resources and safety tips to make the most of your time here.
Mirror Lake Community Recreation (King Street, Bldg 2733), can provide you with gear, rentals, and tickets for a variety of recreational and outdoor activities.
Defense Service Network (DSN) Dialing Instructions
The DSN is the provider of long-distance communications service for the Department of Defense (DoD). Every installation has a special DSN number and the numbers vary by world-wide location. In order to place a call using DSN, the caller must be using a military phone on an installation. Cell phones cannot dial DSN numbers. When dialing a DSN number from a United States installation to another United States installation, dial your prefix for using DSN, the DSN 437 (for China Lake) then the last 4 digits of the number you are calling. When dialing a DSN number to/from overseas locations, the DSN area code must be included. Please note that long distance charges may be incurred.
China Lake provides quality shore-based infrastructure, base operating support services, safety and security, range and airfield support to the Navy's Research, Development, Acquisition, Test & Evaluation (RDAT&E) mission, Navy training capability, and other fleet and fleet support activities. Included in this mission is the significant environmental stewardship of approximately 1.1 million acres, covering all aspects of natural, cultural, and historic resources NAWS China Lake is the Navy's largest single landholding. It represents 85 percent of the Navy's land primarily used for RDAT&E and 38 percent of the Navy's total landholding worldwide. More than 95 percent of the land has been left undisturbed by testing activities. It has more than 20,000 square miles of controlled airspace. The primary tenant, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD), executes full-spectrum weapons and warfare systems RDAT&E.
--MISSION to "Provide and maintain lands, facilities, and capabilities by way of a cadre of Shore Enterprise professionals that enable Research, Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation of cutting edge technological systems, and training of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command personnel."
--VISION to "Action ideas as time and resources permit that possess opportunity to sustain or improve upon safety, security, and services for those military and civilian personnel who live and work on the installation."
The Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) was established on November 8, 1943. In October 1998, NAWS Point Mugu became Naval Air Station Point Mugu and is no longer a part of the parent Weapons Division organization. More than 2,000 Weapons Division employees, however, continue to perform their same functions as tenants at Point Mugu. On October 1, 2001, the White Sands Detachment was transferred to the Naval Sea Systems Command, leaving China Lake and Point Mugu the only WD sites. NAVAIR WD personnel at China Lake are involved in programs that range from the Tomahawk Cruise Missile to the new Joint Stand-Off Weapons System (JSOW) and from the Joint Direct Attack Munitions to the new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. For more information please visit the installation homepage.
The Navy, civilian and contracting workforce work together providing for the success of current and future operations here at China Lake.
China Lake statistics (approximations as of March. 2021):
Approximately 28,105 at China Lake and the nearby town of Ridgecrest, CA and the surrounding communities.
The Navy remains the Indian Wells Valley's largest employer with approximately 4,982 full-time civilians, 618 military employees, 604 onboard contractors.
Welcome to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, high desert home of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, where the Navy and Marine Corps have developed or tested nearly every significant airborne weapon system in the past five decades. China Lake is located 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles on the western edge of California's Mojave Desert. China Lake is a very military friendly city with a high population of Retired Active Duty and DoD Civilians and has a lower cost of living compared to the rest of the state of California. If you are arriving by air, you may fly into Los Angeles International Airport, Burbank International (Bob Hope Airport), Ontario International Airport or Bakersfield Airport. Shuttle service is available from the airport at a cost.
From Los Angeles International Airport: Take Interstate 405 North from the airport until you reach Interstate 5 and proceed North for a short distance where you will merge to State Route Highway 14. Stay on 14 as it goes through the town of Mojave. Continue right on Hwy 14 towards Bishop until you reach Highway 178 East, towards Inyokern. This highway leads right to the front gate of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
From Burbank Airport: Take Interstate 5 and proceed North where you will merge to State Route Highway 14. Stay on 14 as it goes through the town of Mojave. Continue right on Hwy 14 towards Bishop until you reach Highway 178 East towards Inyokern. This highway leads right to the front gate of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
From Ontario Airport: Take Interstate 10 East from the airport, then proceed to Interstate 215/ 15 North over the Cajon Pass; exit Highway 395 North stay on Hwy 395 all the way until you reach the Ridgecrest/ China Lake Blvd turnoff. Take China Lake Blvd all the way to the Main Gate (intersecting with Inyokern Rd.)
From Bakersfield Airport: Take Highway 99 South, quickly take the Highway 58 East. Stay on the 58 until it exits at Highway 14 and head North until you reach Highway 178 East, towards Inyokern. This highway leads right to the front gate of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.
Quarterdeck 760-939-2303; CDO: 760-608-7004
China Lake is situated next to the town of Ridgecrest, a thriving town with a population of nearly 30,000. China Lake/Ridgecrest is located near three major highways, US Hwy 395 and California State Highways, 14 and 178. It is recommended you drive to China Lake during the daylight hours, as the town is remote. Transportation from airports can sometimes be arranged by your new command. Please check with them for availability.
From Los Angeles International Airport
Take Interstate 405 North from the airport, over the Hollywood Hills and across the San Fernando Valley. Then take Interstate 5 North a short distance to State Route 14. Remain on Highway 14, through Palmdale, Lancaster, Mojave and Red Rock Canyon until the Inyokern turnoff. Take Highway 178 east through Inyokern to China Lake and Ridgecrest. (160 total miles)
From Hollywood/Burbank Airport
Take Interstate 5 North from the airport until intersecting State Route 14. Take Highway 14 through Palmdale. Take the same directions as above. (140 total miles)
From Ontario Airport
Take Interstate 10 East from the airport, then Interstate 215/15 North exit towards Barstow/Las Vegas and over Cajon Pass. Take Highway 395 North exit towards Bishop/Adelanto and travel to the Ridgecrest turnoff. (120 total miles)
Miles to China Lake/Ridgecrest:
Currently, there is no base transportation on this installation.