China Lake Naval Weapons Center, Ridgecrest

(3.5/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web)
Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is part of Navy Region Southwest under Commander, Navy Installations Command and is located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, approximately 150mi north of Los Angeles. Occupying three counties – Kern, San Bernardino and Inyo – the installation’s closest neighbors are the cities of Ridgecrest, Inyokern, Trona and Darwin. The main gate of the installation is located at the intersection of Inyokern Road and China Lake Blvd. in the city of Ridgecrest.China Lake is the United States Navy's largest single landholding, representing 85 percent of the Navy’s land for weapons and armaments research, development, acquisition, testing and evaluation use and 38 percent of the Navy’s land holdings worldwide. In total, its two ranges and main site cover more than 1100000acre, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. As of 2010, at least 95 percent of that land has been left undeveloped. The roughly $3 billion infrastructure of the installation consists of 2,132 buildings and facilities, 329mi of paved roads, and 1801mi of unpaved roads.The 19600sqmi of restricted and controlled airspace at China Lake makes up 12 percent of California’s total airspace. Jointly-controlled by NAWS China Lake, Edwards Air Force Base and Fort Irwin, this airspace is known as the R-2508 Special Use Airspace Complex.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Although an exceptional museum if a non US citizen you are unable to visit unless permission is granted months in advance. Nice to know our oldest ally is so accommodating.  more »
  • This is a large, sprawling expanse of desert wasteland; just perfect for military training and testing. The commissary and BX are good for the size of the installation and well stocked.  more »
  • Understandable that being an active military base, the controls are very strict, but essentially make it virtually impossible to visit, if not filling (we were told that we would have to do it the day before ...) complex forms inside the visitors ' area, which also manage anyone entering for reasons other than tourism, with waits so long (they say themselves at least two hours, ergo we desisted). Would definitely make sense, given the objective interest of the place, which was adjacent to the huge base somewhere more accessible.
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