China Lake Naval Weapons Center, Ridgecrest

Categories: Deserts, Military Facilities, Nature & Parks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
3.7/5 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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  • 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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  • You can not visit the China Lake Naval Weapons Center as it's a military installation. You may be able to visit the China Lake Museum located at the installation. 
  • Because you will arrive without identification not on the military base, it will be not so interesting for civilians. I can say nothing about the commissary unfortunately because I went just past, except that it's huge. For this, the BX is smaller, but with very good selection (for the size). For this you can recommend the Museum even more. Here to see the full story of the construction of the Rakeeten, all carefully documented and where the stakes were or are. I've seen the Museum often and can only continue to recommend it. Important to mention is that the new base commander wants to make accessible the Museum also for the civilian population, and so the whole Museum will be moved after the completion of the new building to Ridgecrest. Unfortunately I can not tell yet when, but will be held in the autumn 2016 'Groundbreaking'.
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