China Lake, Kern County, California

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China Lake
Unincorporated community
China Lake is located in California
China Lake
China Lake
China Lake is located in the US
China Lake
China Lake
Location in California
Coordinates: 35°39′03″N 117°39′42″W / 35.65083°N 117.66167°W / 35.65083; -117.66167Coordinates: 35°39′03″N 117°39′42″W / 35.65083°N 117.66167°W / 35.65083; -117.66167
Country United States
State California
County Kern County
Elevation[1] 2,264 ft (690 m)
Indian Wells Valley, showing Ridgecrest, California and the China Lake area.

China Lake is an unincorporated community in Kern County, California.[1] It is located 2.5 miles (4 km) north-northeast of Ridgecrest,[2] at an elevation of 2264 feet (690 m).[1] The place is on China Lake, a dry lake on the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.[2]

The first post office at China Lake opened in 1948.[2]


The locale was originally settled by the Coso People, who were prolific artisans in creating rock art. The Coso left archaeological evidence substantiating trade between the Coso and other Native American tribes. For example, distant trade with the Chumash People is confirmed by archaeological recovery of obsidian that has been linked to the Cosos and was discovered as far away as coastal California prehistoric sites in San Luis Obispo County.[3]

Origin of name[edit]

Chinese men harvested borax from the dry lake bed approximately 1.5 miles south of Paxton Ranch. The operation was known locally as “The Little Chinese Borax Works’’.[4]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: China Lake, Kern County, California
  2. ^ a b c Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 1016. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  3. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Morro Creek, ed. by A. Burnham
  4. ^ Panlaqui, Carol, What’s in a Name?, Maturango Museum, Ridgecrest, California (undated single sheet).