Tehachapi is a city in Kern County, California, with a population of 14,414 within its 10 square mile radius. The name Tehachapi is derived from the native Kawaiisu word “Tihachapi”, meaning a hard climb. Traveling to Old Town Tehachapi from Bakersfield back when it was founded in the 1860’s would have indeed been a hard climb, but it’s a quick 40-minute drive these days. Trains make the ascent daily up the Tehachapi Loop, an engineering marvel and one of America’s most famous Rail-fan sites.
Tehachapi is rich in spirit and splendor and has been rated as such by Native American medicine men as well as Buddhist monks. The greater Tehachapi Area is home to three Buddhist temples (Korean, Thai, Tibetan) and no less than 35 active churches.
Tehachapi is a small mountain community nestled in the Tehachapi mountains at an elevation of 4,000 feet, between the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert. It’s official motto is “The land of four seasons,” which is absolutely enjoys. Altitude, location and topography allow for Mother Nature to progress thru her true seasons. It is two hours North of Los Angeles and an hour east of Bakersfield. The “Greater Tehachapi area” is sprawling, consisting of close to 48,000 residents within approximately 275 square miles. There are 13 different areas of Tehachapi, including; Alpine Forest Park, Bear Valley Springs, Brite Valley, County, Cummings Valley, Fairview Ranches, Golden Hills, Mountain Meadows, Oak Knolls, Old West Ranch, Sand Canyon, Stallion Springs and Downtown.
Outside of the city but within the Tehachapi region are the charming communities of Bear Valley Springs, Stallion Springs and Alpine. Each possess unique qualities and are supported by their own HOA. Stallion and Bear Valley Springs (BVS) are patrolled by their own Police force and possess their own community centers, golf courses and other amenities.
Tehachapi Real estate is comparable to that of Bakersfield, homes are relatively inexpensive compared to the rest of the state and housing remains affordable to the majority of the population. The median home sale price is $330,000. The average price of a four bedroom home is $420,000 and three bedroom is $302,000.
Industry & Economy:
Historically, the primary employers in the region are the Tehachapi State Prison, the Cement Factory and the School district, but the aviation industry has returned to the region with Scaled Composites, The Spaceship Company and of course NASA. Many Tehachapi residents also work at nearby Edwards Air Force Base, just 40 minutes east.
Tehachapi was put on the map in the middle of the 20th century because of its World Famous apples. Agriculture is still an important part of the economy, with community Apple-picks being held every year. Tehachapi Ag supports some of the worlds most innovative and advanced greenhouses, each 20 acres a piece, filling up the Cummings Valley.
Tehachapi is a some what of a mini-mecca for aviation because of its proximity to the Air Force Base and its unique whether patterns. Lenticular cloud activity is evidence of the continual updraft which provides for excellent gliding conditions. The glider port is active year round, logging thousands of flights. The town boasts many celebrity aviator residents, including astronauts and test pilots, racing world champions and innovators.
Tehachapi is known for its four-season climate. The wet season is generally November through May, although thunderstorms are likely during the summer. Average temperatures range from 88 °F in July to 52 °F in January. The area typically collects 15-20 inches of snow each winter. Tehachapi is a nice option for those who work in Bakersfield or Mojave that like cooler temperatures and the four seasons as it is consistently 20 degrees’ cooler in summer.
Tehachapi has 10 primary secondary schools, three of which are private. Public schools in Tehachapi are part of Tehachapi Unified School District with approximately 4,900 students. The district is comprised of two high schools, including an alternative education high school, one middle and three elementary. Several private pre-schools round out the Tehachapi school system.
Tehachapi schools pride themselves on traditional programs such as 4-H and innovative programs such as robotics which is backed by leading aero-space companies.
Cerro Coso Community College is one of three colleges in the Kern Community College District. The College officially opened in the fall of 1973, and within the year began expanding its service area to include the present region.
Tehachapi is home to Cerro Cosa Community College, a college that offers Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and an Associate Degree for Transfer program. Associate degrees for transfer, guarantee acceptance to the California State University system for completion of a four-year degree.
Downtown Tehachapi boasts a vibrant local shopping district and weekly farmers market. There are charming boutiques and antique stores as well as a few big box stores including Albertsons, Save-mart, Home Depot and Kmart. Just an hour away in Bakersfield, is one of California’s largest 1 story inside malls (Valley Plaza) and several other outside malls such as the Marketplace featuring boutique and national chain brand retailers with many to choose from. The Outlets at Tejon is Central California’s newest retail destinations with upscale designer fashion and home good brands just an hour away from town.
Downtown has several great restaurants as well as an old-school movie theater with a weekly discounted family fun day & unique snacks. There is the Historic Railroads Depot, museums and galleries. A short drive west reveals local wineries that have live music & food on Friday nights, Ostrich and Alpaca ranches that are open to the public and a beautiful golf course in Stallion Springs. There are several hiking trails, equestrian facilities and the largest Action Sports Facility in the west, Woodward West, which provides world class enrichment facilities for action children.
American ingenuity is proudly displayed at the world famous Tehachapi Loop where trains wind up the grade. Built in 1876, this engineering marvel is the only place in the world where the Locomotive passes it’s own caboose.
There are over 45 restaurants in the area that offer something for every mood. For foodies, the annual Tehachapi Savor the Flavor Food, Wine & Craft Beer Festival offers many unique culinary experiences and a special Discover Tehachapi weekend. For the cowpoke, there is the annual Mountain Festival and Rodeo..
Tehachapi is also home to two local orchestras. The Tehachapi Community Orchestra now called The Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra, performs 5 free-to-the public concerts each year. The Tehachapi Pops Orchestra, plays an eclectic blend of popular and jazz music, as well as original compositions. T-Pops performs 5 to 6 concerts each year. All are free to the public except for the Halloween concert held at the Beekay Theater with the local theater group, the Tehachapi Community Theater.
As of 2010, a local theater group, the Tehachapi Community Theater, performs in the restored downtown BeeKay Theater.
There is a thriving and growing cycling community for both mountain biking and road cycling. The Tehachapi Gran Fondo, a mass cycling event in September, was named Best Century by Cycle CA Magazine two years in a row. The event offers several distance choices, the longest being around 100 miles and 7,000 ft of climbing through wind farms, vegetable farms, orchards and mountains.
Tehachapi has highway, bus, railway and air transportation. There are convenient train pickups in Lancaster and Bakersfield that travel all throughout Southern California. Centrally located by the 58 freeway, which is a major thoroughfare for East/ West California traffic. The rapid transit bus system picks up in Tehachapi and transports to all of surrounding bus and train depots. Ride sharing programs to Edwards air force base and Mojave are also popular with residents. Tehachapi Municipal Airport is a public airport known as the corridor to Northern and Southern California.