Where is California City?
If you have never heard of California City or have no idea where it is located, you can be forgiven!
The City is located about 80 miles north of Los Angeles but you have to travel through the mountain range created by the San Andreas fault. TV stations and radio stations never talk about Kern County or California City. They don’t want you to know that there’s a good life available to you at much more reasonable prices just north of you.
Before you make your first commute to California City, a quick geography lesson will help you appreciate the area.
Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties are all surrounded by mountains. This has three negative impacts on your life in that basin. The mountains limit the growth of the population by cramming everybody into a limited area and keeping the smog from moving out of the area and acting like a lid sitting on top of you. The smog is created by vehicles and industry. Notice we said three impacts, the third is a bit more dangerous.
Those mountains that surround the LA basin provide only 3 freeways to let traffic in and out. Los Angeles doesn’t produce its food, water, or everyday items that are needed by such a massive population. In the event of an Earthquake (LA is long overdue for a major quake), the population will quickly find itself out of water and food.
The geography lesson is over!
Now that you are ready to check out California City for the first time, you have to choose which route to take, which is determined by your starting point. For most people in Los Angeles, the “FREEDOM” route (the 14 freeway) is the best.
If you’re in Orange County or anything east of the 605 freeway, your best route will be the 15 freeway, like you are headed to Vegas.
The "FREEDOM" route
The freedom route gets its name by the fact that the entire route has at least two lanes and you are free to change lanes and pass slower traffic. You will begin your drive in the typical LA traffic. Once you have reached the 14 freeway (near magic mountain), you are about 1/3 of the way to California City. You will take the 14 freeway north and wind your way through the San Andreas mountains until you pop out on the other side near Palmdale.
Depending on when you drive, you might experience wind. This is normal, and a good thing. That wind is what blows all the smog and pollution out of the area. You will also notice there is rarely any cloud cover.
At Palmdale, you are over halfway to California City. You will notice traffic isn’t as bad at this point. Vehicles are traveling at full speed and you can start using the cruise control in your vehicle for the first time in years. Continue on the 14 and you will pass Lancaster and then you will notice that you can see wide open spaces on the sides of the freeway.
In a few minutes, you will be crossing out of Los Angeles County and into Kern County. The first city in Kern County is Rosamond (home of the Willow Springs racetrack).
You are now less than 30 minutes from California City. Continue north and you will eventually end up in Mojave. Don’t worry, it now looks like you are on a residential road. The road is only a few miles long and just after you pass the Arco gas station, you will be seeing signs that say the 14 freeway continues to the right. Take that right or you will find yourself heading to Tehachapi.
In about 3 miles you will see the exit for California City. Exit California City Boulevard and head east. Yes, it looks deserted like an empty exit. The city is about 7 miles east of the exit. You found us!
"The road less traveled" route
OK, you’re east of the 605 and you’re ready to drive to California City. Have you ever gone someplace and felt like driving home was shorter than the drive away from home? You’re about to experience that a few times so don’t be alarmed! If you pull over and ask, “Where is California City?” You will just get a puzzled stare.
First, we will assume you know how to get to the 15 freeway (after all, it IS the way to Vegas!). Once you are on the 15 north, towards Vegas, you will continue until you climb up and over the Cajon Pass. After starting back down on the other side, after just a few miles you will see the exit for the 395. There is only one direction to go since it begins at the 15 freeway. Once you are on that highway, get used to some frustration (remember the other route? the “freedom” route?) due to only having a single lane.
San Bernardino County transportation does not feel this route warrants a real freeway. Maybe you could contact them and advise them otherwise? At this point, you know you are getting close because now you can pull over and ask, “Where is California City?” and get directions.
After about 15-20 miles of stop-and-go traffic, you will find yourself on a single-lane highway with light traffic but you stand a very good chance of getting stuck behind a large truck that travels at 55mph. In the middle of nowhere. Continue for about 20-30 minutes until you see the on-ramp for the 58 freeway. You will be getting on the 58 west. You are 30 minutes away now. The 58 freeway was recently upgraded to accommodate more traffic. #growth!
Like the “freedom” route, you will be exiting the freeway at California City Boulevard. This exit has only one direction, north. You will travel about 7 miles on this road called, “California City Blvd South”. The street will end at a stoplight where you can turn left to enter the rest of the city. you have arrived!
You can always ask Siri, “Where is California City” but we thought it would be easier to explain what you will be experiencing BEFORE you experience it!