Ridgecrest is a city in Kern County, California, United States, along U.S. Route 395 in the Indian Wells Valley in northeastern Kern County, adjacent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake (NAWS, or China Lake). It was incorporated as a city in 1963. The population was 27,959 at the 2020 census, up slightly from 27,616 at the 2010 census.
Ridgecrest is surrounded by four mountain ranges; the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Cosos on the north, the Argus Range on the east, and the El Paso Mountains on the south. It is approximately from the Lancaster/Palmdale area, from Bakersfield, and from San Bernardino, the three nearest major urban centers. Private air travel in and out of the city is provided through the Inyokern Airport. There are currently no scheduled commercial flights.
The city has been near the epicenter of major earthquakes, including one in 1995 and a series of quakes in July 2019.
The settlement began as a farming community called Crumville i