The path of one of the world’s most well-known trails runs just east of Tehachapi, drawing dozens of hikers to the mountain town every year.
The Pacific Crest Trail stretches 2,652 miles through the western side of the United States, from the county’s northern and southern borders. Hikers traveling north use Tehachapi as a place of rest and relaxation before climbing to higher altitudes further up the trail.
A group of “trail angels” in Tehachapi ferry the hikers back and forth from the trail, letting them sleep in their houses and shower after days on the dirt path.
But aside from the mother of all West Coast trails, Tehachapi offers numerous other hiking experiences.
Whether you get to Tehachapi by train, car or foot, the area offers numerous opportunities for experiencing the natural world.
Willow Springs Road Trailhead
Located at the intersection of Tehachapi-Willow Springs Road and Cameron Canyon Road, this section of the Pacific Crest Trail will take hikers through either through one of the region's many wind farms or along an old creek bed.
Traveling north, hikers will eventually reach Highway 58 via a wind turbine forest. The southern route takes travelers down Cottonwood Creek, a steep route that can be difficult to navigate.
Highway 58 at Cameron Canyon Road Trailhead
Those who travel north of Highway 58 along the trail will relive the first steps of Cheryl Strayed, whose bestselling memoir, “Wild,” has inspired thousands to hike the trail.
The trail quickly gains elevation, reaching the top of Waterfall Canyon in eight miles.
Approximately eight miles beyond Waterfall Canyon is Golden Oak Springs, a year-round spring.
Tehachapi Mountain Park
A few miles south of Tehachapi, this 490-acre park offers opportunities for hiking, camping and horseback riding.
Although not for the fainthearted, a hike up Woody’s Peak (elevation, 7,986 feet) brings travelers to the dividing line between the San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles Basin.
The Nuooah Nature Trail loops a quarter mile within the park. The interpretive trail was built and is still maintained in part by Boy Scout Troop 104 and bears 20 markers that describe points of interest along the trail.
Golden Hills Nature Park
Located on the grounds of an old golf course, this natural area offers leisurly hikes in an area just outside Tehachapi called Golden Hills.
The golf course sat dormant for 20 years before being repurposed into a trail system.
Visitors can expect great views of nature and wildlife. About five miles of trails can be used by hikers, horseback riders and cyclists.
Those hoping to take home a souvenir may be lucky enough to find a stray golf ball.