15 Best Things to Do in Tehachapi, CA

Tehachapi loop, Tehachapi, CA
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A two-hour drive north of Hollywood welcomes you to a small sleepy city of Tehachapi in Kern County.

This city may not be as trendy as the others in California, but it offers a unique travel adventure that you won't find anywhere else.

The city is the namesake of the Tehachapi Mountains down south in Southern California.

Despite its quaint vibes, Tehachapi is slowly making its name as one of the upcoming tourist destinations in Southern California.

Tehachapi is rich in natural attractions, which aren't as crowded as other places in the country.

Plus, it has well-preserved historical sites that will tell you exciting stories about the past.

Since it's on the outskirts of Los Angeles, many people drive to Tehachapi to catch some break, relax, and do activities they won't find in a major city.

Tehachapi, home to over 13,000 people, is known for its scenic view of Kern County's valleys and mountains.

Tehachapi's unique environment and vibes are rare to find.

So, if you want to find something unique and new, here are the 15 best things to do in Tehachapi, California:

Fly High With Skylark North's Glider

Skylark North's Glider
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Skylark North offers exhilarating glider rides, which give you a birds-eye view of the Tehachapi Mountains, the Mojave Desert, and the neighboring towns.

You can book at the company's glider tours, which take you 1,500 feet above the air for 10 to 15 minutes.

It's an experience you should not miss when you're in Tehachapi.

Skylark North's Glider
Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com

They also offer rides as high as 4,000 feet above the Tehachapi Mountains for half an hour.

Ultimately, booking a tour with them won't put a hole in your pocket.

They have very affordable rates that you can check on their website.

If you want a thrilling adventure in Tehachapi, head to Skylark North's office at 16334 Harris Road in Tehachapi City, CA.

Skylark North's Glider
Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com

Sip Good Wine at the Tehachapi Wine and Cattle Company

There's something about California wine that you can't taste from other wines.

So, when visiting Tehachapi, don't forget to drop by the Tehachapi Wine and Cattle Company at 26877 Cummings Valley Rd.

It's a must-visit place, especially if you're a wine connoisseur who has an exquisite taste for wines.

They offer a wide array of exquisite wines with their tasting room, while their mini-restaurant has good food and live music to complete your wine-tasting experience.

Travel Back Into the Past at the Tehachapi Museum

Front View of Tehachapi Museum
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If you're keen on learning about Tehachapi's past, then head to the Tehachapi Museum.

Upon arriving, the museum's building will greet you with its "Wild Western" architectural design built back in 1931.

The museum was the former branch of the Kern County Library and was converted into the museum in 1982.

Today, this place keeps a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, paintings, and well-preserved artworks by the Tehachapi Heritage League.

Front View of Tehachapi Museum
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The museum's collections are as fascinating as their stories because it provides you a closer look at how life in Tehachapi was in its early days.

The Tehachapi Museum is at 310 S Green St, Tehachapi, and it's open from 12 pm to 4 pm.

However, the museum is only open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Try the Mouthwatering Barbeque at Red House BBQ

If you're looking for good food in Tehachapi, locals would recommend the Red House BBQ.

The restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating areas to choose from.

However, it's their barbeques that people want to get back for more.

You'll quickly figure out that you're getting nearer to the restaurant because of the smoky barbeque smell from a distance.

The place is well-known for its beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs, pulled chicken, pastrami, and hot links.

Plus, the restaurant has an excellent selection of craft beer, which you can pair with their barbeque.

Red House BBQ is at 426 E Tehachapi Blvd and opens up daily from 11 am to 8 pm.

Fill Your Day With Fun at the Brite Valley Aquatic Recreation Area

The Brite Valley Aquatic Recreation Area, owned by the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District, is one of the top places for locals to visit every weekend.

It's the perfect place to camp, picnic, fishing, hiking, jogging, and do a lot more outdoor activities.

The place offers beautiful and picturesque natural scenery and is teeming with wildlife across its 90-acre land.

Worry not because the place has 35 campsites seated beside the lake, so you'll surely get a place to camp for the day or even the entire night.

Plus, they have amenities such as toilet rooms, drinking water, showers, and many more, for your ultimate camping experience.

To visit the place, it's at 22902 Banducci Road, Tehachapi, CA.

Take a Closer Look at the Tehachapi Loop

View of Tehachapi Loop
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Topping this list is, of course, the Tehachapi Loop, the city's main attraction.

The Tehachapi Loop is a long spiraling railroad that passes through the Tehachapi Pass on the Union Pacific Railroad Mojave Subdivision.

The entire railroad connects Tehachapi, Bakersfield, to San Joaquin and the Mojave Desert.

View of a Sign at Tehachapi Loop
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The Tehachapi Loop is famous for its 'loop,' as the railroad or track gains a slight elevation, creating a diameter circle or loop.

It's a must-visit place in Tehachapi because of its one-of-a-kind railroad structure that you rarely see anywhere else.

Meditate at the Mountain Spirit Center

Tehachapi is a truly fascinating and unique place to visit because of its surprises.

The city is also the home of a Buddhist temple and retreat built in between two canyons in Sand Canyon in the upper portion of Tehachapi City.

Those who have visited this place always find it remarkable and very tranquil.

It's where you'll likely find your inner peace because of the temple's calming atmosphere.

You'll instantly notice the three ornate buildings with beautiful Asian Buddhist architectural designs that you'll see in Asian countries.

To visit the temple, head to 8400 Juniper Way, Tehachapi.

It's open the entire week from 8 am to 6 pm.

Rub Elbows With the Locals in the Tehachapi Mountain Festival

The annual Tehachapi Mountain Festival at the Philip Marx Central Park is the biggest congregation of locals, businesses, artists, and food vendors in Tehachapi City.

The Greater Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce organizes the annual Festival every third weekend of August.

It's where you'll experience the warm hospitality of locals, good food, and superb entertainment.

So, when you're planning to visit Tehachapi, it would be great to schedule it in August to experience the festival.

An estimated 40,000 people from Tehachapi and neighboring towns and cities join the festival every year.

Learn About Railroad History at the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum

View of Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum
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Tehachapi's history is closely related to the railroad industry.

Thus, if you want to discover the city's history and learn about some fascinating facts about railroading back in the day, then this museum is your go-to place.

It opened to the public in 2010.

The Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum is nestled beside a bustling freight line utilized by the Union Pacific, Burlington Northern, and Santa Fe Railroads.

The museum keeps a vast collection of railroad and train artifacts.

To visit the museum, it's along 101 W Tehachapi Blvd.

The museum opens its doors from 11 am to 4 pm, except on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Treat Your Tastebuds With Wine at the Doner Family Vineyard

This family-owned boutique vineyard in Tehachapi is well-known by locals as a place for special occasions.

The vineyard is relatively young; it opened in 2009 when the owners got interested in German and Italian wines upon returning from their trip to Europe.

They brought home their fascination and interest and turned it into a small business.

Today, locals and visitors alike love their estate wines from their vineyards and winery.

It's where most memorable occasions in Tehachapi are held, such as weddings, birthdays, corporate events, and showers.

The Doner Family Vineyard has a tasting room, gift shop, and a small restaurant.

To visit the winery, it's at 18274 Old Ranch Rd, Tehachapi.

The vineyard starts serving from 1 pm to 6 pm every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Tehachapi's neighboring unincorporated communities are also teeming with exciting attractions and activities.

We've also listed down some of the best things to do near Tehachapi.

Hike Through the Red Rock Canyon State Park

View of Red Rock Canyon State Park
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You'll be mesmerized by the colorful cliffs in the Red Rock Canyon, which resulted from millions of years of wind and water erosion.

Red Rock Canyon has nothing short of dramatic and picturesque sceneries, making your hike there very memorable.

Red Rock Canyon State Park is an hour's drive northeast of Tehachapi.

View of Red Rock Canyon State Park
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This place used to be one of the leading trade routes for Native Americans over a thousand years ago.

Today, it serves as Cantil's main outdoor attraction for its desert flora and fauna and, of course, the canyons.

You can either hike, picnic, or camp in the state park.

To visit this place, head over to 37749 Abbott Dr, Cantil, CA.

View of Red Rock Canyon State Park
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Pay Tribute to Cesar E. Chavez at the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument

View of Cesar E. Chavez National Monument
Chris English, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A 13-minute drive to Keene, a census-designated community in Kern County, will take you to the national monument for labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar E. Chavez.

Also called Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz, the national monument sits on a 116-acre in Keene.

It's also the home of the United Farm Workers (UFW), which Chavez has fought for in the 1970s for their rights and his final resting place.

View of Cesar E. Chavez National Monument
Bobak Ha'Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Historically, Chavez spent his life fighting for farm workers' rights in the United States.

If you want to learn about the history and the struggles back in the day, this national monument is the perfect place to visit.

The national monument is open to the public from 10 am to 4 pm the entire week.

Unwind at the Tehachapi Mountain Park

If you're looking for a relaxing hike along a scenic trail, head to Tehachapi Mountain Park.

The Mountain Park is a stone's throw away from Tehachapi City.

To get to the Tehachapi Mountain Park, it's a 14-minute drive south of Tehachapi City.

It offers the best trails in Kern County, perfect for a day filled with outdoor activities.

The Mountain Park has biking trails, hiking trails, and off-road running trails.

Plus, the trails are ascending about 500 meters in elevation gain, making it more exciting.

If you want to complete your experience there, climb Woody's Peak to get a beautiful look over the entire park that stretches over 490 acres.

Shop for Great Finds at the Outlets at Tejon

View of Outlets at Tejon
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If you want to shop for unique finds with great discounts, then take a 34-minute drive west of Tehachapi City.

It's where you'll find the Outlets at Tejon, a newly-opened outlet shopping center in Arvin City that offers you mainstream brands with huge discounts.

View of Outlets at Tejon
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You'll find classic to trendy fashion styles from around 70 brand-named and designer stores.

If you want to score some good finds before heading back home, you should visit the Outlets at Tejon at 5701 Outlets at Tejon Pkwy, Arvin.

The Outlets at Tejon are open from 10 am to 8 pm.

Take Photos at the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm

Windmills at Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm
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Wind farms are always a perfect background for beautiful Instagram photos.

That's why you must not forget to visit the Tehachapi Wind Farm in Mojave, CA.

It's an 18-minute drive southeast of Tehachapi City.

The wind farm is a significant power source in California and the United States, as it produces 710 megawatts of electricity from around 3,400 turbines.

Hike around the wind farm with your family or pet in the afternoon and take pictures of the scenic background.

Final Thoughts

Tehachapi's charm is entirely unassuming, especially for those who haven't been there.

However, our list would surely give you an idea of what kind of adventure awaits you there.

Whenever you're planning for a short excursion to a destination you've never heard of, Tehachapi's the best place to go.

Regardless of where you'll be visiting first on our list, don't ever forget to enjoy every moment of it.