See Petroglyph Canyons in your Ridgecrest Rental Car
The city of Ridgecrest is located along U.S. Route 395 in the Indian Wells Valley, adjacent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Surrounded by four mountain ranges (the Sierra Nevada in the west, the Cosos in the north, the Argus Range in the east and the El Paso Mountains in the south), the city is a very scenic stopping point in your Thrifty rental car.
The first side trip on your tour of Ridgecrest is right inside the city, so no need to drive very far in your Ridgecrest rental car. The Maturango Museum is best known for the guided tours to Little Petroglyph Canyon on China Lake Naval Weapons Station. Visitors can enjoy various exhibits and displays featuring both the natural and the cultural history and diversity of the Northern Mojave Desert — focusing on plants, animals, Native American artifacts, geology and contemporary arts and crafts.
Naval Air Weapons Station
While you can’t drive your Thrifty rental car here, the base is an interesting landmark for visitors passing through. Coming in as the largest single landholding of the United States Navy, this naval base covers more than 1,100,000 acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. China Lake represents 85% of the Navy’s land for weapons and armaments research, development, acquisition, testing and evaluation. Roughly $3 billion of the architecture on this Naval Air Weapons Station consists of 2,132 buildings and facilities, 329 miles of paved roads and 1,801 miles of unpaved roads. The base is adjacent to Ridgecrest and operated by the United States Navy and its contractors. Part of local folklore is the story of the officers’ family housing on base. The officers are said to host big monthly “pig parties” where a lawn ornament shaped like a pig is put by the previous host on another officer’s lawn, signaling who will host the next party.
Coso Rock Art District
If you love Native American history, take a drive over in your Ridgecrest rental car and view this stunning canyon. The Coso Rock Art District contains over 20,000 Native American petroglyphs now located within Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, near China Lake and Ridgecrest, California. Sometimes associated with the Big and Little Petroglyph Canyons, Coso Rock Art District offers visitors some eye-catching subjects, such as bighorn sheep, deer and antelope. To celebrate this national wonder, the Ridgecrest Petroglyph Festival was created to highlight the petroglyphs, native culture and Ridgecrest as a California tourist destination.