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Tehachapi Mountains

Tehachapi Mountains

Overview
The Tehachapi Mountains (icon), regionally also called The Tehachapis, are a mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

 in the Transverse Ranges
Transverse Ranges
The Transverse Ranges are a group of mountain ranges of southern California, in the Pacific Coast Ranges physiographic region that runs along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico in North America. The Transverse Ranges begin at the southern end of the California Coast Ranges and lie between...

 system of California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 in the Western United States
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

. The range extends for approximately 40 miles (64.4 km) in southern Kern County
Kern County, California
Spreading across the southern end of the California Central Valley, Kern County is the fifth-largest county by population in California. Its economy is heavily linked to agriculture and to petroleum extraction, and there is a strong aviation and space presence. Politically, it has generally...

 and northeastern Los Angeles County.

The Tehachapis form a geographic, watershed, habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

, and rain shadow
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

 divide separating the San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton...

 to the northwest and the Mojave Desert
Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona, in the United States...

 to the southeast. The Tehachapis' crest varies in height from approximately 4000–8000 ft (1,219.2–2,438.4 m).
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Encyclopedia
The Tehachapi Mountains (icon), regionally also called The Tehachapis, are a mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

 in the Transverse Ranges
Transverse Ranges
The Transverse Ranges are a group of mountain ranges of southern California, in the Pacific Coast Ranges physiographic region that runs along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico in North America. The Transverse Ranges begin at the southern end of the California Coast Ranges and lie between...

 system of California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 in the Western United States
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

. The range extends for approximately 40 miles (64.4 km) in southern Kern County
Kern County, California
Spreading across the southern end of the California Central Valley, Kern County is the fifth-largest county by population in California. Its economy is heavily linked to agriculture and to petroleum extraction, and there is a strong aviation and space presence. Politically, it has generally...

 and northeastern Los Angeles County.

Geography


The Tehachapis form a geographic, watershed, habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

, and rain shadow
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

 divide separating the San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton...

 to the northwest and the Mojave Desert
Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona, in the United States...

 to the southeast. The Tehachapis' crest varies in height from approximately 4000–8000 ft (1,219.2–2,438.4 m). They are southeast of Bakersfield
Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield is a city near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County, California. It is roughly equidistant between Fresno and Los Angeles, to the north and south respectively....

 and the Central Valley, and west of Mojave
Mojave, California
Mojave is a census-designated place in Kern County, California, United States. Mojave is located east of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2762 feet...

 and the Antelope Valley
Antelope Valley
The Antelope Valley in California, United States, is located in northern Los Angeles County and the southeastern portion of Kern County, California, and constitutes the western tip of the Mojave Desert...

. The range runs southwest to northeast (SW-NE) connecting the Southern Sierra Nevada range on their northeast with the San Emigdio Mountains
San Emigdio Mountains
The San Emigdio Mountains are a part of the Transverse Ranges in Southern California, extending from Interstate 5 at Lebec and Gorman on the east to Highway 33–166 on the west. They link the Tehachapis and Temblor Range and form the southern wall of the San Joaquin Valley.The range is within Los...

 on the west and Sierra Pelona Mountains
Sierra Pelona Mountains
The Sierra Pelona Mountains , or the Sierra Pelona Ridge, is a mountain range in the Transverse Ranges of Southern California.. They are located within Los Angeles and Kern Counties.-Geography:...

 on the southwest.

The Tehachapis are delineated from the San Emigdio Mountains by Tejon Pass
Tejon Pass
The Tejon Pass is a mountain pass at the southwest end of the Tehachapi Mountains linking Southern to Central California.-Geography:The apex of the pass is near the northwesternmost corner of Los Angeles County, north of Gorman...

 at the range's western end. The dramatic incline of Interstate 5
Interstate 5 in California
Interstate 5 is a major north–south route of the Interstate Highway System in the U.S. state of California. It begins at the Mexico – United States border at the San Ysidro crossing, goes north across the length of California and crosses into Oregon south of the Medford-Ashland metropolitan...

  from the San Joaquin Valley floor up to the pass, is regionally referred to as The Grapevine, after Grapevine Canyon which it follows between the northern slopes of the two mountain ranges. The canyon was named after native
Native plant
Native plant is a term to describe plants endemic or naturalized to a given area in geologic time.This includes plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area...

 grapevines, the California grapevine (Vitis californica)
Vitis californica
Vitis californica is a wild grape species native to most of California and southwestern Oregon. It is a deciduous vine which can grow to over 10 m in length. It climbs on other plants or covers the ground with twisted, woody ropes of vine covered in green leaves...

, found at spring
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

s on its slopes. The California State Water Project
California State Water Project
The California State Water Project, commonly known as the SWP , is the world's largest publicly built and operated water and power development and conveyance system. The SWP was designed and is operated by the California Department of Water Resources...

 is to the east, with the California Aqueduct
California Aqueduct
The Governor Edmund G. Brown California Aqueduct is a system of canals, tunnels, and pipelines that conveys water collected from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and valleys of Northern- and Central California to Southern California. The Department of Water Resources operates and maintains the...

 pumped by the Edmonston Pumping Plant
Edmonston Pumping Plant
Edmonston Pumping Plant is a pumping station near the south end of the California Aqueduct. It raises the water 1,926 feet to cross the Tehachapi Mountains...

 over/through the Tehachapis to Castaic Lake
Castaic Lake
Castaic Lake is an artificial lake on Castaic Creek formed by Castaic Dam, in northwestern Los Angeles County, California, near the town of Castaic. The lake with a surface elevation of approximately above sea level is the terminus of the West Branch of the California Aqueduct, though some comes...

 reservoir.

The Tehachapis are delineated from the Sierra Pelona Mountains by California State Route 138
California State Route 138
State Route 138 is an east–west state highway generally following the northern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California, USA from its junction with Interstate 5 south of Gorman eastward to Mount Anderson Junction, its eastern junction with State Route 18 south of...

 at the range's southwestern end, connecting Interstate 5 and the Antelope Valley.

The Tehachapis are delineated from the Sierra Nevada by Tehachapi Pass
Tehachapi Pass
Tehachapi Pass is a mountain pass crossing the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County, California in the United States. The route over the pass connects the San Joaquin Valley to the Mojave Desert...

 and State Route 58
California State Route 58
State Route 58 is an east-west highway across the California Coast Ranges, the southern San Joaquin Valley, the Tehachapi Mountains, which border the southern Sierra Nevada, and the Mojave Desert. It runs between its western terminus near Santa Margarita and its eastern terminus at Barstow...

 at the range's northeastern end, connecting the San Joaquin Valley and Mojave Desert. The Union Pacific north/south railroad line, with the famous Tehachapi Loop
Tehachapi Loop
The Tehachapi Loop is a long 'spiral', or helix, on The Union Pacific Railroad through Tehachapi Pass, in south central California. The railroad line connects Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley to Mojave in the Antelope Valley. The loop takes its name from the circuitous route it takes, in...

, crosses here also. The Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm
Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm
Wind development in the Tehachapi Pass began in the early 1980s. The area hosts a multitude of wind farms, comprising one of California's largest wind resource areas. The pass is undergoing much repowering activity...

 is on its eastern side.

The Tehachapis, though neither as long or high as other California mountain ranges, are often considered the topographic feature that separates this part of Northern California
Northern California
Northern California is the northern portion of the U.S. state of California. The San Francisco Bay Area , and Sacramento as well as its metropolitan area are the main population centers...

 from Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

, with the geographic boundary often being Kern County
Kern County, California
Spreading across the southern end of the California Central Valley, Kern County is the fifth-largest county by population in California. Its economy is heavily linked to agriculture and to petroleum extraction, and there is a strong aviation and space presence. Politically, it has generally...

. Some historians consider that California averted a potential split into two separate states - "North California" and "South California" - from the early 20th century Ridge Route
Ridge Route
The Ridge Route, officially the Castaic-Tejon Route, was a two-lane highway running between Los Angeles and Kern counties, California. Opened in 1915 and paved with concrete between 1917 and 1921, the road was the first paved highway directly linking the Los Angeles Basin with the San Joaquin...

 construction, the first highway crossing these mountains to connect the Greater Los Angeles
Greater Los Angeles Area
The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland, is a term used for the Combined Statistical Area sprawled over five counties in the southern part of California, namely Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County...

 and San Joaquin Valley regions.

Geology


The Tehachapis are largely the result of the movements of the Garlock Fault
Garlock Fault
The Garlock Fault is a left-lateral strike-slip fault running approximately northeast-southwest in the Mojave Desert of southern California. It runs for much of its length along the southern base of the Tehachapi Mountains...

, located along the southeastern base of the range, a major transform fault
Transform fault
A transform fault or transform boundary, also known as conservative plate boundary since these faults neither create nor destroy lithosphere, is a type of fault whose relative motion is predominantly horizontal in either sinistral or dextral direction. Furthermore, transform faults end abruptly...

 which runs from the San Andreas Fault
San Andreas Fault
The San Andreas Fault is a continental strike-slip fault that runs a length of roughly through California in the United States. The fault's motion is right-lateral strike-slip...

 in the west to the Sierra Nevada Fault
Sierra Nevada Fault
The Sierra Nevada Fault is a normal seismic fault along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain block in California. It also demarcates the western margin of the Basin and Range geologic province. Activity on this fault is responsible for the continuing uplift of the Sierra Nevada. ...

 on the east and some distance beyond. This earthquake fault is unusual in California in that it is a left-lateral fault — meaning that if one stands facing the fault, the land on the opposite side moves to the left — opposite to most of the state's faults which are right-lateral faults.

Natural history



The Tehachapi Mountains are a major and crucial wildlife corridor
Wildlife corridor
A wildlife corridor or green corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities . This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent the negative effects of inbreeding and reduced genetic diversity that often occur within...

 and plant habitat bridge linking the other Transverse Ranges and the California Coast Ranges on the west with the Sierra Nevada on the east. Their relative lack of development, especially in the large Tejon Ranch
Tejon Ranch
The Tejon Ranch Company , based in Lebec, California, is one of the largest private landowners in California. [The federally-gifted lands still held by the Catellus Corporation, a successor to the Southern Pacific Land Company, are much more extensive.] It was incorporated in 1936 to organise the...

 section, have allowed the continuity of these ecological functions to date.

Flora



The Tehachapis are primarily in the California interior chaparral and woodlands
California interior chaparral and woodlands
The California interior chaparral and woodlands ecoregion covers in an elliptical ring around the California Central Valley. It occurs on hills and mountains ranging from to . It is part of the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome, with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers...

 sub-ecoregion
Ecoregion
An ecoregion , sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural...

, with native grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s, California oak woodland
California oak woodland
California oak woodland is a plant community found throughout the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion of California in the United States and northwestern Baja California in Mexico...

s and Oak savanna
Oak savanna
An oak savanna is a type of savanna, or lightly forested grassland, where oaks are the dominant tree species. These savannas were maintained historically through wildfires set by lightning, grazing, low precipitation, poor soil, and/or fires set by Native Americans...

 the predominate habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

s. The higher montane
Montane
In biogeography, montane is the highland area located below the subalpine zone. Montane regions generally have cooler temperatures and often have higher rainfall than the adjacent lowland regions, and are frequently home to distinct communities of plants and animals.The term "montane" means "of the...

 elevations include the California mixed evergreen forest
California mixed evergreen forest
California mixed evergreen forest is an ecoregion, of the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome, that occurs in the Pacific Coast Ranges of southwestern Oregon and California, and in the Coast, Transverse, and Peninsular Ranges in California...

 plant community. Some of the chaparral
Chaparral
Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the U.S. state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico...

 woodland species include: Canyon Live Oak (Quercus chrysolepis)
Quercus chrysolepis
Quercus chrysolepis, commonly termed Canyon Live Oak, or Golden Cup Oak, is a species of evergreen oak that is found in the southwestern part of North America, notably in the California Coast Ranges. This tree is often found near creeks and drainage swales growing in moist cool microhabitats...

, Valley oak (Quercus lobata), Blue Oak (Quercus douglasii), and Gray pine (Pinus sabiniana).

Montane species include: Black oak (Quercus kelloggii), Coulter Pine (Pinus coulteri), Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)
Calocedrus
Calocedrus is a genus of three species of coniferous trees in the cypress family Cupressaceae.The generic name means "beautiful cedar".-Description:...

, White Fir (Abies concolor), and in a few remote locations small stands of Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Populus tremuloides
Populus tremuloides is a deciduous tree native to cooler areas of North America, commonly called quaking aspen, trembling aspen, American aspen, and Quakies,. The trees have tall trunks, up to 25 metres, with smooth pale bark, scarred with black. The glossy green leaves, dull beneath, become golden...

.

The Tehachapi linanthus (Leptosiphon nudatus)
Leptosiphon nudatus
Leptosiphon nudatus is a species of flowering plant in the phlox family known by the common name Tehachapi linanthus.-Distribution:...

 is a phlox
Phlox
Phlox is a genus of 67 species of perennial and annual plants found mostly in North America in diverse habitats from alpine tundra to open woodland and prairie. Some flower in spring, others in summer and autumn....

 plant species endemic to chaparral
Chaparral
Chaparral is a shrubland or heathland plant community found primarily in the U.S. state of California and in the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico...

 habitat in the Tehachapi Mountains and the southern Sierra Nevada. The Tehachapi ragwort (Packera ionophylla)
Packera ionophylla
Packera ionophylla is an uncommon species of flowering plant in the aster family known by the common name Tehachapi ragwort. It is endemic to California, where it is known from the Tehachapi Mountains, the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, and Alamo Mountain near the Grapevine...

 is an aster plant species endemic to forest habitat in the Tehachapis and eastern Transverse Ranges. The Tehachapi buckwheat (Eriogonum callistum)
Eriogonum callistum
Eriogonum callistum is a rare species of wild buckwheat known by the common name Tehachapi buckwheat. It is endemic to the Tehachapi Mountains of Kern County, California, where there are an estimated 2000 individuals in existence. It grows in rocky limestone soils in chaparral habitat among...

 is known only from the chaparral of the Tehachapis.

Fauna


The Tehachapi slender salamander
Tehachapi slender salamander
The Tehachapi slender salamander is a plethodontid salamander, and one of the larger members of genus Batrachoseps. It is endemic to California, in Kern County in the western United States.-Distribution:...

 is endemic to the Tehachapi Mountains and a listed Vulnerable species
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

. The White-eared Pocket Mouse
White-eared Pocket Mouse
The White-eared Pocket Mouse is a species of rodent in the Heteromyidae family. It is endemic to the San Bernardino Mountains and the Tehachapi Mountains of southern California in the United States....

 is endemic to the Tehachapis and San Bernardino Mountains
San Bernardino Mountains
The San Bernardino Mountains are a short transverse mountain range north and east of San Bernardino in Southern California in the United States. The mountains run for approximately 60 miles east-west on the southern edge of the Mojave Desert in southwestern San Bernardino County, north of the...

 and a listed Endangered species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

.

There are at least 107 bird species, including the Steller's Jay
Steller's Jay
The Steller's Jay is a jay native to western North America, closely related to the Blue Jay found in the rest of the continent, but with a black head and upper body. It is also known as the Long-crested Jay, Mountain Jay, and Pine Jay...

 and Mountain Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
The Mountain Chickadee is a small songbird, a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. Often, it is still placed in the genus Parus with most other tits, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data and morphology suggest that separating Poecile more adequately expresses these birds' relationships...

, found in the Tehachapis, many which consume acorns of the Black oak (Quercus kelloggii) as part of their diet. Other flora found here include the buckbrush
Purshia tridentata
Purshia tridentata is a nitrogen fixing shrub in the genus Purshia, native to mountainous areas of western North America ranging from southeastern British Columbia in the north, east to Montana and south to California and New Mexico...

 and mountain mahogany. The notable raptor
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 is the California Condor
California Condor
The California Condor is a New World vulture, the largest North American land bird. Currently, this condor inhabits only the Grand Canyon area, Zion National Park, and coastal mountains of central and southern California and northern Baja California...

, a Critically endangered species. As in many California mountains, larger fauna includes: mule deer
Mule Deer
The mule deer is a deer indigenous to western North America. The Mule Deer gets its name from its large mule-like ears. There are believed to be several subspecies, including the black-tailed deer...

, mountain lion, coyote
Coyote
The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

, fox
Fox
Fox is a common name for many species of omnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family. Foxes are small to medium-sized canids , characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail .Members of about 37 species are referred to as foxes, of which only 12 species actually belong to...

, black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

, feral pig
Domestic pig
The domestic pig is a domesticated animal that traces its ancestry to the wild boar, and is considered a subspecies of the wild boar or a distinct species in its own right. It is likely the wild boar was domesticated as early as 13,000 BC in the Tigris River basin...

, bobcat
Bobcat
The bobcat is a North American mammal of the cat family Felidae, appearing during the Irvingtonian stage of around 1.8 million years ago . With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States...

 and racoon
Racoon
Racoon is a Dutch rock band, formed in 1997. Their first big appearance was at the 1999 Noorderslagfestival. First album Till Monkeys Fly appeared in January 2000, produced by Michael Schoots . The first single, Feel Like Flying, became a hit and got a lot of airplay on the Dutch radiostation 3FM...

.

Climate


The range includes and is the boundary between the xeric Mojave Desert and Mediterranean climate zones, and includes the subalpine zone. The majority of the range is in the Mediterranean climate zone, receiving precipitation in the winter similar to the neighboring Transverse Ranges in the Los Padres
Los Padres National Forest
Los Padres National Forest is a forest located in southern and central California, which includes most of the mountainous land along the California coast from Ventura to Monterey, extending inland...

 and Angeles National Forest
Angeles National Forest
The Angeles National Forest of the U.S. National Forest Service is located in the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County, southern California. It was established on July 1, 1908, incorporating the first San Bernardino National Forest and parts of the former Santa Barbara and San Gabriel...

s to the west and southwest. They create a rain shadow
Rain shadow
A rain shadow is a dry area on the lee side of a mountainous area. The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems, casting a "shadow" of dryness behind them. As shown by the diagram to the right, the warm moist air is "pulled" by the prevailing winds over a mountain...

 for the eastern foothills ecotone
Ecotone
An ecotone is a transition area between two biomes but different patches of the landscape, such as forest and grassland. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local or regional...

 into the Mojave climate zone that typically receives only a few inches of precipitation a year, usually in winter. Summer monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 season can bring localized rains to the higher subalpine parts of the range.

The prevailing wind is northwesterly, funneling up the east-west canyons from the San Joaquin Valley into the valleys, upper canyons, and passes of the Tehachapi range with regularity. The Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm
Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm
Wind development in the Tehachapi Pass began in the early 1980s. The area hosts a multitude of wind farms, comprising one of California's largest wind resource areas. The pass is undergoing much repowering activity...

 exists due to this. To the northwest lies the San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley
The San Joaquin Valley is the area of the Central Valley of California that lies south of the Sacramento – San Joaquin River Delta in Stockton...

 with its grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s and oak savanna climbing the broad western slopes of the range. Like sand dunes piling up where winds converge, the Tehachapis collect marine and valley moisture, which piles up into fog that blankets the windward sides of the range many weeks of the year. The higher north-facing slopes are mixed evergreen forest
California mixed evergreen forest
California mixed evergreen forest is an ecoregion, of the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome, that occurs in the Pacific Coast Ranges of southwestern Oregon and California, and in the Coast, Transverse, and Peninsular Ranges in California...

, while the south-facing are chaparral and woodlands
California chaparral and woodlands
The California chaparral and woodlands is a terrestrial ecoregion of lower northern, central, and southern California and northwestern Baja California , located on the west coast of North America...

, typical of the relationship between the cooler moisture-retaining northern slopes and the exposed warmer and dryer southern slopes. Canyons, even on southern slopes, can have year-round surface water
Surface water
Surface water is water collecting on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean; it is related to water collecting as groundwater or atmospheric water....

 flow, from springs and where orographic enhancement brings extra precipitation and snow from passing storms.

History


Indigenous peoples

The origin of the name Tehachapi may come from the Kawaiisu language
Kawaiisu language
The Kawaiisu language is an Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Kawaiisu people of California.-Classification:Kawaiisu is a member of the Southern Numic division of the Uto-Aztecan language family.-Linguistic Environment:...

, derived from the word "tihachipia" translated as "hard climb".

The historic Indigenous peoples of California
Indigenous peoples of California
The Indigenous peoples of California are the indigenous inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic area within the current boundaries of California before and after the arrival of Europeans. With over one hundred federally recognized tribes, California has the largest Native...

 with homelands in the Tehachapi Mountains were the:
  • Kitanemuk
    Kitanemuk
    The Kitanemuk were a Native American tribe and people who lived in the Tehachapi Mountains and the Antelope Valley area of the western Mojave Desert of southern California, United States.-Language:...

  • Kawaiisu
    Kawaiisu
    thumb|Kawaiisu FamilyThe Kawaiisu are a Native American group who lived in the southern California Tehachapi Valley and across the Tehachapi Pass in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains to the north, toward Lake Isabella and Walker Pass...

  • Serrano people


Ranchos
The historic Mexican land grant
Ranchos of California
The Spanish, and later the Méxican government encouraged settlement of territory now known as California by the establishment of large land grants called ranchos, from which the English ranch is derived. Devoted to raising cattle and sheep, the owners of the ranchos attempted to pattern themselves...

s in the Tehachapis are:
  • Rancho El Tejon
    Rancho El Tejon
    Rancho El Tejon was a Mexican land grant in the Tehachapi Mountains, in present day Kern County, California given in 1843 by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to José Antonio Aguirre and Ygnacio del Valle...

     (1843)
  • Rancho Castac
    Rancho Castac
    This is an article about a former California rancho. For a community of a similar name in the same general area, see Castaic, California.Rancho Castac or Rancho Castec was a Mexican land grant in present-day Kern and Los Angeles counties, California, made by Governor Manuel Micheltorena to Jose...

     (1843)
  • Rancho La Liebre
    Rancho La Liebre
    Rancho La Liebre was a Mexican land grant in present day Kern County, California and Los Angeles County given in 1846 by Governor Pio Pico to Jose Maria Flores. Liebre means "Rabbit" in Spanish and the rancho was named as such because of the abundance of jack rabbits in the area...

     (1846)
  • Rancho Los Alamos y Agua Caliente
    Rancho Los Alamos y Agua Caliente
    Rancho Los Alamos y Agua Caliente was a Mexican land grant in present day Kern County, California given in 1846 by Governor Pio Pico to Francisco Lopes, Luis Jordan and Vicente Botiller. The name means "Cottonwoods and Warm Water Ranch" in Spanish. The native riparian Fremont Cotonwood grow...

     (1846)

All four Tehachapi ranchos were acquired over 1855 to 1866 and combined by Edward Beale
Edward Fitzgerald Beale
Edward Fitzgerald "Ned" Beale was a national figure in 19th century America. He was naval officer, military general, explorer, frontiersman, Indian affairs superintendent, California rancher, diplomat, and friend of Kit Carson, Buffalo Bill Cody and Ulysses S. Grant...

. As the Tejon Ranch
Tejon Ranch
The Tejon Ranch Company , based in Lebec, California, is one of the largest private landowners in California. [The federally-gifted lands still held by the Catellus Corporation, a successor to the Southern Pacific Land Company, are much more extensive.] It was incorporated in 1936 to organise the...

 it stayed in the family until sold by Truxtun Beale
Truxtun Beale
Truxtun Beale was an American diplomat.-Biography:Beale was born in San Francisco to Edward Fitzgerald Beale and Mary Engle Edwards; his siblings were Mary and Emily . He was named for his grand-father Commodore Thomas Truxtun...

 1912. The purchase was by a Harry Chandler
Harry Chandler
Harry Chandler was an American newspaper publisher and investor who became owner of the largest real estate empire in the U.S.-Biography:...

Moses Sherman
Moses Sherman
Moses Hazeltine Sherman was a land developer who built the Phoenix Street Railway in Phoenix, Arizona, and later built other lines and owned property in the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, California. He also served on the Los Angeles Water Board.At the junction of his streetcar lines west of...

 lead syndicate of land investors, and became a public company in 1936. Tejon Ranch is still one of the largest private landholdings in the state, and currently an undeveloped agricultural and wildland entity. The Tejon Ranch corporation has recently proposed major new developments in portions of the Tehachapi Mountains, including the Tejon Mountain Village
Tejon Mountain Village
Tejon Mountain Village is a proposed residential, commercial, and recreational development of pristine, rugged property in the Tehachapi Mountains owned by the Tejon Ranch Company in Lebec, southern Kern County, California. The development includes the largest conservation and land-use agreement in...

 and Centennial, California
Centennial, California
Centennial, California, is a proposed planned community between Bakersfield and Los Angeles in Los Angeles County located north of Highway 138, and just east of Interstate 5; specifically, surrounding the north and east sides of Quail Lake...

 planned urban center.


Other historic sites of the Tehachapi region:
  • Oak Creek Pass
    Oak Creek Pass
    Oak Creek Pass is a mountain pass on the eastern side of the Tehachapi Mountains, in Kern County, California. It connects the City of Tehachapi with the Mojave Desert. It is also a California Historical Landmark, number 97....

     - Indian trail in the Tehachapis, Francisco Garces
    Francisco Garcés
    Francisco Hermenegildo Tomás Garcés was a Spanish Franciscan missionary who explored much of the southwestern part of North America, including what are now Arizona, southern California, and northeastern Baja California. Garcés was born April 12, 1738, in Morata de Jalón , Zaragoza province,...

     was first European to use the pass in 1776
  • Fort Tejon
    Fort Tejon
    Fort Tejon in California is a former United States Army outpost which was intermittently active from June 24, 1854, until September 11, 1864. It is located in the Grapevine Canyon area of Tejon Pass along Interstate 5, the main route through the mountains separating the Central Valley from Los...

    : 1854 fort, with the nearby former 1854 Chumash Sebastian Indian Reservation. Now Fort Tejon State Historic Park in the Tejon Pass area.
  • 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake - moment magnitude
    Moment magnitude scale
    The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...

     of 7.9, average slip along the fault was 4.5 metres (14.8 ft)
  • Monolith Cement Works: supplied concrete
    Concrete
    Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

     for the construction of Hoover Dam
    Hoover Dam
    Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President...

     and other major public works; east of Tehachapi Pass.

Peaks


  • Double Mountain
    Double Mountain (California)
    Double Mountain is the highest point in the Tehachapi Mountains of California. It has two summits of nearly the same elevation. It is south of the town of Tehachapi, Highway 58 and Tehachapi Pass....

     7,981 ft (2,433 m)
  • Tehachapi Mountain 7,960+ ft (2,426+ m)
  • Cummings Mountain
    Cummings Mountain
    -United States:In the United States, according to :...

     7,760+ ft (2,365+ m)
  • Bear Mountain 6,920+ ft (2,109+ m)
  • Black Mountain 5,686 ft (1,733 m)
  • Grapevine Peak 4,815 ft (1,468 m)

See also

  • Tehachapi, California
    Tehachapi, California
    Tehachapi is a city incorporated in 1909 located in the Tehachapi Mountains between Bakersfield and Mojave in Kern County, California. Tehachapi is located east-southeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of...

  • Tejon Hills
    Tejon Hills
    The Tejon Hills are a low mountain range in the Transverse Ranges, in southern Kern County, California.The Tejon Hills are on the east side of the Tehachapi Mountains facing the San Joaquin Valley, approximately west of the town of Tehachapi. The highest point of the hills is ....

  • Tejon Mountain Village
    Tejon Mountain Village
    Tejon Mountain Village is a proposed residential, commercial, and recreational development of pristine, rugged property in the Tehachapi Mountains owned by the Tejon Ranch Company in Lebec, southern Kern County, California. The development includes the largest conservation and land-use agreement in...

  • Centennial, California
    Centennial, California
    Centennial, California, is a proposed planned community between Bakersfield and Los Angeles in Los Angeles County located north of Highway 138, and just east of Interstate 5; specifically, surrounding the north and east sides of Quail Lake...

  • Path 26
    Path 26
    Path 26 is a set of three Southern California Edison 500 kV power lines, located primarily in Los Angeles County, and extending into Kern and Ventura Counties, all in California...


External links

  • Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park website - with the Kawaiisu
    Kawaiisu
    thumb|Kawaiisu FamilyThe Kawaiisu are a Native American group who lived in the southern California Tehachapi Valley and across the Tehachapi Pass in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains to the north, toward Lake Isabella and Walker Pass...

    Native American Village