We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Book On TripAdvisor Bonus Book your hotel on TripAdvisor — then save 20% on things to do for your trip. Use code BOOKTOSAVE.
Sponsored by:
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: Ridgecrest, CA
Website
Description:

The largest naval research area in the U.S., 1,200 square miles of desert...

The largest naval research area in the U.S., 1,200 square miles of desert and mountains, allows a limited number of tours into Little Petroglyph Canyon.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 33 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 17
    Excellent
  • 8
    Very good
  • 3
    Average
  • 0
    Poor
  • 2
    Terrible
It's rocket science..... honest!

I live in Ridgecrest, which is where all the rocket scientists and support staff for China Lake live. Ridgecrest mostly came to be because the government needed a place to design... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 27, 2016
ChinaLake1
Add Photo Write a Review

33 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
Showing 30: English reviews
Level Contributor
146 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2016

I live in Ridgecrest, which is where all the rocket scientists and support staff for China Lake live. Ridgecrest mostly came to be because the government needed a place to design, test, and blow up ordinances out of sight, out of hearing, and out of mind. The Mojave Desert is big and to most outsiders, empty. If you can say... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank ChinaLake1
Walnut Creek, California
Level Contributor
80 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2016

Well worth the hassle to visit, but I wonder why they can not move the museum off of the Naval Weapons property, into town. Would make the background check unnecessary, and create more access for the public.

Helpful?
Thank juliethegardener
Ridgecrest, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2016

This museum offers the visitor a great deal of information on the accomplishments and development of weapons technology here at China Lake. This little gem of the desert loaded with photos, video and static displays. If you have an interest in weapons development, this museum is bursting with information and there are kindly volunteers on duty to assist you. Make... More 

Helpful?
Thank Laura D
Catalina, Arizona
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2016

China Lake NAWS is an amazing place to visit, important mission. The Navy s well kept secret. Don't miss the opportunity to visit.

Helpful?
Thank vrbrick
Level Contributor
43 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 14, 2016

If you come here to visit the museum you have to go to the visitor center (located off base) to obtain a badge first. The museum is small but very interesting.

Helpful?
1 Thank Becky B
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
292 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 311 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2015

I visited the China Lake Base museum in November 2015 with my family and we all loved the experience. In order to get into the museum you have to get a background check completed at the Pass and ID office. The process can take up to 2 hours. There may be a way to have the background completed before arriving... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank SNAFU23
London
Level Contributor
100 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2015 via mobile

We were travelling from the Grand Canyon to San Francisco and decided to break the journey at ridgecrest, to see the China Lake Naval museum. We had read reviews and also spoke to the museum before travelling, and all seemed to say there would be an hour or so wait for security. THIS IS NOT TRUE FOR OVERSEAS VISITORS! We... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank rob1london
Laurel, Maryland
Level Contributor
169 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2015

This base has a lot of military test facilities as can be found listed on the web. The base is immense. It varies from an elevation of 2500 feet to over 6,000 ft. It the summer it is damn hot at the lower elevation and simply hot at the higher elevation.

Helpful?
1 Thank Bruce L
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2015

First of all you need a pass to get on the Naval Base at China Lake. If you are a foreigner with a passport you will be allowed to go to the museum. Military with ID, contractors and military retired with ID do not have a problem getting on base to come to the musuem. Mon. thru Fri. the visitors... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Lynn M
Southport, Connecticut
Level Contributor
128 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2015

Interesting museum. Apparently China Lake was instrumental in developing the shaped explosives for Fat Man. If you have any interest in Engineering, you'll enjoy this museum. I particularly enjoyed the reconstruction of a 1940's engineering bench, with such labels as 'telephone - in those days, phones were attached to the wall by a wire' or 'slide rule - the pocket... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Hans_Sachs

Travelers who viewed China Lake Naval Weapons Center also viewed

Ridgecrest, California Desert
Ridgecrest, California Desert
 
Ridgecrest, California Desert
Ridgecrest, California Desert
 

Been to China Lake Naval Weapons Center? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of China Lake Naval Weapons Center and other visitors
1 question
Ask a question
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
3 months ago

See all questions (1)

Questions? Get answers from China Lake Naval Weapons Center staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?