Picture of the Tehapachi Mountains with a train going by.

Living In & Moving To Tehachapi CA | (2019) Ultimate Guide

Located in Kern County, halfway between Lancaster and Bakersfield, CA and up several hundred feet, you’ll find the charming mountain city of Tehachapi. With its beautiful surroundings, diverse population and affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder that people are moving to Tehachapi by the dozens. Wondering if this community might be perfect for you? Keep reading to find out.

What Does Tehachapi Mean?

Long before American settlers came to California, this mountainous area was dominated by Native American Tribes, mainly the Kawaiisu peoples. Tehachapi is most likely a variant on the Kawaiisu word “Tihachipia,” which means “hard climb.” Since the city lies at the center of the Tehachapi Valley, has an elevation of 3,970 feet and is surrounded by mountains on all sides, the word perfectly describes what it took to come and settle this community.

Tehachapi’s Population

Photo of a happy multigenerational family.

About 13,000 people live in Tehachapi, marking this as a small, but lively city. While less than half the residents are married, 54% of the population is made up of families with kids, and the community is known for being highly family-friendly. Young professionals make up a significant portion of the population, likely brought to the area by the municipality’s beauty and thriving economy.

Many people are also drawn to Tehachapi due to the city’s diversity and wide range of cultural influences. While caucasian people make up 55% of the local population, 35% of locals are Hispanic and 7% are African American or Black. Hundreds of Kawaiisu Native Americans also still live in the Valley and are recognized as part of the Tule River Indian Tribe of California.

Jobs in Tehachapi

This quaint mountain community is located about 45 minutes away from both Bakersfield and Lancaster, so while it is possible to commute to these larger cities, most folks living in Tehachapi, CA choose to work locally instead. One major employer in the city is the California Correctional Facility, which employs nearly 2,000 workers. The local schools and hospital are also top employers in Tehapachi. Energy also plays a large role in the city’s economy, and the Tehachapi Mountains are sometimes called the “Wind Capital of the West.”

Tehachapi Schools

Families relocating to Tehachapi will be happy to know that this mountain community has plenty of fantastic schools to choose from. Public schools in the city are part of the Tehachapi Unified School District, which includes three elementary schools, one middle school, one main high school, and an alternative education school as well.

Tehachapi High School is part of the East Kern Regional Occupation Program, which offers career-oriented studies in fields such as nursing and hospitality, and also offers several Advanced Placement courses for students who want to attend a two or four-year University.

The community is also home to several private schools, including the highly rated Heritage Oak Schools, which serves students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Heritage Oak is a Christian academy that focuses both on spiritual and academic growth.

The Best Neighborhoods in Tehachapi

Aerial view of a nice neighborhood on a sunny day.

Wondering where to live once you relocate to Tehachapi? In addition to the main downtown area, this vibrant city has several suburban neighborhoods in the valley, each with their own unique flair and culture. The main zip codes in the municipality are 93561 and 93581; the main area code is 661. To help you find the perfect community, here is a quick view of some of the city’s top neighborhoods.

  • Stallion Springs: This is one of the largest neighborhoods in the greater Tehachapi area, mostly made up of small-to-medium single-family homes. The median home price in Stallion Springs is $383,472. A major draw to the area is the extensive trail system, which includes more than 30 miles of horseback riding trails!
  • Golden Hills: If you want affordable housing that’s close to Downtown, Golden Hills is the perfect neighborhood for you. The community offers a mix of single-family houses and apartment buildings, with a median home price of $243,542 and a median rent of $1,165.
  • Bear Valley Springs: Located 20 minutes outside of Downtown, this is another rural community in Tehachapi, which is dominated by medium and large detached homes on large plots of land. Most of the real estate here is owner-occupied, and the median home price is $355,552.

Tehachapi’s Cost of Living

In comparison to other parts of Southern California, the cost of living in Tehachapi is 32% lower across the board. Housing in the city is actually lower than the national median costs, which is rare for anywhere in California. The median home value in Tehachapi is $180,300. While a majority of residents own their homes, about one third choose to rent instead and pay about $792 per month for their apartments or condos.

Utilities are one aspect of life in Tehachapi that is expensive, and payments for heat, electricity, and water here are 36% higher than the national average. Most people living in Tehachapi own two cars and commute about 20 minutes to work, so it’s important to keep an eye on fuel and repair costs as well when you move to this mountain city.

What’s the Weather Like in Tehachapi?

Like most of Southern California, Tehachapi is known for its scores of sunny days and seasonably mild climate. The average temperature in Tehachapi ranges from just under freezing, up to the high 80s throughout the year, with an overall average around 55 degrees. Because of this mountain community’s high elevation, you will see about 14 inches of snow per year, usually between November and March.

Things to do in Tehachapi

Tehachapi Depot Museum

Travel back in time when you step into the Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum, located in the heart of the city on West Tehachapi Boulevard. Built after the original train station burned down in 2008, the Museum offers unique insights into the transcontinental trains that were essential to Tehachapi’s original settlers. The Depot is also on the National Register of Historic Places!

Tehachapi Mountain Park

 

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Looking for the best way to enjoy a sunny day in the mountains? Tehachapi Mountain Park offers incredible hiking trails, plus equestrian trails perfect for horse lovers. At the top of Woody’s Peak, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Valley. You can also get closer to nature by spending the night in one of the Park’s 63 campsites.

Need help finding the park? Click the link for directions.

Restaurants in Tehachapi

After a long day of exploring the city, there’s nothing like a delicious meal at one of Tehachapi’s top restaurants. While there are dozens of eateries to choose from in and around downtown, here are two local favorites you can’t miss.

Redhouse BBQ

Craving the sweet, smoky, tangy taste of the perfect BBQ? Head over to Redhouse BBQ to enjoy the best of slow-cooked ribs and chicken, slathered in a homemade BBQ sauce.

Kohnen’s Country Bakery

The link between you and us? Our freshly baked bread, of course.

Posted by Kohnen's Country Bakery on Saturday, April 27, 2019

Kohnen’s Country Bakery isn’t just another place to find bread and pastries. It’s the best place to find authentic German baked goods, from Grau Brot rye bread to decadent German Chocolate Cake, plus German-inspired sandwiches. They even serve imported German beers to enjoy with your meal!

Tips for Moving to Tehachapi

If you’re looking for a city with a small town vibe that’s the perfect place to raise a family, develop your career, and enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in California, then relocating to Tehachapi is right for you! When considering this lovely community, keep the following points in mind:

  • It’s one of the few places in CA with a low cost of living.
  • You’ll get to enjoy plenty of warm, sunny days.
  • Schools here are top-notch.
  • You’ll be part of an energetic, diverse community.

For more information about moving to Tehapachi, or for assistance with your transition, you can reach out anytime to the professionals at Smooth Move USA. We offer a wide range of local and long distance moving services to fit your needs, so contact us today to get started!