Apple Valley, California

Apple Valley is an incorporated town in the Victor Valley of San Bernardino County, in the U.S. state of California. It was incorporated on November 14, 1988, and is one of the 22 incorporated municipalities in California that use "town" in their names instead of "city". The town is east of and adjoining to the neighboring cities of Victorville and Hesperia, 35 miles (56 km) south of Barstow, and 49 miles (79 km) north of San Bernardino through the Cajon Pass. Its population was 69,135 at the 2010 census.

Apple Valley, California
Apple Valley Airport
"Apple of the Desert"
"A Better Way of Life!"
Location of Apple Valley in San Bernardino County, California.
Apple Valley
Location in California
Apple Valley
Apple Valley (the United States)
Apple Valley
Apple Valley (North America)
Coordinates: 34°30′03″N 117°11′09″W[1]
CountryUnited States
CountySan Bernardino
IncorporatedNovember 28, 1988[2]
  City council[3]Mayor Curt Emick,
Mayor Pro Tem Kari Leon,
Art Bishop,
Larry Cusack, and
Scott Nassif
  Total74.94 sq mi (194.09 km2)
  Land74.87 sq mi (193.91 km2)
  Water0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)  0.45%
Elevation2,946 ft (898 m)
  Density981.09/sq mi (378.80/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
92307, 92308 [7]
Area code442/760[8]
FIPS code06-02364
GNIS feature IDs1660259, 2412372

Apple Valley is governed by a town council. The mayor changes each December.

Apple Valley was home to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, whose museum was first established in Apple Valley (in 1967) before the museum was relocated to Victorville in 1976. In 2003, the museum moved again, to Branson, Missouri. The move was made in hopes of reaching more fans;[9] however, the museum closed for financial reasons on December 12, 2009.[10]


Apple Valley is located at 34°31′N 117°13′W (34.5115, -117.2120).[11]

Apple Valley is located at the southern edge of the Mojave Desert. It is bordered by the cities of Victorville on the west and Hesperia on the southwest sides, with the census-designated place of Lucerne Valley a distance to the east and the city of Barstow about 30 miles (48 km) to the north. Apple Valley, along with Victorville, Hesperia, Adelanto, and immediate surrounding areas, are commonly known as the Victor Valley. The primary thoroughfare through Apple Valley is State Route 18, which was given the moniker "Happy Trails Highway" within Apple Valley town limits, after the theme song of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, who once resided on Outer Highway 18. The commercial area is split currently between State Route 18 and Bear Valley Road (the two roads are near parallel until they intersect in the east, outside of town). The Mojave River that borders the west side of Apple Valley flows south-to-north.[12] The town is bounded on its southern edge by the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 73.5 square miles (190 km2), of which 73.2 square miles (190 km2) are land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 0.45%, is covered by water.

The elevation of Apple Valley is about 2,900 ft (880 m) above sea level.


Apple Valley, California
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: / NWS

According to the Köppen climate classification, Apple Valley has a semiarid climate (BSk). The city features cool winters and very hot, dry summers. Seasonal high winds occur occasionally in spring and fall.[13]

  • On average, the warmest month is July.
  • The highest recorded temperature was 116 °F (47 °C) in 2002.
  • On average, the coolest month is December.
  • The lowest recorded temperature was −1 °F (−18 °C) in 1949.
  • The most precipitation typically occurs in February.


For centuries, Apple Valley was populated by Shoshonean, Paiute, Vanyume, Chemehuevi, and Serrano who were attracted to the water and vegetation around the Mojave River. The Mojave people came later and were the tribal group encountered in 1542 by a detachment of Coronado's men. These were the first Spanish to come to the Mojave desert.

Pedro Fages came through the area in 1772, looking for deserters. Father Francisco Garcés spent time in the area in 1776. He was on good terms with local tribes. He killed one of his mules to feed a group of starving Vanyumes. Garcés established a trail across the Mojave to the Colorado River passing through the Apple Valley area.

The area was explored by various Spanish gold seekers in the 18th and 19th centuries. Jedediah Smith established the Old Spanish Trail through the southern Mojave and Cajon Pass. Smith was in the area in 1826 and again in 1827.[14]

Throughout the 19th century, Apple Valley became a thoroughfare of people traveling to Southern California for various reasons. Ute horse thieves, led by Chief Walkara, brought through an estimated 100,000 horses from their raids on the Lugo Rancho and San Gabriel Mission.

In 1848, members of the Mormon Battalion, mustered out of the U.S. Army after constructing the first wagon road across the southwest to San Diego and up to Los Angeles, brought 135 mules and the first wagon through the Cajon Pass up through the Mojave River Valley on the way to the Salt Lake Valley. Battalion leader Jefferson Hunt and a crew of cowboys followed the trail with the first cattle drive from Southern California to hungry Mormons in Utah. Hunt led a Mormon group of settlers to the San Bernardino Valley in 1851.

In 1885, the railroad came northward through the Cajon Pass and established a train stop, calling it Victor (Victorville) on the Mojave River in the area then known as Mormon Crossing. John Brown helped build some of the first roads through Apple Valley, opening up freight and stagecoach travel from the mining camps at Gold Mountain and Holcomb Valley to the railroad. In the 1860s, Mormon pioneer LaFayette Mecham built the wagon road, a short-cut across the desert, now known as Stoddard Wells Road. Over the next few decades, Victorville boomed as the commercial center of the area with gold refineries, quarries, and dance halls and saloons, while Apple Valley remained more pastoral with ranches and apple orchards.

The naming of Apple Valley is usually associated with John F. Appleton. However, the name was finalized with development in the 1940s. The Apple Valley name was officially recognized when a post office was established in 1949.[15]

One well-known apple orchard was owned by Max Ihmsen, publisher of the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper. In 1915, he developed 320 acres (1.3 km2) of apples and pears. The fame of Apple Valley spread as Ihmsen's fruit won many agricultural awards.[16] In the late 1930s, Ihmsen's son-in-law, Cal Godshall, took over the business operations and made the ranch famous as the birthplace of California college rodeo with the first intercollegiate rodeo competition ever held in the United States.

Apple farming in the area started to decline about the time Ihmsen Ranch fruit production was at its prime. Water rates shot up with a switch to electric pumps. World War I took owners and workers away with the draft. During the Great Depression, many families left the mostly agricultural area looking for work. Washington and British Columbia apple growers were able to cut prices because they shipped their produce by river transportation, whereas Apple Valley apples were transported by rail or by truck. The death knell was a series of outbreaks of a virulent fungal infection coupled with frost, heat, and hail in 1944, 1945, and 1946.[14]

A small orchard was maintained on the grounds of the Apple Valley Inn until it closed in 1986. The last commercially grown apples in Apple Valley had all but disappeared before the US Post Office officially recognized the name.


Historical population
2019 (est.)73,453[6]6.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]


At the 2010 census, Apple Valley had a population of 69,135. The population density was 940.3 people per square mile (363.1/km2). The racial makeup of Apple Valley was 47,762 (69.1%) White (55.5% non-Hispanic White),[5] 6,321 (9.1%) African American, 779 (1.1%) Native American, 2,020 (2.9%) Asian, 294 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 8,345 (12.1%) from other races, and 3,614 (5.2%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20,156 persons (29.2%).[18]

The census reported that 68,674 people (99.3% of the population) lived in households, 161 (0.2%) lived in noninstitutionalized group quarters, and 300 (0.4%) were institutionalized.

Of the 23,598 households, 9,169 (38.9%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 12,647 (53.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,550 (15.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, and 1,513 (6.4%) had a male householder with no wife present. The city had 1,582 (6.7%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships and 177 (0.8%) same-sex married couples or partnerships; 4,743 households (20.1%) were one person and 2,429 (10.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.91, with 17,710 families (75.0% of households); the average family size was 3.32.

The age distribution was 19,306 people (27.9%) under 18, 6,494 people (9.4%) 18 to 24, 15,068 people (21.8%) 25 to 44, 17,602 people (25.5%) 45 to 64, and 10,665 people (15.4%) who were 65 or older. The median age was 37.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The 26,117 housing units averaged 355.2 per square mile; of the occupied units, 16,297 (69.1%) were owner-occupied and 7,301 (30.9%) were rented. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 10.0%, and 45,483 people (65.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 23,191 people (33.5%) lived in rental housing units.

During 20092013, Apple Valley had a median household income of $48,432, with 20.2% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[5]


At the 2000 census, 54,239 people, 18,557 households, and 14,363 families resided in the town. The population density was 739.6 per square mile (285.6/km2). The 20,163 housing units averaged 275.0 per square mile (106.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 76.4% White, 7.9% African American, 1.0% Native American, 2.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 7.9% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 18.6%.[19]

Of the 18,557 households, 38.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.8% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.6% were not families. About 18.0% of households were one person, and 8.4% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.27.

The age distribution was 31.6% under 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% 65 or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median household income was $40,421 and the median family income was $45,070. Males had a median income of $41,144 versus $30,249 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,830. About 13.3% of families and 17.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.6% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.


Top employers

According to Apple Valley's 2020 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[20] the town's largest employers are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Apple Valley Unified School District 1,574
2 St. Mary Regional Medical Center 1,301
3 Walmart Distribution Center 1,208
4 Target Stores 444
5 Big Lots 260
6 Jess Ranch Healthcare 181
7 WinCo Foods 176
8 Walmart Stores 152
9 Stater Bros. Markets 131
10 Lowe's 119


Public safety

Law enforcement is provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Fire, rescue, and paramedic services are provided by the Apple Valley Fire Protection District.

American Medical Response provides patient transportation via paramedic/EMT ambulances.


The Sunset Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary was opened in 1995 on Waalew Road. Dale Evans and Roy Rogers are buried there.[21][22]


The town council started the process to take over the private water system in 2016.[23]


In the California State Legislature, Apple Valley is in the 21st Senate District, represented by Republican Scott Wilk, and in the 33rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Thurston Smith.[24]

In the United States House of Representatives, Apple Valley is in California's 8th congressional district, represented by Republican Jay Obernolte.[25]


Apple Valley is highly regarded in San Bernardino County and the State of California for its excellent schools and education options. Apple Valley Unified School District operates two comprehensive high schools (9–12), one independent-study (hybrid/online course) school (K–12), five TK–8 schools, and five TK–6 schools. One charter school offers transitional kindergarten to grade 12, and one private school offers preschool to grade 12.

High schools - comprehensive (9–12)

  • Apple Valley High School
  • Granite Hills High School

Middle schools (K–8)

  • Mariana Academy
  • Phoenix Academy
  • Sandia Academy
  • Sitting Bull Academy—Recognized as a California Distinguished School
  • Vanguard Preparatory—earned the "Schools to Watch" designation

Elementary schools (K–6)

  • Desert Knolls Elementary
  • Rancho Verde Elementary—Recognized as a California Distinguished School
  • Rio Vista Elementary - received the CSBA Golden Bell Award
  • Sycamore Rocks Elementary—is a National Blue Ribbon School
  • Yucca Loma Elementary—received the CSBA Golden Bell Award

Charter Schools

  • Academy for Academic Excellence - also known as "Lewis Center for Educational Research" (K–12)

Independent Study

  • High Desert Premier Academy (K–12)

Private schools

Notable people

  • Pearl Bailey, singer-actress, and her husband, Louie Bellson, lived in Apple Valley for nearly a decade.
  • Earl W. Bascom, inventor, artist, sculptor, actor, Rodeo Hall of fame inductee, "Father of Modern Rodeo"
  • Newton T. Bass, Reserve Oil and Gas Co. executive, developer of Apple Valley Ranchos
  • Chayce Beckham, singer, winner of American Idol (season 19)
  • Louie Bellson, jazz drummer/VP of Remo, lived in Apple Valley for nearly a decade with wife, Pearl Bailey.
  • Chris Blais, off-road motorcycle rider
  • Angel Blue, soprano opera singer
  • Victor Buono, actor, lived and died in Apple Valley.
  • Billy Casper, professional golfer
  • Van Conner, musician from rock band Screaming Trees
  • Marty Dodson, singer-songwriter/producer, was born in Apple Valley.
  • Dock Ellis, MLB pitcher, was hospitalized at St. Mary's Hospital just prior to his death.
  • Don Ferrarese, former MLB pitcher, owner of Apple Valley Land Company
  • Cuba Gooding Jr., Oscar-winning actor, attended Apple Valley High School.
  • Dan Henderson, mixed martial artist and Olympic wrestler
  • John W. Henry, owner of Boston Red Sox, lived in Apple Valley during high school and college.
  • "Mad" Mike Hughes, daredevil and amateur-crewed rocketry enthusiast
  • Miko Hughes, actor, Pet Sematary, Kindergarten Cop, Apollo 13
  • Will James, artist, writer who lived on C Bar G Ranch
  • Herb Jeffries, actor and jazz singer, filmed several movies in Apple Valley at Murray's Dude Ranch.
  • Dave Lombardo, drummer for heavy metal band, Slayer
  • Joe Louis, boxing champion, was a frequent vacationer to Murray's Dude Ranch in 1930s.
  • Joseph C. McConnell, top-scoring American jet ace, lived in Apple Valley until his death in an F-86H-1-NA crash.
  • Lloyd Mangrum, professional golfer and 1946 U.S. Open champion
  • Joseph Medina, BGen USMC, first Marine to command Navy Flotilla and Hispanic icon, Apple Valley HS graduate
  • Richard Nixon, former U.S. president, spent three months at the home of founder Newton T. Bass in 1961 writing his first book, Six Crises[26]
  • Erik Robertson, football player
  • Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, western singers, actors, co-founders of Sons of the Pioneers, lived in Apple Valley from 1965 until their deaths
  • Smokey Rogers, western swing musician, singer, songwriter, entertainer, local KAVR radio personality
  • Chris Smith, MLB player for Oakland Athletics
  • Tim Spencer, western singer, actor, co-founder of Sons of the Pioneers
  • Scout Taylor-Compton, actress in Rob Zombie's Halloween
  • John Charles Thomas, opera singer, KAVR radio personality
  • Jason Thompson, former MLB first baseman
  • Jason Vargas (born 1983), pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Skip Young, actor, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Apple Valley has a long and storied relationship with Hollywood production studios, and has been a filming location for many award-winning feature films, TV shows/movies, and commercials:

Feature films

  • The Bronze Buckaroo (1939), starring Herb Jeffries, was filmed at Murray's Dude Ranch.
  • Column South (1953), starring Audie Murphy, was filmed in Apple Valley and nearby Victorville.
  • Divorce Invitation (2012)
  • Eagle Eye (2008), starring Shia LaBeouf
  • Four Guns To The Border (1954), starring Rory Calhoun and Walter Brennan
  • Foxfire (1955), starring Jane Russell, was filmed at Apple Valley Inn.
  • The Hard Ride (1971) was filmed at Oro Grande Wash and in nearby Lucerne Valley.
  • Harlem on the Prairie (1937), starring Herb Jeffries, was filmed at Murray's Dude Ranch.
  • Harlem Rides the Range (1939), starring Herb Jeffries, was filmed at Murray's Dude Ranch.
  • Highway Dragnet (1954), written by Roger Corman, starring Richard Conte and Joan Bennett, was filmed at Apple Valley Inn.
  • The Hills Have Eyes (1977), was filmed in Apple Valley and nearby Victorville.
  • Ordinary People (1980), winner of four Oscars, starring Mary Tyler Moore, golf scenes were filmed in Apple Valley.
  • There's Always Tomorrow (1956), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, was filmed at Apple Valley Inn.
  • Two-Gun Man From Harlem (1938), was filmed at Murray's Dude Ranch.


  • 1980's 2 on the Town, starring Melody Rogers and Bob Eubanks, was filmed at Oak Springs Ranch and Deep Creek Hot Springs.
  • Sky King, was filmed at the old Apple Valley Airport (old airport location coordinates: 34.528°N 117.215°W)
  • Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Roving River" (1961), was filmed at Apple Valley Inn and Newton Bass House.
  • Weekend of Terror (1970 ABC Movie of the Week), starring Robert Conrad, Carol Lynley. and Lee Majors, was filmed in Apple Valley.


See also

  • Victorville Precision Bombing
  • Victorville Army Airfield auxiliary fields


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  2. "California Cities by Incorporation Date". California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. Archived from the original (Word) on November 3, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
  3. "Town Council". Town of Apple Valley. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  4. "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. "Apple Valley (town) QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on August 16, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  6. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
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  8. "Number Administration System - NPA and City/Town Search Results". Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved February 20, 2007.
  9. Victor Valley Daily Press. February 14, 2009
  10. Special Announcement from Roy Rogers Jr. Archived November 7, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  11. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  12. "Rivers That Flow North". World Atlas. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  13. Climate Summary for Apple Valley, California
  14. Apple Valley-Crossroads of the Desert by Ellsworh A Sylvester, San Bernardino County Museum Commemorative Edition, Allen=Greendale Publishers, Redlands, CA. 1974, pg 125
  15. Gudde, Erwin; William Bright (2004). California Place Names (Fourth ed.). University of California Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-520-24217-3.
  16. "Town of Apple Valley : Through the Decades". Archived from the original on June 28, 2014. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  17. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Apple Valley town". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  19. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  20. "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Fiscal Year July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020".
  21. Brooks, Patricia; Brooks, Jonathan (2006). "Chapter 8: East L.A. and the Desert". Laid to Rest in California: a guide to the cemeteries and grave sites of the rich and famous. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. p. 235. ISBN 978-0762741014. OCLC 70284362.
  22. Sunset Hills Memorial Park
  23. Cabe, Matthew (March 1, 2019). "Trial date set in Apple Valley water lawsuit". Retrieved March 7, 2019.
  24. "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  25. "California's 8th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  26. Nixon's legacy remains in Apple Valley Archived May 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
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