Cantil was founded as a station on the Nevada and California Railroad in 1908 or 1909. The first post office opened in 1916.
Cantil is located in the northern Antelope Valley in. Its zip code is 93519 and its area code 760. Cantil is near the home of the Honda Proving Center of California (HPCC), a test track used for testing new car models and motorcycles. Partial scenes of Universal's 1932 horror film The Mummy were filmed here.
Cantil is also home to the Red Rock Elementary School and the Red Rock Community Day School, both of which help students who were not successful in the regular school system. Average rainfall is just 4.73 inches (12.01 cm). The highest temperature ever recorded in Cantil was 119°F (48.3°C) in 1972. The lowest temperature on record was just one degree, recorded in 1963. The average daily high for January is 60°F (15.6°C), with average lows of 31°F (-0.5°C). High temperatures average 103°F (39.4°C) in July with average lows of 66°F (18.8°C).