Lake Hughes is an unincorporated community northwest of Palmdale, Los Angeles County, California, in the Angeles National Forest on the sag pond waters of Hughes Lake. The community is agricultural in character, with a population of 2,760 within its zip code, but also has a strong recreational element centered on its four lakes.
Lake Hughes was named for Judge Griffith (Patrick) Hughes, who homesteaded the area around the turn of the 20th century. Settlers were drawn to the area because water was more plentiful than in the drier Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys below.
In 1907 William Mulholland, superintendent of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), started work on the Elizabeth Lake Tunnel for transporting water in the Los Angeles Aqueduct from Owens Valley to Los Angeles. Less than a half a mile east of Lake Hughes, the five-mile-long tunnel is 285 feet under the valley floor. The tunnel was driven from both ends. The north portal is at Fairmont Reservoir and the south in Bear Canyon (now Portal Canyon) just off of Green Valley. This 11-foot-wide tunnel was driven 27,000 ft. through solid rock and met in the center within 1-1/2 inches in line and 5/8 inches in depth. Work was around the clock and averaged about 11 feet per day. The Elizabeth Lake tunnel was the largest single construction project on the Los Angeles Aqueduct and set speed records in its day.
Lake Hughes is centered on the intersection of Pine Canyon Road and Lake Hughes Road, both of which are county highways. The community includes four bodies of water — Elizabeth, Munz, Hughes, and Quail lakes. Lakes Hughes and Elizabeth — which in the early days dried up periodically Lakes Hughes and Elizabeth - which in the early days dried up periodically — are in the canyons along the San Andreas Fault. Hughes was known as West Elizabeth Lake until 1924, which was taken from Elizabeth approximately one mile to the southeast.
Notable sites within its zip code, 93532, are Rogers Camp, Atmore Meadows Campground , Hidden Lake Ranch, Rancho Corona Del Valle, Quail Lake Fire Station, Prospect Campground, Bear Gulch Camp, West Liebre Lookout, Kelly Ranch, Pine Store, Pine Grove Ranch, Pine Canyon Ranger Station, Pine Canyon County Patrol Station, Los Angeles County Camp 7, Lower Shake Campground, Upper Shake Campground, Tule Target Shooting Area, Horse Trail, Horse Trail Campground, and La Liebre Ranch.
Lake Hughes is within the High Desert, where the summers are very hot and dry, and winters are cold and windy.
In 1869 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors designated Elizabeth Lake School District to serve this area. Its facility was the only established school between Los Angeles and Bakersfield. Some school-age children from the Lake Hughes, Elizabeth Lake, and Green Valley use this school district. A wooden structure was built that lasted until it was replaced in the early 1930s by the adobe structure on the east side of Elizabeth Lake Road, a quarter mile north of Andrada Corner (intersection of San Francisquito and Elizabeth Lake Roads).
The district's name was changed to Hughes Elizabeth Lake Union School District (HELUS) and is now responsible for kindergarten through eighth grade.
In the spring of 1947 Roy Rogers purchased a new retreat at Lake Hughes. He named his home the “Sky Haven Ranch” and it is still referred to this today. The home of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans in Lake Hughes, served as an ideal location for their wedding party, where they hosted 600 guests, including Roy’s sisters and parents, who all lived in California at the time. Cheryl Rogers, the first Rogers child of school age, began 1st grade at Lake Hughes School. The school was a large one-room house “up the school road” (a dirt road) from the trading post, which consisted of the Post Office and a Filling Station.