Lucerne Valley is a small unincorporated community located in the Mojave Desert of western San Bernardino County, California. It lies east of the Victor Valley, whose population nexus includes Victorville, Apple Valley, and Hesperia.
Lucerne Valley is located 19 miles east of Apple Valley and 20 miles downhill west of Big Bear in the southern reaches of the Mojave Desert. It is surrounded by several mountain ranges which include the Granite mountain range, the Ord mountain range, and the San Bernardino mountain range. The heart of Lucerne Valley is located on the crossroads of Old Woman Springs Rd / Barstow Rd and California State Route 18. Yucca Valley lies 45 miles east via CA Route 247/Old Woman Springs Road.
Lucerne Valley was settled in the early 1900's by James Goulding and his family, who found the desert valley to be an excellent place to raise alfalfa, also known as Lucerne. The closest water source at the time was Cushenbury Springs (currently a cement plant in the southeast of the area) which used to feed out by alluvial drainage after Winter from the San Bernardino Mountains to where central Lucerne Valley is today, so agricultural farms made the area viable.
Today, Lucerne Valley is an agriculture/mining-based community, with Mitsubishi Cement, Specialty Minerals (Formerly Pfizer) and OMYA (Formerly Pluess-Staufer) as it's major contractors digging into the North Face of the San Bernardino Mountain range. Lucerne Valley also has a state-sponsored water reclamation project, where drainwater from the mountain snows of Big Bear and Holcomb Valley are transported and used to irrigate alfalfa farms on the eastern edge of the valley.
The future of this village is still uncertain: because of it's unincorporated status, Lucerne Valley has no central utilities (except for power), and will not experience the same immediate growth as the Western High Desert area (comprising of Victor Valley and Antelope Valley residents) is enjoying right now.
Fortunately, Lucerne Valley remains a "crossroads" between Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear and the Eastern High Desert area of Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley, all of which can be reached in less than an hour in clear conditions. Despite the recent buildup of houses without central water, sewage or gas lines, the town is still possible for consideration in the future for development, since most of the valley remains untouched.
The United States does not define a census-designated place called Lucerne Valley, but it does define a Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA), 92356. Because Lucerne Valley is contained within this ZCTA, it is possible to obtain Census data from the United States 2000 Census for the area even though data for "Lucerne Valley" is unavailable. As of the census of 2000², the ZCTA of 92356 had a 2000 population of 5,251. Local reports are providing evidence that the current population as of 2006 had increased by greater than 40% to the 2000 Census, The editors at local Lucerne Valley community newspaper "The Leader" reported in the September 27, 2006 issue that current population had increased to greater than 7,500, and the Lucerne Valley Chamber of Commerce website reports population growth to 8,961.
Johnson Valley is a popular off-road vehicle recreation site known for its steep, rocky mountains and several dry lakes.
Lucerne Dry Lake is a popular spot for launching model rockets and is home to several model-rocket clubs.