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Wrightwood, California

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Downtown Wrightwood is dotted with many old resort cabins from the 1930s
Downtown Wrightwood is dotted with many old resort cabins from the 1930s
Location in San Bernardino County and the state of California
Location in San Bernardino County and the state of California
Wrightwood is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°21′39″N 117°38′00″W / 34.36083°N 117.63333°W / 34.36083; -117.63333[1]
Country United States
State California
CountySan Bernardino
 • Total5.929 sq mi (15.357 km2)
 • Land5.926 sq mi (15.348 km2)
 • Water0.003 sq mi (0.009 km2)  0.06%
Elevation5,900 ft (1,798 m)
 • Total4,525
 • Density760/sq mi (290/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area codes442/760
FIPS code06-86594
GNIS feature IDs1652816, 2409630

Wrightwood is a census-designated place in San Bernardino County, California. It sits at an elevation of 5,935 feet (1,809 m). The population was 4,525 at the 2010 census,[3] up from the population of 3,837 at the 2000 census.[4] Wrightwood is located 77 miles northeast of Los Angeles.[5]


Located in a pine-covered valley in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Wrightwood area was first developed as cattle ranches in the 19th century by Nathan and Truman Swarthout. Later, the main ranch, owned by Sumner Wright, was broken up into residential and commercial lots, and by the 1920s a community had taken root. Early ski enthusiasts discovered the north-facing slopes of the San Gabriels above the Swarthout Valley. Until 1937, the ski area, originally known as Big Pines, was part of a Los Angeles County park. After WWII, Big Pines opened their 1946-47 ski season with a new chairlift and the Sepp Benedikter Ski School (according to their ad in the February 1947 issue of Western Skiing magazine). Highways were built connecting to the major routes in the Cajon Pass, making Wrightwood accessible without serious mountain driving.

The former vacation community is now home to over 4000 full-time residents. Serrano High School in the neighboring community of Phelan opened in 1982; it also serves Wrightwood and the neighboring community of Piñon Hills.

In August 2016, part of Wrightwood's population was evacuated as part of mandatory evacuations of over 82,000 people in San Bernardino County due to the Blue Cut Fire.[6] In September 2020, The Bobcat Fire caused evacuation warnings for the Wrightwood area as it raged across the San Gabriel Mountains.


Wrightwood is located at 34°21′21″N 117°37′45″W / 34.35583°N 117.62917°W / 34.35583; -117.62917 (34.355921, −117.629233).[7] At nearly 6000 feet in elevation, Wrightwood's valley is protected by the Blue Ridge to the south.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15 km2), 99.94% of it land and 0.06% of it water. The climate is mediterranean (Köppen Csb) influenced by its highland position. Summers are vastly moderated by the cooling down of the air at the higher elevation compared to the hot plains to its north and the San Bernardino Valley to the south, although share the similar dry features and a lack of summer thunderstorms. In winter, the mediterranean tendencies of the more semi-arid lowland areas are exaggerated by orographic lift, causing precipitation comparable to areas way further north in California. However, due to the elevation, a lot of winter precipitation falls as snow. Even so, daytime highs in all months average above freezing, rendering snowpacks unstable and unreliable.

Climate data for Wrightwood, California, 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 42.6
Average low °F (°C) 25.9
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.36
Average snowfall inches (cm) 10.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.5 8.6 4.8 4.4 1.8 0.5 2.5 2.7 2.5 2.9 3.2 5.0 44.4
Source: NOAA (extremes 1911–present)[8]



The 2010 US Census[3] reported that Wrightwood had a population of 4,525. The population density was 763.2 people per square mile (294.7/km2). The racial makeup of Wrightwood was 4,126 (91.2%) White (83.4% Non-Hispanic White),[9] 38 (0.8%) African American, 28 (0.6%) Native American, 51 (1.1%) Asian, 7 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 112 (2.5%) from other races, and 163 (3.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 538 persons (11.9%).

The Census reported that 4,525 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 1,857 households, out of which 553 (29.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,012 (54.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 161 (8.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 95 (5.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 113 (6.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 13 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 476 households (25.6%) were made up of individuals, and 161 (8.7%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44. There were 1,268 families (68.3% of all households); the average family size was 2.91.

The population was spread out, with 1,046 people (23.1%) under the age of 18, 301 people (6.7%) aged 18 to 24, 957 people (21.1%) aged 25 to 44, 1,610 people (35.6%) aged 45 to 64, and 611 people (13.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.8 males.

There were 2,686 housing units at an average density of 453.0 per square mile (174.9/km2), of which 1,390 (74.9%) were owner-occupied, and 467 (25.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.8%; the rental vacancy rate was 10.6%. 3,346 people (73.9% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,179 people (26.1%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Wrightwood had a median household income of $72,231, with 4.6% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[9]


In the 2000 census,[4] there were 3,837 inhabitants, 1,486 households, and 1,056 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,742.4 inhabitants per square mile (673.4/km2). There were 2,319 housing units at an average density of 1,053.1 per square mile (407.0/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 90.9% White, 0.3% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.7% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.8% of the population.

There were 1,486 households, out of which 35.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.2% were married couples living together, 8.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.6 and the average family size was 3.1.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 28.6% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 28.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $50,338, and the median income for a family was $57,197. Males had a median income of $51,424 versus $40,045 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $22,902. About 5.8% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% of those under age 18 and 14.3% of those age 65 or over.


In the California State Legislature, Wrightwood is in the  23rd Senate District, represented by Republican Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh, and in the  36th Assembly District, represented by Republican Tom Lackey.[10]

In the United States House of Representatives, Wrightwood is in California's  8th congressional district, represented by Republican Jay Obernolte.[11]


Public education in Wrightwood falls under Snowline Joint Unified School District. Students in Wrightwood attend the following schools:

TK-5 Wrightwood Elementary School

6-8 Pinon Mesa Middle School

9-12 Serrano High School

TK-12 Snowline Academy Homeschool

TK-8 The Heritage School (Parent School of Choice)

Snowline Adult School

Mountain High

A summertime view of the Mountain High west resort.
A summertime view of the Mountain High west resort.

Just west from Wrightwood sits Big Pines, CA, which hosts the Mountain High Resort, a popular ski/snowboard resort consisting of Three Mountains.[12]

Notable people

  • Earl W. Bascom (1906-1995), rodeo champion, actor, inventor, artist; was a school teacher in Wrightwood
  • Frank Bogert (1910-2009), rodeo professional, actor, mayor of Palm Springs; raised in Wrightwood
  • Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), author, lived in Wrightwood for several years;
  • Maddie Mastro (2000–Present), American professional snowboarder specializing in half pipe; named to US Team for the 2018 Winter Olympic
  • Geoffrey Lewis (1935-2015), actor, spent much of his youth in Wrightwood


  1. ^ a b "Wrightwood". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  2. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.
  3. ^ a b "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA – Wrightwood CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Los Angeles to Wrightwood". Los Angeles to Wrightwood.
  6. ^ Times, Los Angeles (August 17, 2016). "Homes burn, thousands flee as out-of-control brush fire chars 30,000 acres in Cajon Pass". LA Times. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Bureau, U.S. Census. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau.
  10. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  11. ^ "California's  8th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  12. ^ Krig, Pat; Van Houten, Barbara (2004). Images of America: Wrightwood & Big Pines. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-2899-1. Retrieved August 29, 2011.

External links

This page was last edited on 12 October 2021, at 20:30
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