Don’t mess with the Tehachapis.
California has taller mountain ranges, more famous mountain ranges, even more beautiful mountain ranges. But no mountains here are tougher—or more important—than the Tehachapis.
A mishmash of mid-sized peaks that extend some 40 miles across southern Kern County and north Los Angeles County, the Tehachapis effectively form the wall that defines our state. This is their paradox: The Tehachapis at once separate and connect California’s regions—north and south, valley and desert, Sierra Nevada and coastal range.
As a barrier, the Tehachapis—the name is often attributed to the …