Recreation in Apple Valley

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Beautiful sunshine 90 percent of the year and clear High Desert air means Apple Valley is ideally suited for the outdoor enthusiast. From its central location, you can drive to the beach, the mountains or both — in one day. Or stick close to home and enjoy a myriad of opportunities at your doorstep.

A unique feature of the community is the network of equestrian trails that allow easy travel by horseback through many areas of the town. Horse enthusiasts will find a very active equestrian community, with many planned events at Horsemen’s Center (a town-owned facility featuring arenas and riding trails).

If you prefer traveling by golf cart rather than horseback, Apple Valley is home to two public golf courses. Beautiful greens and outstanding courses offer challenges for the advanced golfer while still providing an enjoyable experience for beginners. Many famous golfers and celebrities have tried their hand at the Apple Valley Golf Course, including Lloyd Mangrum (1914-1973), who was ranked 10th on the all-time list of PGA tour wins at his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998.

Across town, the scenic vistas of the public Ashwood Golf Course make for a great day of golfing, regardless of the final score. For variety, the avid golfer can also try one of the other half-dozen golf courses in neighboring communities, including Spring Valley Lake, Victorville Municipal Golf Course and the Hesperia Golf Course.

Local fishing opportunities abound at the Jess Ranch trout farm, Hesperia Lakes and in the numerous local mountain lakes, providing relaxing fun for the entire family.

With great expanses of natural desert at Apple Valley’s back door, local groups of conservationists and outdoor enthusiasts regularly organize hikes to view everything from wildflowers to historic sites. Whether exploring with a group or on your own, you’ll be thrilled with what’s nearby to discover, such as mysterious petroglyphs carved into desert boulders and cliffs along the Mojave River by early inhabitants (whose only other memorials are a few primitive tools left near ancient campsites).

Off-road vehicle riding is popular and welcome in nearby OHV (off-highway vehicle) designated areas. Just north of Apple Valley is Stoddard Valley OHV Area with everything from steep rocky mountains to rolling hills, open valleys and winding sandy washes. To the west is El Mirage OHV Area, which has been the home of land speed racing  for over 50 years. It ranges from El Mirage Dry Lake Bed (2,800-foot elevation) to the Shadow Mountains (3,800-foot elevation), with El Mirage Hills and Twin Hills in between.

Sand washes, dunes and mesquite thickets cover the 22,500-acre Rasor Road Off-Highway Open Area, 45 miles northwest of Barstow. Rolling hills and open valleys invite riders willing to travel to this remote area. Elevations range from 2,427 feet down to 1,275 feet at the Mojave River. For more information, go to www.blm.gov/visit and www.scta-bni.org/el-mirage.

Just south of Apple Valley is Juniper Flats, a desert oasis in the northern foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains. It has a Watchable Wildlife viewing area, perfect for catching a glimpse of both resident and migrating birds. It is an Area of Critical Concern. For more information, go to www.blm.gov/visit.

The area offers additional opportunities for hiking, rock-scrambling, rock-hounding and plant, bird and wildlife watching. Keep an eye out for the desert tortoise, a state- and federally-listed threatened species. Also, riders are urged to stick to the designated riding areas to avoid the many deep mine shafts in the vicinity.

Locally, the Town of Apple Valley Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of recreation and sports activities for all ages – from special-interest classes to sports leagues to after-school programs to excursions. A quarterly Recreation Activity Guide is mailed to residents to keep them apprised of the fun.

Some of the classes offered through the department include painting, dancing, computers and even “Puppy Kindergarten.” A comprehensive pee-wee sports program teaches 3- to 5-year-olds the building blocks of sport skills and teamwork in a noncompetitive environment. Open rides and campfires at Horsemen’s Center bring the equestrian community together, and day camps offer kids a fun and safe place to go during school breaks.

A year-round calendar of town-wide special events provides fun in a family environment. Events include Sunset Concert Series, the Fourth of July Freedom Festival (an old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration) and an annual Easter Egg Hunt. The department also manages 15 parks and special-use facilities throughout the town.

The ski and recreation areas of Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Wrightwood are only an hour’s drive from Apple Valley. These resort areas offer skiing in the winter and boating and lake activities in the summer.

Oktoberfest is celebrated in Big Bear in traditional German fashion with music and beer halls. Lake Arrowhead offers outstanding shopping opportunities and a robust cultural environment with many music and art festivals.

In addition to being close to nature, Apple Valley is a short drive from the entertainment opportunities of Los Angeles and Las Vegas. A less-than-two-hour drive will bring you to the beaches and major attractions of the Los Angeles area. An easy three-hour drive on I-15 will put you in the glow of the casino lights at Stateline and Las Vegas, where visitors can enjoy a variety of top entertainment and family recreation in addition to gambling.

Don’t miss the opportunity to find out what our founders knew: Apple Valley is a great place to live, raise a family in the wide-open spaces and to play. Definitely, it’s A Better Way of Life.