About This Place
Lake Hughes is an unincorporated community northwest of Palmdale and the Santa Clarita Valley in the Angeles National Forest on the sag pond waters of Hughes Lake and Elizabeth Lake (Los Angeles County, California). The community is agricultural in character, with a population of 649 at the 2010 census, but also has a strong recreational element centered on its four lakes. The town of Lake Elizabeth actually resides within Lake Hughes, sharing the same zip code. They together make the entire town of Lake Hughes.
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, 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 (8 km)-long tunnel is 285 feet (87 m) 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 (3.4 m)-wide tunnel was driven 27,000 ft (8,200 m). through solid rock and met in the center within 1½ inches in line and 5/8 inches in depth. Work was around the clock and averaged about 11 feet (3.4 m) per day. The Elizabeth Lake tunnel was the largest single construction project on the Los Angeles Aqueduct and set speed records in its day.