Lake Hughes is an unincorporated community in the foothills of the Sierra Pelona Mountains, northwest of Palmdale and theSanta Clarita Valley, in the Angeles National Forest.
Nearby Elizabeth Lake, known then as La Laguna de Chico Lopez, was a watering locale on Spanish colonial and Mexican El Camino Viejo in Alta California and the Gold Rush era Stockton – Los Angeles Road. From 1858 to 1861, Lake Hughes was on the route of the Butterfield Overland Mail, between the Widow Smith's Station and Mud Spring stage stops. The lake area was to the west of Rancho La Liebre, an 1846 Mexican land grant now part of Tejon Ranch. 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-long (8 km) 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-wide (3.4 m) tunnel was driven 27,000 ft (8.2 km) through solid rock and met in the center within 1½ inches (3.8 cm) in line and ? inches (1.6 cm) 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.