Potter Valley is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. It is located 18 miles (29 km) north-northeast of Ukiah, at an elevation of 948 feet (289 m). It is located at the headwaters of the East Fork of the Russian River.
In 1852, when William and Thomas Potter and Mose Briggs first entered what would be known as Potter Valley, they were searching for the headwaters of the Russian River from their base in Sonoma County. The Pomo people called it Ba-lo Kai. They found three Pomo villages (each about 500 people strong), the Russian headwaters, and a lush valley with wild oats "stirrup high". Eventually the Potters returned to settle there, and the valley became known by the American ranchers' name.
Painter Grace Hudson was born in Potter Valley.
In addition to his famous Ridgewood Ranch, Charles S. Howard, owner of Seabiscuit, owned a ranch in Potter Valley, where he ran cattle and occasionally secluded Seabiscuit when visitors became bothersome.
In the state legislature Potter Valley is located in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Pat Wiggins, and in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Patty Berg. Federally, Potter Valley is located in California's 1st congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +10 and is represented by Democrat Mike Thompson.
Potter Valley is located just northeast of Ukiah and Lake Mendocino in Mendocino County, with the valley floor at roughly 1,000 ft (300 m) elevation. The headwaters of the East Fork of the Russian River originate in the valley. Additional water from the Eel River is pumped into the Russian River here via a controversial hydroelectric plant that tunnels through the mountains to take advantage of the relative proximity of these two waterways. This diversion supplies a significant amount of water to inland Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. Potter Valley is a rich agricultural region, with excellent soils, planted mostly in irrigated pasture, wine grapes, and pears, but supporting a wide variety of farms and ranches.
|Monthly Climate Averages for Potter Valley (1961-1990)|
|Average High (°F)||57||61||64||69||78||86||94||92||88||77||63||56|
|Average Low (°F)||33||37||38||39||43||49||53||52||48||43||37||34|
|Average Precipitation (inches)||9||6.96||5.89||2.7||0.93||0.14||0.07||0.31||0.9||2.79||6.9||7.75|