About This Place
Potter Valley is a census-designated place 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. The population was 646 at the 2010 census.
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.
The post office opened in 1870.