UKIAH and REDWOOD VALLEY
Ukiah is the county seat and largest city of Mendocino County, California. With its accessible location
(along the U.S.101 corridor several miles south of Highway 20), Ukiah serves as the city center for
Mendocino County and much of neighboring Lake County. Ukiah is located within Rancho Yokaya, one of several
Spanish colonial land grants in what was then called Alta California. The Yokaya grant, which covered the
majority of the Ukiah valley, was named after the Poma word meaning "deep valley." The Pomo were the
indigenous people who occupied the area at the time of Spanish colonization. This word was also the basis
for the city name, as Ukiah was an anglicized form of Yokaya.
Ukiah was previously a major producer of pears. For almost a century local residents and migrant
workers were employed tending the orchards and packing pears for domestic and foreign consumption.
Today many are employed by over 100 wineries who work the vineyards and help farm traditional, organic and
biodynamically grown grapes which create award winning Mendocino wines. Home to verdant redwood and fir forests,
timber harvesting and producing quality wood products and furniture is still a part of the Mendocino economy.
Tourism, fishing, marijuna production and technology occupy the rest of the economic picture.
Thousands of mom and pop businesses support a growing population and Ukiah is seen as a comfortable city to raise
families, small businesses or retire in. In 1996, Ukiah was ranked the #1 best small town to live in California
and the sixth-best place to live in the United States. It is also home to a former Miss California and Miss America.
The population was 16,075 at the 2010 census.
As a community, Ukiah has roughly twice the number of people (including Redwood Valley,
Potter Valley, Calpella, and Talmage) than the census reports. During the business day, an average
of 40,000 people work inside the city limits, or in the business and residential neighborhoods to the
north and south. The Ukiah area is at the headwaters of the Russian River. Its rich bottomland supports
many small, mostly organic farms that grow fruits and vegetables, and supports sheep and cattle.
Ukiah has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate. With climate change occurring temperatures can climb
to over 100 several days of the summer and fall. Many escape to the cool coastal beaches just 35 miles away.
Average rainfall for the area is 36.96 inches (939 mm) per year. Snows dusts the peaks of the surrounding mountains
and the Willits grade (elevation 2,000 feet) of Highway 101 to the north can become a winter blizzard.
Dry summer and fall conditions create a fire hazard as was experienced with the Potter Valley and
Redwood Valley fires in October of 2017. The spirit of the people of the Ukiah Valley and surrounding
area is strong and the rebuilding will be a renaissance for the area. Expect greatness from a people who
see the challenge of co-creating with the beauty and wildness of nature, while at the same time sharing the
need for comfort and tranquility that a domesticated population is used to.
"MOM and POP" BUSINESSES
Restaurants, Farmers Markets, General Stores, Galleries, Giftshops,
Healing Arts, Accommodations, Wineries,