When we travel any distance from home, we hear the same thing: “You’re from where?!”
The name refers to what fertile soils and mild weather turned into the most prosperous agricultural area in the area. Located in Northern California’s Trinity County, Hayfork is located halfway between Redding and Eureka, and surrounded by the vast Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The Hayfork Valley is an alluvial basin filled with sediments at least 300 feet deep, deposited by Hayfork, Carr, Barker, Big, Salt and other streams from the surrounding watershed. Approximately 30 feet of the alluvium dates from the Holocene, less than 12,000 years ago. The valley is underlain by the Hayfork Valley Groundwater Basin which ranges from 10 to 35 feet below the surface.
Short version? Deep soils and plenty of water make this a wonderful place to grow grapes.
Following the California Gold Rush, in which gold was discovered along the Trinity River in 1848, Americans began to settle the Hayfork Valley, and because of its abundant water, mild climate and fertile soils it quickly became the most productive agricultural area of Trinity County. Miners worked claims along the upper section of the creek and along some of its headwaters tributaries. In 1851, the town of Hayfork was first established, and was originally named Kingsberrys. The town boomed because of the valley’s rapidly improving economy, reaching a population of 1,200 by 1860.
The valley was originally named Nor’el pom, after the Nor’el Muk Wintu Nation, a Native American tribe that lives in the area. Today, we have a little over 2,000 people living here, mostly ranchers and farmers. It’s a quiet, rural area with clean air and plenty of space to spread out . . . and plant vineyards!