AHASFV V6 Ranch Experience
Fall Cowboy Academy
Dude Ranch Getaway
October 30 - November 2
Dude Ranch Weekend
Piper Mackay 2014 Photo Tour
Horsewoman by Grace
Parkfield, population 18, the V6 Ranch, and the surrounding areas offer birds and grasses, trees and critters, blue skies and white clouds all in their natural setting.
Parkfield is located in the coastal mountain range of Central California surrounded by rolling hills covered with oaks and prominent mountains. The first to discover this special place were the Yokut Indians. They came to hunt and gather acorns, and named the valley in which Parkfield rests "Cholame," which means "the beautiful one." The first white settlers arrived in the area in 1854 and were followed by a steady stream of homesteaders. By the turn of the century, quicksilver and coal had been discovered, and the hope for oil discovery had transformed Parkfield into a robust town of 900 people.
However, Parkfield's prosperity was short lived as the mines played out and water flooded the coal mine. The homesteaders were the last to go, unable to yield a living off of the land. Today, only a handful of ranchers and farmers remain to enjoy a beautiful tranquil valley with four seasons and bountiful wildlife. Parkfield has risen in popularity again.
Along with the natural beauty of our area, Parkfield is considered "The Earthquake Capital of the World". Geologists, as well as earthquake enthusiasts, flock to Parkfield. There are more ongoing studies of what it takes to have an earthquake, carried by the United States Geological Survey, than any other place in the world.
The United States Geological Survey has been keeping a watchful eye on Parkfield since the last big earthquake in 1966, in hopes of using data gathered in the area to predict earthquakes. Parkfield has traditionally had a fairly large earthquake (approximately 6.0 Richter scale) every 22 years. Scientists saw this pattern and flocked to the area in hopes of gathering data from an earthquake of this magnitude. Since no one knows when and where an earthquake will occur, Parkfield gave the scientists at least a little bit of a head start.
In 1989 Parkfield had a rebirth. The town which was named Parkfield due to its park like setting had weathered away. Jack Varian with the undivided attention of his son John Varian who was newly home after graduating from Cal Poly and unemployed set out to rebuild Parkfield. John says, “We decided we needed a restaurant first and started with the Parkfield Cafe. It was built without a kitchen and we would just bbq right in front of the guest outside on a pit. We started with a log cabin cafe because that was the only thing we knew how to build. For the decor we just used everything from old metal junk to mom’s ribbons from horse shows, to branding irons from old friends and reclaimed building materials. It all came together so well people always think it has been here for 100 years.”
Because of the success of the Parkfield Cafe as a destination the idea came about to build a lodge. So, in 1991 the Parkfield Lodge was established. This is another log building complete with guest rooms and a big gathering room with a rock fireplace as the focal point of the room. We now have 9 lodge rooms and host horse enthusiast, wedding parties, motorcyclist, bike groups, reunions, solo travellers and so many more.
What completes Parkfield as a truly unique town of 18 people is the one room school house that is still thriving and our community hall that acts as a hub for the people who love this Cholame Valley that we call home. Parkfield is living up to the name the settlers gave it so long ago.