History of Woodleaf

Woodleaf, as we know it today, got its start as a stage coach stop for miners traveling to and from the mines of the California Gold Rush.Though for hundreds of years prior, the villagers of Pakan’yani of the Maidu tribe called it home.

The Woodleaf Hotel was built in 1859 and over the next 50 years would evolve into a booming resort. Some famous guests of the hotel include President Ulysses S. Grant, Black Bart, and Lotta Crabtree.


Soon after the stock market crash of 1929 sent the country into a Great Depression, Woodleaf shut its doors as a resort town.


During WWII and the post-war expansion, demand for lumber grew. Sacramento Box & Lumber CO. recognized the area’s potential and purchased Woodleaf in 1942, converting it into a sawmill, one of the largest in the country.


The company built an infrastructure of homes, meeting and dining facilities for their employees.


The mill changed hands many times during the late '50s and early '60s and Georgia Pacific, Woodleaf’s last owner, shut the mill down in 1965. The town was boarded up as families packed and moved away.

Young Life, who had been looking for a West Coast property for its summer camping program, bought the property in 1966.


Since then Young Life’s Woodleaf has existed for the purpose of facilitating relationships with Jesus Christ.

Rosemarie Mossinger wrote a great book, Woodleaf Legacy: The Story of a California Gold Rush Town. Please call if you are interested in purchasing this book or if you have any additional questions regarding the history of Woodleaf.

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