DescriptionPotlatch Lumber Co. built a town for its electrically powered sawmill in 1909. Served by a railroad, Elk River’s population peaked at nearly 1,200 in the 1920s. After the mill closed in 1936, the town declined. Relics of Elk River’s halcyon days include a 1917 drugstore and an abandoned public school built in 1910. The former mill pond, south of town, is today a recreation area and a habitat for ospreys, bald eagles and otters. On its west shore is the historic Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association’s firefighters camp.
The Morris-Perkins Cedar Grove, 7 miles north on FR 382, then 3 miles west on winding FR 1969, has a 3/4-mile trail looping through an 80-acre stand of old growth western red cedar. The grove is open from mid-March to late October (weather permitting); phone (208) 875-1131. The half-mile Giant Red Cedar National Recreation Trail, 10 mi. n. on CR 382 to FS 4764, leads to Idaho's champion red cedar, a 3,000-year-old giant, measuring 177 feet tall and 18 feet wide.
The Elk River Back Country Byway is a 57-mile scenic route. It follows SR 8 19 miles from Bovill to Elk River, then 39 winding miles south to Orofino. The Elk River to Oroville section includes 17 miles of gravel and crosses Dworshak Reservoir via Dent Bridge, a graceful 1,550-foot suspension bridge.
Things to SeeElk Creek Falls