Camp Elk River is a year-round destination best known for its equestrian center and a wide array of horse programs. From woods to wetlands and prairies to rolling hills, campers will enjoy Camp Elk River’s beautiful 1,130 acres through a variety of safe and fun activities.
Some Elk River summer attractions include:
- Horseback riding
- Tent camping
- Low ropes course
- Key log rolling
No matter where you stay on camp, you’ll find a cozy place to rest your head and call home for your visit. Elk River has a variety of housing, and the type of housing for girls or groups will vary and depend on the session they attend. Gray Koch Dorms have two rooms that sleep four people and two rooms that sleep ten people. Pines dorms have six rooms that sleep eight and two rooms that sleep six. Cabins have ten beds.
Location and Directions
10775 237th Ave. Northwest
Zimmerman, MN 55398
*Use caution when locating Elk River via GPS! Please the directions provided below.
Located 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.Expand for Map and Directions
From Minneapolis and St. Paul
- Travel west on Interstate 94 to Rogers, Highway 101.
- Highway 101 will become 169 as you approach Elk River. Follow the sign to Princeton and Cambridge.
- Continue north on Highway 169 to Sherburn County Road 74, turn right.
- Drive about 1 mile down County Road 74 to the Girl Scout Camp entrance.
- Follow the road past the site manager’s home to the check-in area or the program area you have reserved.
History of Camp Elk River
The property was acquired in the 1960’s by purchasing several farms. Girls experienced the fun of camp at large encampments–held on the Whispering Prairie area–well through the 1980’s.
Did you know? Encampments back then had names far different from today’s, such as Senior Primitive Encampment, Cadette Primitive Encampment, Prairie Dog Hilton, People Impact, and Prairie Flower.
Discovery ’68, a regional round-up for Girl Scout Seniors, was held on the prairie for two weeks in June.
Since 1969, day camp has been held in the Timber Meade Area. A Quonset hut administration building served the nine shelters, which could accommodate 204 girls per session. The Red Barn, an original dairy barn, was used by day campers as a site for their overnight adventure.
1,000 girls and adults attended the Prairie Dog event.
Equestrian camp and horseback riding, very popular with young girls, inspired some renovations for the property. An Equestrian Center, a modern bathhouse, and Tree House cabins were built near the Red Barn to accommodate a resident camp horse program. The Red Barn was also renovated to provide dining and program areas.
A fundraising campaign for Camp Elk River improvements was launched. The campaign for girls provided three new areas:
- The Timber Meade Area, consisting of three, year-round buildings. One of the buildings is now a multipurpose building for day camp administration, events, and serves as a storm shelter. Two troop house/cabins were also built—the Popp and Pickering cabins.
- The Gray Koch Program Building, which is now a large multipurpose facility that includes a dining hall and kitchen, office space, four program rooms with food preparation areas, modern restrooms and showers, and a dormitory area with bunk beds, restrooms, showers, and kitchen facilities. The Pines dormitory is another building located close to Gray Koch with modern facilities to house additional people attending events/programs in the Gray Koch building.
- Lake Barbara, a sand bottom swimming pond which opened in June 1993. Adjacent to the pond is a large bathhouse, which includes a changing area, modern showers and restrooms, and a health/first aid area. Around the pond is “The Promise Path,” a brick path honoring and memorializing people and events in Girl Scouting.
The story of Camp Elk River continues—be a part of its living history!