Camp Elk River is a year-round destination best known for its variety of horse programs and mountain bike trail equipped with a skills course. From woods to wetlands and prairies to rolling hills, campers will enjoy Camp Elk River’s beautiful 1,130 acres through safe and fun activities.
Some of Camp Elk River summer attractions include:
- Mountain biking trail and skills course
- Horseback riding
- Key log rolling
- Low ropes course
- Outdoor skills
- Science activities
- Tent camping
No matter where you stay on camp, you’ll find a cozy place to rest your head and call home for your visit.
- Gray Koch dorms and The Pines are both dorm style sleeping. Each room within the space has multiple bunk beds.
- Duplex Cabins (Morgan & Pinto) have seven bunk beds on each side.
- All housing includes electricity, flush toilets and showers.
Click any photo below to open a slideshow:
Address & Directions
Camp Elk River is located 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
10775 237th Ave. Northwest
Zimmerman, MN 55398
Not all GPS systems correctly navigate to Camp Elk River and can get you lost! Please double check your GPS directions against our special directions below.
From Minneapolis and Saint 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.
View on Google Maps. Use caution navigating to Camp Elk River via Google Maps! Please follow the directions provided above.
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History of Camp Elk River
The property was acquired in the 1960’s by purchasing several farms. Campers 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 campers per session. The Red Barn, an original dairy barn, was used by day campers as a site for their overnight adventure.
1,000 campers and adults attended the Prairie Dog event.
Equestrian camp and horseback riding, very popular with young campers, 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 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.
Another fundraising campaign for Camp Elk River improvements was launched. The campaign provided two new areas:
- Whispering Prairie equestrian neighborhood, including a large covered riding arena, program center and two duplex cabins completed on north end of property.
- 2.1 mile mountain bike trail and skills course built to support new Mountain Bike Program near former equestrian area.
The story of Camp Elk River continues—be a part of its living history!