Giant Cedar near Elk River Idaho

Near the small town of Elk River, Idaho is the largest tree in North America east of the Cascade -Sierra Crest. The tree is a Western Red Cedar that is 18 feet in diameter at breast hight and 177 feet tall. The sign near the tree identifies it as the "Giant Cedar" but I have also seen it called the "King Cedar". This tree is estimated to be about 3000 years old.
Part of the reason for this trees great size is the fact that it has a small stream that literally flows right under it. The ground around the tree is rather boggy which is probably why a deck like platform has been built leading up to and around the tree. The platform is several feet off the ground. One of the interesting things about this tree is that it has wheelchair access. The trail from the parking area is paved right up to where the platform starts.
The trail that leads to the Giant Cedar takes you by a number of other very large Western Red Cedar trees that from a small grove of surviving giants. There are a good dozen trees that range in girth from 4 to 8 feet. Laying right next to the Giant Cedar is a large nurse log of a tree that must have been similar in size to the Giant. There is a small new cedar tree growing right up out of the side of the nurse log.
Looking up into the branches of th Giant Cedar is an interesting view as can be seen in the image below. There are a lot of dead branches on the tree but it is still very much alive.
The image below help to show the immense size of this tree at its base. Remember that the platform is about 2 feet off the ground.
This tree is a bit difficult to find. We were aided by the kind folks at the Elk River Lodge in Elk River who gave us a small map with instructions on how to find the tree. The distance from Elk River to the Giant Cedar is about 10-11 miles on a well kept forest service road. There is also some great camping sites along the road that takes you up to the King Cedar.

Also nearby is the Perkins Cedar Grove at Morris Creek.

Check out the BIG STUMP of another giant Cedar tree of years gone by.


  1. That's pretty cool. It's a gigantic tree. :)

  2. Very awesome. I had not heard about this tree before. I will have to visit some day.

  3. it's like a big elephant foot

  4. Its beautiful. I agree with Bruce, totally like an elephant foot.

  5. If you want to grow one for yourself. I have a nice selection of seedlings available!

  6. It seems that there aren’t any good directions to this tree on the web but the tree is actually easy to find. There is also a stand of 500 year old trees a bit north of the big tree.

    Big tree: take Elk River Basin road from the point where the pavement ends, go 9.6 mi, turn right on unmarked trail, go 1 mi, park at N46° 53’ 13.5”, W116° 07’ 17.0” and take marked footpath. (FYI, it’s at 3800 ft elevation.) Enter these coordinates in Google Earth for a better picture.

    Morris cedar grove: take Elk River Basin road from the point where the pavement ends, go 5.2 mi, turn left on Upper Basin road, grove is ahead on left

  7. Some great huckleberry patches are very close to that tree!