Elk River, where two beautiful rivers converge, is about 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis and where Highways US10 and 169 intersect. The area is also served by Highway 101 for easy access to Interstate 94. Conveniently located between two metropolitan areas, Elk River is about 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis and 35 miles southeast of St. Cloud. The city covers an area of 43 square miles, and has a population of just over 23,000.
The newest development in transportation is the addition of the state-of-the-art NorthStar Commuter Rail and Elk River station stop. It’s public transportation for the 21st century and gives area residents convenient and easy transportation to downtown Minneapolis.
The Shaping of Elk River
Transportation and energy have played significant roles in shaping the development of Elk River—and continue to do so today. Charles Babcock, an Elk River native was named the first Commissioner of Highways for the state in the early 1920s. His plan to create a network of paved roads became a model for the rest of the nation and the Jefferson Highway (now Highway 10) became one of the first paved roads in the state. In 1960 this highway location became home to the first rural nuclear power plant in the US. The plant was used as a demonstration site and was dismantled after several successful years of operation. From the early days as a trading post situated along the rivers, to being name “Energy City,” this community has a heritage of commercial activity that has been guided by these influences.
Elk River residents enjoy beautiful natural amenities, including the Elk and Mississippi Rivers, Lake Orono, and more parks and trails per resident than almost any other city in Minnesota. This includes unique parks like Hillside City Park for exceptional mountain biking, Handke Stadium, and Woodland Trails for hiking, skiing, and more.