Forum Index > Trip Reports > East Moscow Mtn and Elk Creek Falls, Id. May 6 & 7, 2019
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RichP
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Location: Moscow, Id.
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PostWed May 08, 2019 11:09 am 
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Elk Creek Falls are just outside of the hamlet of Elk River, about 50 miles east of Moscow. This is one of the few trails in The Palouse Ranger District that does not permit motorized vehicles and is a good hike for wee ones as the elevation change is doable for little legs.

There are three separate falls on the creek that are visible from a three-mile loop trail. The area was the site of a settlement of Appalachian loggers a century ago but is now part of the Elk Creek Recreation Area which includes a reservoir in town and many miles of snowmobile and ORV trails on Elk Butte, the area highpoint. A lookout sits atop Elk Butte which can be driven to in summer. I visited the lookout on skis earlier in the year.

Elk River is famous for its 4th of July "Thunder in the Mountains" celebration and several other events centered around motorized sports and the reservoir. An ancient stand of ceders called The Perkins Grove located near town but snow is still blocking the access road presently. The famed huckleberry ice cream at the general store is the best I've ever had.

The area was more inhabited in the past.
The area was more inhabited in the past.
Site of schoolhouse. Only a few footings and bricks remain.
Site of schoolhouse. Only a few footings and bricks remain.
History along the trail to Elk Ck Falls.
History along the trail to Elk Ck Falls.
Fairy slipper orchid. There were many along the trail.
Fairy slipper orchid. There were many along the trail.
On the road to the falls.
On the road to the falls.
Lower Elk Ck Falls.
Lower Elk Ck Falls.
Rainbow at Lower Elk Creek Falls.
Rainbow at Lower Elk Creek Falls.
Middle Falls.
Middle Falls.
Middle Elk Creek Falls.
Middle Elk Creek Falls.
Upper Elk Ck Falls.
Upper Elk Ck Falls.
Upper Elk Creek Falls.
Upper Elk Creek Falls.
Elk Creek. At the upper falls there is access to the shoreline.
Elk Creek. At the upper falls there is access to the shoreline.
Upper Elk Ck Falls.
Upper Elk Ck Falls.
Shooting star on a sunny slope above the upper falls.
Shooting star on a sunny slope above the upper falls.
Run!
Run!
Elk Butte from Elk River. I skied to the top earlier in the year.
Elk Butte from Elk River. I skied to the top earlier in the year.
A lower and upper lookout. The tower is used for antennas now.
A lower and upper lookout. The tower is used for antennas now.

East Moscow Mtn is the second highest point in the Palouse Range, a ten-mile ridge above Moscow. The highest point is Moscow Mtn and oft visited by peak baggers due to its 2000' of prominence. The best views, however, are from the lookout site on East Moscow Mtn which include the distant Seven Devils, Wallowas and Blue Mtns.

Access is via the old site of the Tamarack Ski Area on Tamarack Rd where a gated logging road leads to the top. It's a 4.2 mile RT hike with bit over 900' of gain. A mile further up the road is the ancient ceder grove with trees that are said to be 1,000 years old which was somehow spared from past logging and is now protected. We didn't visit that area on this day but I snowshoed there in winter. We did stop by the abandoned Moscow Mtn Picnic area.

Moscow Mtn and East Moscow Mtn (R) from Tamarack Rd.
Moscow Mtn and East Moscow Mtn (R) from Tamarack Rd.
East Moscow Mtn.
East Moscow Mtn.
Scary monster.
Scary monster.
Lots of trillium.
Lots of trillium.
Hiking up the road.
Hiking up the road.
View north from the ridge top.
View north from the ridge top.
Some snow remains in shady spots.
Some snow remains in shady spots.
East Moscow Mtn looking south east.
East Moscow Mtn looking south east.
East Moscow Mtn looking southeast.
East Moscow Mtn looking southeast.
Lunch rock on East Moscow Mtn.
Lunch rock on East Moscow Mtn.
Spring Valley Reservoir.
Spring Valley Reservoir.
Views east.
Views east.
East Moscow Mtn.
East Moscow Mtn.
Moscow Mtn Picnic Area. In the past this was a popular area but cars can no longer make it here.
Moscow Mtn Picnic Area. In the past this was a popular area but cars can no longer make it here.
Trillium.
Trillium.
Some recent logging that took place over the winter.
Some recent logging that took place over the winter.
Picnic table in the ancient cedar grove on Moscow Mtn.
Picnic table in the ancient cedar grove on Moscow Mtn.
Nice place for a picnic in summer.
Nice place for a picnic in summer.

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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RodF
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PostWed May 08, 2019 10:21 pm 
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RichP, thanks for sharing your photos.  Trip down memory lane for me!

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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puzzlr
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PostWed May 08, 2019 10:49 pm 
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I was wondering when you'd get around to this peak. We took some time to walk up there when my son graduated (me, Lori, Eli and his grandma). As I recall, it was hard to figure out where the actual summit is. This was our best guess:
Yay! We're on top
Yay! We're on top

We saw the picnic table too ... and wondered why it was there. You suggested that it was driveable at one time, which is probably right.

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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Bootpathguy
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PostThu May 09, 2019 7:45 am 
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RichP wrote:
Run!
Run!

That's adorable!

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Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu May 09, 2019 1:59 pm 
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up.gif   Beautiful set of falls, thanks for sharing.
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Nancyann
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PostThu May 09, 2019 3:41 pm 
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Thanks for sharing the interesting history of the schoolhouse and the old wagon road. Very nice waterfall and territorial view pictures too! Now that your daughter is old enough to enjoy hiking, a whole new aspect will open up for you as well. smile.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > East Moscow Mtn and Elk Creek Falls, Id. May 6 & 7, 2019
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