I think I’ve mentioned before that there are a number of cedar groves, stands of old-growth Western Red Cedar, nearby. I’ve already posted about the Hobo Cedar Grove out near Clarkia and Grandfather Mountains. Several times I’ve been to the Giant Cedar out near Elk River. On our way into Idaho when I moved out here, Erin and I stopped at the DeVoto Cedar Grove along Rt. 12. There is a cedar grove on Moscow Mountain, but I haven’t been up there to explore it yet. The last one that I know of in the immediate area is also near Elk River on the way to the Giant Tree. Its the Morris Creek Cedar Grove, recently renamed the Perkins Cedar Grove.
To get there, follow the North Basin road out of Elk River as if you were going to the Giant Tree. There will be a left turn with a sign for the Perkins Cedar Grove a few miles up. Turn here and follow this road, keeping right at all intersections. You will rise above 4000 feet to a parking area along Morris Creek. The trail through the cedar grove is short, only a half mile, but it looks as though it sees far fewer people than either the Giant Tree or the Hobo Cedar Grove.
My first impression was that this is a nice patch of forest, but the trees aren’t nearly as large as the Hobo Grove, but as I got further into the loop, I rescinded my thoughts. There are a number of impressive trees up here along with an understory of ferns, trillium, and calypso orchid. It’s a very nice stroll through the woods, but nothing challenging. I would pair this with the Giant Tree and the falls for a complete day in Elk River.
Old growth forests are rare to come by these days. If they haven’t been logged by the lumber companies, many stands have burned due to years of fire suppression causing massive wildfires to erupt. It’s really nice to walk through stands of trees so old, they were standing long before Europeans came to America. There are four such stands that I know of within two hours of Moscow. There are a few more farther afield. I had been meaning to check out this grove since we arrived in Idaho almost two years ago. We’d always time our trips to the big tree such that we’d be hungry right after, so we had always passed up the extra trip to the Morris grove. Last year, the road was closed for construction, so we were unable to get to the grove. Finally, I made it a point to go up there and check it out. I’m glad I did.