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Inside the “champion” tree living in one of Idaho’s forests for 3,000 years


Idaho is filled with awe-inspiring nature, like the unique and towering castle rocks we told readers about last week.

And in this Inside Idaho, we explore another natural wonder you can find if you look up: a very old and massive tree.

Located in the small town of Elk River – in the Idaho Panhandle – lives the “Champion Tree of Idaho.” According to the US Forest Service, this Giant Western Red Cedar is estimated to be over 3,000 years old! For perspective, the oldest living tree in the world on record is a 5,000-year-old Great Bristlecone pine in California’s White Mountains.

And the Champion Tree is as huge as it is ancient, measuring 177 feet tall with a diameter spanning 18 feet.

The millenniums-old tree lives amongst other very old trees in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. Visitors can see the Champion Tree by taking the Giant Red Cedar National Recreation Trail – which is fully accessible and paved for walkers and hikers. It’s half a mile long and features a board walk that wraps around the tree.

To get to the trailhead, take County Road 382 north from Elk River for approximately 10 miles, turn right on FS Road 4764, and the trailhead is 1/4 mile beyond the parking area.

Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly is a reporter for BoiseDev. She's an Emmy-winning journalist, and a professor at the College of Western Idaho. Contact her at [email protected].

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