4th St and Montgomery St, Elk Falls, KS 67345
The Falls, as it is known locally, is where the town of Elk Falls (pop. 120 or so) derives its name. The natural waterfall is about 10 ft. high and approximately 100 ft. wide, formed by the stone outcropping across the river. It was once the site of a waterpowered grist mill which was built in 1875. The water was originally channeled to one side by a log dam in order to turn the water turbine. Floods washed out the early wooden dams until the curved stone dam was constructed by Jo Johansen, a Swede from Minnesota. This stone dam is still standing well over 100 years and many floods later. The falls are easily viewed from the 1893 Iron Truss Bridge, or hike down to the water’s edge on the massive limestone slabs lining either side of the river. It’s a great place for picnics, fishing, birdwatching, or just relaxing to the soothing sound of rushing water. As one of the most photographed sites in Elk County, the Elk Falls is a terrific example of the natural beauty of Southeast Kansas.
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