Elk River (Oklahoma)

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Elk River
Physical characteristics
Main source Confluence of Big Sugar Creek and Little Sugar Creek near Pineville, Missouri
860 ft (260 m)
36°35′18″N 94°22′58″W / 36.5883333°N 94.3827778°W / 36.5883333; -94.3827778 (Elk River origin)
River mouth Confluence with the Neosho River in Delaware County, Oklahoma
741 ft (226 m)
36°39′56″N 94°46′03″W / 36.6655556°N 94.7675°W / 36.6655556; -94.7675 (Elk River mouth)Coordinates: 36°39′56″N 94°46′03″W / 36.6655556°N 94.7675°W / 36.6655556; -94.7675 (Elk River mouth)
Length 35 mi (56 km)
Basin features
Progression Elk River → Neosho → Arkansas → Mississippi → Gulf of Mexico
GNIS ID 1092538
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap · Google Maps
Download coordinates as: KML · GPX

The Elk River is a 35.2-mile-long (56.6 km)[1] tributary of the Neosho River in southwestern Missouri and northeastern Oklahoma in the United States.[2] Its tributaries also drain a small portion of northwestern Arkansas. Via the Neosho and Arkansas rivers, the Elk is part of the Mississippi River watershed.


The Elk is formed by the confluence of Big Sugar Creek and Little Sugar Creek at Pineville, Missouri, and flows generally westward through McDonald County, Missouri, past the town of Noel, into Delaware County, Oklahoma, where it meets the Neosho River. Most of the river's course in Oklahoma is part of the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, an impoundment formed by Pensacola Dam on the Neosho.[3][4] The portion of the river between the confluence of Big and Little Sugar Creeks and the dam at Noel, Missouri is a popular route for recreational canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and tubing.


The river was said to have been named after elk in the area. However, it has also been reported that the name was originally Cowskin and was changed to Elk due to the influence of Steve Elkins, a local politician.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed May 31, 2011
  2. ^ "Elk River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-09-11. 
  3. ^ Missouri Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme, 1998, First edition, p. 60, ISBN 0-89933-224-2
  4. ^ Oklahoma Atlas & Gazetteer, Delorme, 1st ed. 1998, p. 27, ISBN 0-89933-283-8
  5. ^ "McDonald County Place Names, 1928–1945". The State Historical Society of Missouri. Archived from the original on June 24, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2016.