Elk River is a city in Sherburne County, Minnesota, United States, about 34 miles northwest of Minneapolis. It is situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Elk Rivers. The population was 22,974 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat. The city's population exceeded 20,000 as of year 2005. U.S. Highways 10 and 169 and State Highway 101 are three of the main routes in Elk River, and a station on the Northstar Commuter Rail line to downtown Minneapolis is located in the city. Elk River is located 33.2 miles northwest of Minneapolis and 37.4 miles southeast of St. Cloud.
The hardwood-forested hills in which Elk River is situated were pushed up by the last glacier that advanced across Minnesota. These hills are made up of coarse materials which is the reason gravel mining is so prevalent in Elk River, and also the reason much of the area is not considered good farmland.