Geography of Dickey County, North Dakota

By | March 11, 2024

Dickey County, located in the southeastern part of North Dakota, is a region characterized by vast prairies, winding rivers, and fertile farmland. Covering approximately 1,141 square miles, Dickey County is part of the Great Plains region of the United States, known for its expansive grasslands and agricultural productivity. In this comprehensive overview, we’ll delve into the geography, including climate, rivers, lakes, and more, of Dickey County.┬áCheck healthvv for climate in Jamestown, North Dakota.


Dickey County lies within the Drift Prairie region of North Dakota, a vast expanse of gently rolling hills and flat plains that were shaped by glaciers during the last Ice Age. The landscape is dominated by open grasslands, interspersed with patches of woodland along riverbanks and in low-lying areas. The county’s elevation ranges from around 1,100 feet in the eastern part to 1,600 feet in the western part, with a gradual slope toward the Sheyenne River Valley in the west.


Dickey County experiences a continental climate characterized by cold winters and warm summers, with sharp fluctuations in temperature between seasons. The region is known for its wide daily temperature ranges and relatively low precipitation levels.

Winters in Dickey County are cold and snowy, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing. Average high temperatures in the winter months range from the teens to the low 20s Fahrenheit, while lows can plummet into the single digits or even below zero. Snowfall is common during the winter, with the county receiving an average of around 35 inches of snow annually.

Summers in Dickey County are warm to hot, with average high temperatures in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit. However, temperatures can occasionally soar into the 90s or even higher during periods of intense heat. Summers are relatively dry, with most of the county’s precipitation falling in the form of thunderstorms, which can bring heavy rain, hail, and strong winds.

Rivers and Lakes:

Dickey County is bisected by several rivers and streams, which play a vital role in the region’s geography and ecology. The Sheyenne River, one of the longest rivers in North Dakota, flows through the western part of the county, meandering across the prairie landscape. The Sheyenne River provides important habitat for fish and wildlife and serves as a popular recreational destination for fishing, boating, and kayaking.

In addition to the Sheyenne River, Dickey County is also home to numerous smaller streams and creeks, many of which feed into the Sheyenne or other nearby rivers. These waterways contribute to the county’s rich biodiversity and support a variety of plant and animal species.

While Dickey County does not contain any natural lakes, it is home to several man-made reservoirs and ponds, primarily used for irrigation, flood control, and recreational purposes. These bodies of water provide valuable habitat for waterfowl and other aquatic species and offer opportunities for fishing, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities.

Natural Features:

Dickey County is characterized by its vast prairies, which once stretched across much of the central United States. These grasslands are dominated by native grasses such as bluestem, switchgrass, and buffalo grass, which provide habitat for a variety of wildlife, including deer, pronghorn antelope, and upland birds.

In addition to its grasslands, Dickey County is also home to several patches of woodland, primarily along river corridors and in low-lying areas. These woodlands are dominated by species such as cottonwood, ash, and oak and provide important habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

The county’s landscape is dotted with numerous wetlands and marshes, which play a crucial role in the region’s hydrology and ecology. These wetlands serve as important breeding grounds for waterfowl and other aquatic species and help to regulate water flow and quality in nearby rivers and streams.

Human Geography:

Dickey County is sparsely populated, with much of its land devoted to agriculture. The county’s economy is heavily reliant on farming and ranching, with crops such as wheat, corn, soybeans, and sunflowers being grown on its fertile soils. Livestock farming, including cattle and sheep ranching, is also prevalent in the area.

The county seat of Dickey County is the city of Ellendale, located in the eastern part of the county. Ellendale serves as a hub for commerce, education, and healthcare for residents of the surrounding area and is home to a variety of businesses, schools, and medical facilities.

In addition to Ellendale, Dickey County is home to several smaller towns and rural communities, where residents enjoy a close-knit way of life surrounded by the natural beauty of the prairie landscape. These communities host a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating the county’s rich agricultural heritage and community spirit.

Overall, Dickey County, North Dakota, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, agricultural productivity, and small-town charm. From its sweeping prairies to its meandering rivers, the county’s geography reflects both the challenges and opportunities of life on the Great Plains.