Community Profile

McKenzie County is unique in its economy, landscape, attitude and its rich resources in western North Dakota. Once known as the “Island Empire,” the county is roughly bordered by the Missouri River, Yellowstone River, Little Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea. Our county is home to over 500,000 acres of Little Missouri National Grasslands, an area rich in oil reserves and grassland resources. Watford City is the county seat of McKenzie County and the epicenter of the Bakken Shale Formation.


(2020 Census)


Growth Rate
(2019 Census)

$ 93,269

Median Income


Median Age

$ 213,600

Median Housing Value


Annual Ave Temp: 41°F

Monthly Ave Temp:

  • January –  18°F
  • July –  84°F

Annual Ave Rainfall: 14”

Annual Ave Snowfall: 39”


Distance in miles from Watford City:

  • Williston, ND – 47
  • Dickinson, ND  – 89
  • Minot, ND –  125
  • Bismarck, ND – 190
  • Regina, SK – 245
  • Fargo, ND – 360
  • Minneapolis, MN- 575
  • Denver, CO – 600

Mckenzie County Communities

Watford City

Watford City residents and their families enjoy beautiful parks, a walking path, a fishing pond, a water park and pool and the 268,000 square foot Rough Rider Center. In addition to the facilities and parks, Watford City Parks and Recreation organizes and manages sport and recreation programs for children and adults throughout the year.


A small town with a great central location to access the Williston, Watford and Sidney communities and events. The Alexander Public School recently finished the large addition with new classrooms, gym and other facilities to accommodate the growing population of students and families moving into the area. Every year Alexander fills with people from near and far to celebrate an annual event known as Old Settler’s Days. This three-day event takes place on Labor Day weekend and has been a great tradition of the community.  Population: 325


Arnegard is a group of close knit community members. In the summer they host weekly burgers in the park celebration and the community is known for its Annual festive 4th of July Celebration. Local businesses include Charlie’s Service and Arnegard Auto Sales, Short Stop Convenience Store and Taco La Mexicana. Arnegard is a friendly town in a rural setting with several local businesses. Population: 161

Grassy Butte

An unincorporated community in southeastern McKenzie County. It lies along U.S. Route 85 south of the city of Watford City.Grassy Butte is home to a Post Office listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as many other businesses including a welding production shop, various construction companies and a tractor repair shop and rodeo arena.


Located in the MHA Nation, Mandaree is noted nationally for its annual Pow-wow, held the second weekend in July, as well as for being the home of the Mandaree Singers, a tribal musical group. The community offers its own school district with an elementary and high school, historical attractions, a new meeting and events center, and a thriving nearby casino featuring live entertainment, a water park and marina.

Other communities

Census-designated communities: East Fairview, Four Bears Village

Unincorporated Communities: Banks, Cartwright, Charbonneau, Charlson, Dore, Hawkeye, Johnsons Corner (or Johnson Corner), Keene, Kroff, Rawson, Schafer, Skaar

Townships: Alex, Antelope Creek, Arnegard, Blue Butte, Charbon, Elm Tree, Ellsworth, Grail, Hawkeye, Keene, Randolph, Riverview, Sioux, Tri, Twin Valley, Yellowstone