Pipestem Lake, North Dakota, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Pipestem Lake.

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Pipestem Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - North Dakota - South Central -

Pipestem Lake stretches five and a half miles long on Pipestem Creek in south-central North Dakota, just a few miles north of Jamestown. With 840 acres and 45 miles of shoreline, Pipestem Lake offers many recreational activities such as camping, boating, fishing, wildlife viewing, hunting and more.

Pipestem Lake was created by the US Army Corps of Engineers when they constructed Pipestem Dam. The dam was designed for flood control, fish and wildlife management and recreation. The project was started in 1971 and completed in 1974. Pipestem Dam stands 107.5 feet from the stream bed to the top of the dam, and stretches approximately 4,000 feet long.

Nestled in the prairies of North Dakota, Pipestem Lake is a nature lover’s paradise. A few miles from Pipestem Dam is the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1935 and serves as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Anglers enjoy casting their lines in for walleye, perch, catfish, and northern pike. Hunters find an abundance of waterfowl, small and upland game, big game and wild turkey. Big game includes deer, pronghorn, moose, elk, and bighorn sheep. Other hunting species include prairie dog, rabbit, fox and mountain lion. Hunting is permitted at the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge, but due to annual variations in season length, bag limits and regulations, hunters should check with the refuge manager prior to hunting at Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge.

Parkhurst is the main camping area at Pipestem Lake covering approximately 134 acres. Amenities at Parkhurst include boat docks and ramps, picnic sites, and shelters. The campground features six parking pads which are designed for horse trailers. There is free overnight camping and a group of shelters that are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Visitors will enjoy visiting Jamestown where they can walk the trail of Louis L’Amour, the western book writer. Visitors can take a self-guided walk to see where he grew up. Also in Jamestown is Frontier Village, a recreated Old West prairie town. The Frontier Village has the world’s largest buffalo, a 60-ton concrete sculpture commemorating the American bison. There is also a buffalo herd and an albino buffalo at the Frontier Village.

The whole family will enjoy the beauty of Pipestem Lake and the amenities of historic Jamestown, so plan your visit soon.

Custom Pipestem Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Pipestem Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge

Fish species found at Pipestem Lake

  • Catfish
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Pipestem Lake

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Pipestem Lake photo gallery

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Pipestem Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Army Corps of Engineers

Surface Area: 840 acres

Shoreline Length: 45 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,431 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,454 feet

Maximum Depth: 30 feet

Water Volume: 32,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1974

Drainage Area: 594 sq. miles

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