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Pembina River

Description


The Pembina River, located in the northeast corner of North Dakota, has the only white water found in the State.  Upstream of Walhalla, paddlers may find Class I Rapids when the streamflow is adequate.  [Rapids are rated on an international scale from Class I (easy) to Class VI (nearly impossible, extremely dangerous).]  Despite the easy rating,  the fast water and river bends of the Pembina River in the spring can be challenging compared to the water and bends of other North Dakota rivers.  Flows generally decrease throughout the summer and should be checked before planning a paddling trip.

The Pembina River originates north of La Riviere, Manitoba, flows southeast, and enters the United States northeast of Langdon, North Dakota.  From the international border, it flows southeast to Walhalla and east to Neche and Pembina, finally emptying into the Red River of the North.  

The scenic Pembina Hills, historically also known as the Hair Hills, Pembina Mountain, Pembina Mountains, Sainte Marie Mountains, or Saint Mary's Mountains, rise just to the west of Walhalla and extend to the international border.  Various geological terms including cuestas, escarpment, and scarp, are used to describe the hills.  The hills mark the boundary between the glacial Lake Agassiz plain (what we think of as the Red River Valley) and the Pembina Delta (where the ancient Pembina River flowed into Lake Agassiz).  The river valley winding through the hills is known as the Pembina Gorge.  The gorge was carved by the ancient Pembina River, which was much larger than the present-day Pembina River, as the ancient river carried meltwater from glacial Lake Souris in north-central North Dakota and southern Manitoba.

The Pembina Hills form a unique ecoregion, the Pembina Escarpment, within North Dakota and encompass one of the largest woodland blocks in the State of North Dakota. Woodland trees and shrubs in the area include Burr Oak, Aspen, Paper Burch, Beaked Hazel, Highbush Cranberry, Service Berry, and Red Osier Dogwood.

Physiographic points of interest along the Pembina River in North Dakota include Three Sisters Hill, Vang Hill, and  Lookout Point.  Visitors to the area also have access to a wide variety of public lands, including Riverside Park in Walhalla, Tetrault State Forest south of Walhalla, Jay V. Wessels Wildlife Management Area, Clifford Wildlife Management Area, and Pembina Hills Wildlife Management Area.


Pembina River Resources




Scenery


Below are images of scenery along the Pembina River.  Click on an image to view a larger version.  Use your browser's back command to return to this page.

Aerial photograph of the Pembina Gorge northwest of Walhalla
Aerial photograph of the Pembina Gorge northwest of Walhalla
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Pembina Gorge
Pembina Gorge
Credit: North Dakota Tourism Department

Pembina Gorge
Pembina Gorge
Credit: North Dakota Tourism Department

Pembina River
Pembina River
Credit: North Dakota Tourism Department

Pembina River
Pembina River
Credit: North Dakota Tourism Department

Fall colors along the Pembina River
Fall colors along the Pembina River
Credit: North Dakota Tourism Department

Pembina River
Pembina River
Credit: City of Walhalla

Pembina River
Pembina River
Credit: City of Walhalla

Canoeing on the Pembina River
Canoeing on the Pembina River
Credit: City of Walhalla

Canoeing on the Pembina River
Canoeing on the Pembina River
Credit: City of Walhalla

Aerial photograph of Walhalla and the Pembina River
Aerial photograph of Walhalla and the Pembina River
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Aerial photograph of Neche and the Pembina River
Aerial photograph of Neche and the Pembina River
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Aerial photograph of Pembina and  the Pembina River as it flows into the Red River
Aerial photograph of Pembina and  the Pembina River as it flows into the Red River
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey


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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 09-Dec-2009 16:47:01 EST
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