Welcome to the Palo Alto County website!

Palo Alto County is located in the northwest region of the state of Iowa. The county has a total area of 569 square miles that contain a variety of lakes including Five Island Lake, Lost Island Lake, Rush Lake, and Silver Lake. Communities include Ayrshire, Curlew, Cylinder, Emmetsburg, Graettinger, Mallard, Rodman, Ruthven and West Bend.

The population of Palo Alto County is 9,421 (according to the 2010 census). County business is done at the county seat in Emmetsburg. Most offices are located at the historic 1880s courthouse located downtown near the business district.


The Palo Alto County Courthouse will be closed the following days for Holidays:

  • Friday, November 10, 2017 – Veteran’s Day
  • Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24, 2017 – Thanksgiving
  • Monday, December 25 and Tuesday, December 26, 2017 – Christmas
  • Monday, January 1, 2018 – New Year’s Day