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 on Monday, February 19, 2018 in observance of Presidents’ Day!


Drainage District 61 Main Open Ditch Improvement
Due to delayed responses from federal regulators regarding the requirements of the new Iowa Stream Mitigation policy upon proposed improvements to the DD61 Main Open Ditch and potential improvements to the outlet stream the continued hearing has been rescheduled to February 27th, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at the Election Center in Emmetsburg, Iowa.