The Great Plains
of North America slice across North Dakota, covering about 50% of the state.
In the far-southwest, the Badlands, a long series of unusually-shaped and brightly-colored buttes, domes and rolling hills dominate the landscape. White Butte, the State's highest point, is found there.
In the east along it's border with Minnesota, the Red River Valley stretches north to south. This flat and very fertile strip of land is North Dakota's most productive farmland. The slightly-elevated prairie lands directly west of the Red River Valley are crisscrossed by numerous small lakes, rivers and streams.
North Dakota's most important river is the Missouri;
it rises in southern Montana in the Rocky Mountains, first flowing north then generally southeast across the heart of the United States, ending at the Mississippi River, just to the north of St. Louis, Missouri. It is the longest river in the United States (2,500 miles) (4,023 km).
Other rivers of note include the James, Red and Sheyenne. The most significant lake is Sakakawea, one of five major lakes created on the Missouri River by the U.S. government in an effort to eliminate the annual flooding of river lowlands.
For a detailed look at the topography of North Dakota, view this topographic map.