Skip to Content

The Great Plains

The center of the North American continent, running north from Texas up to the Canadian border, comprises the Great Plains. The region encompasses the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, and also large parts of Texas. The area is approximately 1,000 miles east to west and 1,000 miles north to south, a million square miles.

While hardly mountainous (except for outcroppings of hills in places), only some portions of the the Great Plains are truly flat. Much of the land is gently rolling prairie. Moving west, the land becomes steadily rougher, and higher in elevation, so much so that the westernmost stretch of the plains, around Denver, Colorado, is a mile high.

With the exception of the cities of Texas, and isolated cities like Oklahoma City, Wichita, Kansas City, and Omaha, the Great Plains are largely rural, best known for seemingly endless stretches of wheat and corn farms, puncutated on the horizon by grain elevators. Cattle ranching and meat production are also important food-related industries in this region.

Next Section:Texas

Land, History and Language: Chapter Home

Life in the USA Home Page.