Hillsboro is located in the Valley Region in eastern North Dakota in Traill County (of which it is the county seat) about 40 miles south of Grand Forks along Highway 81 on the banks of the Goose River.
The town is named in honor of James J. Hill of railroad fame and known as "The Empire Builder." Hill surveyed and built the Great Northern Railway in the late 1800s. His railroad was a precursor to many towns' growth and prosperity along its east-west length. He also had the power to steer the railroad away from towns with which he took a dislike.
Hillsboro was first settled in 1869 by German immigrants and followed by Norwegian settlers a year later. Around the turn of the century, the county seat was wrested from Caledonia on the Red River of the North due in large part to the location of the railroad.
Recreational opportunities include Goose River Golf Club which offers its 9-hole layout to the general public.