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Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Nerstrand

4.5
#54 of 85 in Nature in Minnesota
State Park Nature / Park
Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park is a state park of Minnesota, USA, northeast of Faribault near the small town of Nerstrand. The park derives its name from the Big Woods, a large, contiguous forested area covering much of central Minnesota prior to the arrival of European settlers. The park and its forest were an outlying 'woods' typical and similar to the Big Woods proper, which were historically found on the more recent glacier deposits located west of the Cannon River 10mi to the west. Aside from a small waterfall, the outstanding natural feature of the park is the forest itself.Natural historyThe Platteville Limestone formation, deposited almost 500 million years ago during the Ordovician Period, forms the bedrock of the park. The limestone is exposed only in a few places along Prairie Creek, most notably at Hidden Falls. The rest of the park is covered in glacial drift up to 150ft deep. A later glaciation passed 10mi to the west, from which meltwater flowed and enlarged the valley of Prairie Creek.This area was once covered in spruce forest, but as the climate warmed after the end of the last ice age, oak stands and prairie became dominant. 400 to 500 years ago the climate cooled slightly, promoting the growth of the Big Woods.In the spring native wildflowers bloom in abundance. A remnant population of the dwarf trout lily, an endangered plant endemic to this area, is present in the park.
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40 reviews
Google
4.5
  • I've never felt compelled to review this park until now. I live within driving distance and given that the MN state park system is a jewel in our state, I feel lucky to be this close to one of them. A...  more »
  • My best friend and I went hiking through Nerstrand Big Woods on a lovely October Monday. It was a perfect place for talking while getting lots of steps on leaf-filled trails. It was an enjoyable and e...  more »
  • Make plans to visit this park next spring to view the flowers! Nerstrand Woods is one of the best places to view these beautiful flowers in abundance! The forest floor is literally white with blooms!  more »
Google
  • Beautiful waterfall. Fairly easy hiking paths. Lots of room for picnics and grilling even if you're only going for the day.
  • Always the best jogging trails. Hills, smooth level ground, I've been jogging here for years. Bring big spray
  • Hidden Falls is beautiful. Campground is mostly shaded. Some sites have tent pads, some do not. Bathrooms are clean and look to recently updated.
  • It was a nice campground. Restrooms are nice. About half a mile hike to the waterfalls. Really pretty.
  • So beautiful! Well groomed trails, lots of picnic tables and spots to throw a frisbee. Love the swings. Bathrooms were as expected at a park like this (a little dirty/outdated). Super cool place at the waterfall to wade/play in the water.