Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Nerstrand

4.6
#42 of 84 in Nature in Minnesota
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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Nerstrand Big Woods State Park Reviews
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Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • I'm lucky this park is only 25 minutes from my house. It is one of the last stands of "Big Woods". There are myriad hiking trails with a range of easy to more challenging. In the winter there are snow...  more »
  • Big Woods State Park - a great place to camp, picnic, and hike. Trails are relatively short and not too strenuous. Campsites are well laid out. Restrooms/showers are clean and well maintained. Recomme...  more »
  • We had a chance to welcome the fall colors at the Nerstrand Big woods State Park. 7$ was the day pass. There are various hikes within the park. We took the shortest 0.5 mile hike to a cute little wate...  more »
Google
  • The frozen falls are amazing to see this winter (1-2018)! Ice is thick. Watch your step at the very bottom of the stairs tho, go home in one piece. Just wish the trails were all down hill for our hiking. :)
  • We stopped at the park for a picnic while passing through. Looked like we were one of many who enjoyed lunch, while we enjoyed watching many others partaking in varied park activities. Everyone we saw were active and thoroughly enjoying themselves. This visit brightened our day.
  • A remnant of the Big Woods, it's beautiful in any season. Our dog loves it too. Well kept trails and campground but also has wilderness feel. Really nice waterfall as well.
  • Gorgeous trails, loved climbing just above and around the falls and taking nature photography. Highly recommend you add this state park to your list of places to explore! I went in the summer and the whole state park is just beautiful! Support your state parks by getting the annual state parks vehicle permit too!
  • A well kept little gem of a park. Went after the 1st snow in the area, and found it to be a beautiful crisp fall day with a little dusting. My 3 girls loved the little hike to the waterfall for pictures. Great places for pictures

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