Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Nerstrand

4.6
#42 of 113 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.
Before you head to Nerstrand, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Nerstrand trip itinerary website , to make sure you see all that Nerstrand has to offer, including Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.
Source
Create an itinerary including Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
map
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
50 reviews
Google
4.7
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
  • This is a wonderful destination for a day hike any time, but if you love fall colors, plan to spend some time here when they are near or at their peak. There are plenty of trails that interconnect, so you can hike as little or as much as you may like. I especially enjoy the rolling hills nested in the woods, and the way the afternoon sun filters through the trees. There were numerous times where I simply had to stop in the trail to take in the view--even under the canopy!
  • I really liked this state park. They have a good amount of walking trails. I went with snow still on the ground and the hidden falls was still frozen. You can still get around the trail system. I couldn't really see the campground area because of the snow. I will definitely go back in the summer to see the falls while it's flowing and to check out the campground.
  • Beautiful state park. Secluded, and lots to look at. The waterfall is really cool and you can walk right up to it. Summer or fall it's a great place. The park rangers are always very knowledgeable and helpful. Go check it out!
  • Totally worth the drive. It is a simple little area but with a bunch of walking trails. The waterfall is pretty cool. I went when it was frozen over and it was completely worth it. Pretty cool place to be when you can walk up to a frozen waterfall.
  • So many mushrooms/fungi on the trees, it made everything so interesting! We were there when it was raining and the thick woods kept us covered. There was a ton of paths to choose from, very private!
Places to stay near Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Plan your trip to Nerstrand

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park by other users

28 days in Saint Paul BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Cannon Falls & Denver BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM INDIA June, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Red Wing BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 19 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Wabasha BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, outdoors, beaches, museums, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids, outdoors, beaches, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 22 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM DENMARK August, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 21 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in Bloomington BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in Red Wing BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, beaches, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Wabasha BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 31 days in Minneapolis BY A USER FROM INDIA March, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans