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Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Nerstrand

Categories: State Parks, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.6/5 based on 35+ reviews on the web
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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  • We love this state park. We live close but visit often as for the park changes daily with the seasons. Great family gathering site whether you want to hike or just relax with a BBQ 
  • The falls is a small hike and back if you don't have a lot of time. If you like there are longer hikes and plenty of options for camping as well. Or you can just go for a day picnic and enjoy the old ...  read more »
  • We are avid campers at MN state parks, so having seen a few, I feel like I can offer a decent bit of insight. First, as the title indicates, the park itself is a forest oasis in farm country. The trai...  read more »
  • Beautiful! And something for everyone. It's a short walk to see the waterfall, or there are miles of trail ranging form easy to difficult. A good mix of terrain, and decently hilly on the difficult trails (well, as hilly as we get in MN). Gets nice and muddy in the spring and after a good rain. =)
  • Took my boys hiking here last fall and made it back for a camping weekend this past weekend! Nice and quiet park. Has a great interpretive exhibit in the visitor center. Plenty of hiking for all abilities. The Hidden Falls are a must see. Especially after a good rain. One of few Minnesota State Parks that have water hookup for some of their sites. Hope to make it back in the fall again to check out the colors!
  • Great park to check out. Nice hiking trails and an awesome waterfall that you can get right up to
  • Nice Park with well groomed trails. I've even run into a big turtle at the falls. Would definitely recommend.
  • A fantastic state park to hike for hours! Nice sights, brings me back to when I was a child. Awesome little waterfall.
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