Nerstrand Big Woods State Park Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park: 13 Must-See Attractions.

Planning to indulge yourself in awesome and calming activities when in Minnesota or traveling to Minnesota then you are at the right place.

The Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is a well-known state park that has one thing or another to offer to its visitors such as picnic grounds for a soothing picnic session, boardwalks, hidden waterfalls, amphitheaters, ground camps, campsites, and much more.

This article is all about Nerstrands Big Woods State Park, without any further delay let’s dive into it.

All About Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park
Titima Ying To / Shutterstock

The Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is situated in Minnesota of US, nearby the Nerstrand townlet.

The park got its name from a considerable bordering forest area called Big Woods, which covered many Southeast Minnesota areas before the 1840s and when the European immigrants started establishing their farms in the Nedstrand village. The park consists of waterfalls and is covered mostly with forest.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park includes two almost flat layers: a layer of a glacier 150 feet thick overlying a layer of Platteville Limestone. The limestone is noticeable just where the float has disintegrated away at Hidden Falls and along Prairie Creek.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is astounding for wildflowers to see in the spring. Gaze upon sharp-lobed hepatica and the trout lily which sprouts in April.

Parks include facilities such as picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, and much more. The Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is quite different from other state parks situated in Minnesota.

Formation of the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

The bedrock of the park was formed by the Platteville Limestone formation, which was deposited during the Ordovician period around 500 million years back.

The remnant of the Nerstrand Big Woods National Park park is covered with glacial drift and covers about 150 feet deep.

Earlier, the area was wrapped with spruce forests, but with time, climatic changes took place, and the prairie and oak became dominant.

During the spring period, the wildflowers are seen in a mass number. The remnants of the dwarf trout lily, an endangered plant, are seen in the park even now.

When to Visit Nerstrand Big Woods State Park?

The best time to visit Nerstrand Big Woods State park is in October because, at this time, the park is loaded with gorgeous colors. The transformed orange colors of maple trees and elms turned into stunning yellow-orange colors.

If you are planning to visit at the weekend, then the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is open from 9 in the morning to 4 in the evening, and during weekdays there are slight changes in the timings.

For parking vehicles, camping, and hiking, proper signs are provided for visitors to follow.

Why Visit Nerstrand Big Woods State Park?

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

The well-known Hidden waterfall trails, which are about 4 miles into the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, are a must-visit. Near the waterfall, you can also check out the limestones. Not only this, this waterfall connects around 3 trails.

Walk along Prairie Bridge and move toward the west side of the Beaver trail. The trail slightly slops across the trail, and you can explore the brass wood and the elms which grow along the trail. If you are hiking during the spring session, you can also capture the dwarf trout lilies.

After walking for a mile, take a left turn towards the Fawn trail, and there you can explore the orange-red maple forest. The path is filled with orange-yellow leaves, which makes your hiking experience more beautiful.

When in the US, you must visit Nerstrand Big Woods, State Park. The Fawn trails continue their path for about 1.2 miles distance back towards the falls.

Not only this, The Nerstrand Big woods State park includes 6 more hiking trails. While hiking is aware of the path as the roots and thorns can be present across the paths which sometimes can cause problems.

13 Things to Do in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Are you thinking of including Nerstrand Big Woods State park on your bucket list? Then know what to see and do there by reading the following pointers.

1. Hidden Falls

There is a well-known 20-foot in length limestone waterfall hidden inside the park’s woods.

Behind the Hidden Falls! | Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

The nature of the waterfall changes according to the weather, such as tranquil during the rainy season, frozen during the winter season, and much more dramatic during the spring season and high rainy weather.

The water of Hidden falls is directed from the Prairie Creek Valley.

2. Picnic Ground

Nerstrand Big Woods State park picnic grounds can be easily found as they are close to the parking lot. Visitors can have relaxing picnic sessions with picnic tables and chairs, a sink, and a fireplace.

To make the best of your picnic session, contact the office team of the park to know about access to the volleyball court, electric outlets, and much more. A picnic at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is a great option to spend an awesome day.

3. Hiking Trails to Waterfalls

The hidden falls of the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park are situated halfway across the one-mile distanced loop hiking trail.

Proper signs are present on the hiking trails so visitors can have smooth hiking sessions to the waterfalls.

4. Crossing Bar

The crossing bar is known as the point where the hikers get access to the hilly areas of northern trails.

It is usually called the stepping stone for all hiking trails. The trails of the north provide stunning views of Prairie creek and Big Woods.

5. Trails of Big Woods

TRAVELOGUE • Hiking Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

The trails of the big Woods are for those hiking enthusiasts. The Nerstrand Big Woods State Park includes hiking trails located inside the park and all the signs are provided along the trail so that hikers can move forward without any doubts.

6. Amphitheatre

Visitors can contact the office team of the park to have access to this stunning park.

The area was spotted under the shadows of tall trees, including wooden and rustic benches and stages. The place is well known for functions like weddings, speaker programs, and interactive programs.

7. Skiing Trails

No season and winter cannot stop you from entering and enjoying the amazing park.

nerstrand big woods state park
Frank Kennedy MN /

During winters you can enjoy the snow activities such as skiing along the six-mile distanced ski trails or snowmobiling around the five-mile long trails. During this season, you can also check the frozen nature of the waterfalls.

8. Trout Lily Broadwalk

Vistas of Prairie Creek and a wide assortment of plants, including the governmentally risked Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily, should be visible from this picturesque footpath.

Visitors are approached to remain on the footpath while going along the edge of this assigned delicate region.

More than 200 types of wildflowers, alongside endless greeneries and mushrooms, fill in the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Check the state park’s website or office for sprout times each spring.

9. Walk In Campsites Area

Nerstrand Big Woods Camping Trip

Four strolls in camping areas close to the parking lot offer a more segregated campsite experience.

Setting up camp under a rich tree covering makes these strolls in locales a famous decision for camping enthusiasts. Reserve your spot early for a smooth camping experience.

10. Visitor Center

Inside the visitor center, exhibitions share intriguing tales about the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park’s historical background, regular history facts, risk species, and normal trees of the Big woods.

When you go through the display region of the Visitor’s Center, an independent path features involved models right outside the entrance. This building likewise holds a little nature store, setting up camp things and park logo stock.

To clear your doubts regarding the park, you can also check out GPS units and nature kits or give coloring sheets to the children. The staff is prepared to address your inquiries.

11. Electric Campground

The Nerstrand Big Woods State Park includes about 51 sites of which 27 are electric sites and 21 are nonelectric.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Minnesota

The main purpose of electric campgrounds is to provide visitors with modern facilities such as restrooms, showers, and more. The sites are also known to have buildings that are handicap accessible.

12. The Listening Bench

You should not miss visiting the listening bench when in Nerstrand Big woods state park. You can hear the waterfalls at the listening bench and relax your mind while enjoying the park’s scenic beauty.

You can bird-watch and relax your mind in this peaceful part of the park. If you are lucky enough you can also explore the rare species of birds that visit the Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.

13. Blue Beech Bridge

An unusual species of tree known as Blue Beech can be seen from the bridge located inside the park. The bridge asks for safety and is accessible to snowmobilers.


The article is all about Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. This state park in Minnesota holds a special place in the heart of the US.

Walking the Big Woods in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, Northfield, MN

The place wrapped around the lush green forest, including gorgeous waterfalls, hiking trails with picturesque views, great picnic arrangements for an amazing family gathering, unique places like a listening bench, and much more, is a must-visit place when in the US.

5 Amazing Things to do in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

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