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Minnesota State Parks

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USA Parks
Southern Region
Nerstrand Woods State Park
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Nerstrand Woods State Park Hidden Falls © bobby hissam
Hidden Falls, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.
Nerstrand Woods State Park Hiking Trail © Wes Gerber
Trail to Hidden Falls
Nerstrand Woods State Park Nerstrand Big Woods entrance © Wes Gerber
Nerstrand Woods State Park © Michael Harvey
Nerstrand Woods State Park © Michael Harvey
Nerstrand Woods State Park © Michael Harvey
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9700 170th Street East
Nerstrand, Minnesota   55053

Phone: 507-333-4840
Toll Free: 888-646-6367
Email: park email button icon
Enjoy this park on foot, any season of the year. In the spring, the park is a wildflower garden where hepatica, bloodroot, Dutchman's breeches, and the dwarf trout lily bloom. The dwarf trout lily is only found here. Relax by Hidden Falls in the summer. The autumn brings a burst of red, orange, and gold in the maple-basswood forest, one of the last extensive stands of the "Big Woods." When winter comes, ski or snowmobile the trails through picturesque woods.
Nature of the Area
Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is a wildflower garden in the spring. Feast your eyes on sharp-lobed hepatica and the dwarf trout lily which blooms in April. The dwarf trout lily is listed on the Federal endangered species list.

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park comprises two nearly horizontal layers: a layer of glacial drift about 150 feet thick overlying a layer of Platteville Limestone. The limestone is visible only where the drift has been eroded away at Hidden Falls and along Prairie Creek.

Raccoon, fox, deer, warblers (blue-winged and Cerulean), tufted titmice, and blue-gray gnat catchers are just a few of the residents in the park.
History of the Area
When the first settlers arrived in 1854, they discovered an island of woods in the vast oak savanna prairie which now makes up Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Sugar maple, basswood, elm, green ash, and ironwood trees shaded the land. Over 50 varieties of wildflowers, along with countless varieties of ferns and mushrooms grew in the Big Woods.

Nerstrand Woods State Park is located near Faribault, Northfield and Rochester

1. Nerstrand Woods State Park offers numerous picnic tables and fire rings for a perfect outdoor meal.
2. The park features two reservable shelters ideal for group picnics or events.
3. Picnic areas are located near the playground, providing fun activities for children while adults relax.
4. Visitors can enjoy their meals amidst beautiful wildflowers during spring and summer months in designated picnic spots.
5. There's also an option to have a riverside picnic by the Hidden Falls creek within the park boundaries.

The park is home to over 100 bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatchers. The Big Woods Birding Trail offers an excellent viewing platform and interpretive signage about local avifauna. Species include the rare Red-Headed Woodpecker and Barred Owl among others. Spring migration season provides opportunities to see warblers, vireos, thrushes etc., while winter attracts owls.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
May 2 screwed our group reservation by State Park lover and Supporter
park review stars; one to five This park double booked our statewide event with another small event for the same date/same time/same pavilion. Our reservation was made 1st, we bought liability insurance, posted the event to our hundreds of members, non-refundable camping reservations were made, and THEN they told us they had to cancel our reservation because a smaller party had been double booked there. They refused to move the small party to another shelter that would have accommodated them. I would never again reserve with this state park and their political bureaucracy.
March 24 Herons Nesting by Cleo Simonett, Minneapolis
park review stars; one to five Thanks to attentive Park Ranger, viewed small colony of 5 nesting Great Blue Herons on Sun., March 22, 2009. Ranger offered birding kit from Interpretive Center desk for check out=thrilling spectacle. Peaceful, well-kept trails w/clear map & markings.
January 25 A hikers paradise! by chad kriese
park review stars; one to five This park has some of the best hiking trails in southern minnesota. Great park!
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Take I-35 to State Highway 19 east into Northfield. Go south on State Highway 3, east on State Highway 246, then turn right onto County Road 29.

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Minnesota State Parks