Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

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From Explore MN Tourism

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Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

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.

Tell me more about this park's wildlife, history, geology and landscape.

Visitor Alert

  • Some trails south of County Road 29 are muddy in places and may have down trees including Fox, Basswood, Ironwood, Big Woods and Maple trails.
  • The campground, dump station and shower building are closed for the season.
  • Hidden Falls remains accessible via the Hidden Falls Trail.
  • When the office is unstaffed, use self-service to pay your entrance fee. Put garbage and pet waste in the parking lot dumpster.

    2016 Reservations changes

    • One car, one camping structure, and up to six people are permitted per campsite. No rope ties allowed on trees.
    • All campsites at this park require reservations for arrivals between April 1 and October 31.
    • Same-day reservations are now available.
    • Learn more.

    (Updated Dec. 5, 2016)

    Park Notes

    Virtual Tour:

    Take a virtual tour. It's a great tool to help you plan your next trip to the park!
    Panoramic tour | Snapshot tour

    Gift cards:

    Purchase a Minnesota State Parks Gift Card.

    Don't move firewood!

    Burning non-local firewood can spread invasive species, and it's against Minnesota state law. Learn more. Always buy your firewood at the park, or from an approved local vendor. Find firewood vendors for Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park.

    Firewood is available for sale at $6.00 per bundle.


    Please avoid playing bird call recordings in the park, as it can stress the birds.

    Download the park's bird checklist This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it. »
    Loaner binoculars and bird identification kits are available from the park office.

    Park Highlights

    tree "Big Woods" Landscape

    tree Spectacular Spring Wildflowers

    tree Fabulous Fall Color

    tree Visitor Center

    tree Self-guided Interpretive Trail

    tree Hidden Falls Waterfall


    Best time to contact the park in the fall, winter and early spring:

    Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Monday - Friday, variable depending on staff availability. If no one is available, please leave a message.

    When office is closed, please use the self-registration station at the front of the office to purchase daily and annual permits. Annual permits purchased through self-registration will be mailed to you.


    9700 170th Street East
    Nerstrand, MN 55053

    tel: 507-333-4840


    Getting There

    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.