Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

In the area

From Explore MN Tourism

Fall Colors

past peak
There is still some color hanging on in the interior of the...
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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

  • Most trails south of County Road 29 are holding water and muddy in places 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.

Please do not tie anything to trees in the park.

When the office is unstaffed, use self-service to pay for firewood, camping and permits. 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.
  • All campsites at this park require reservations for arrivals between April 1 and October 31.
  • Same-day reservations are now available.
  • Learn more.

December deer hunt

The park will have a special permit muzzleloader hunt from December 3 - 4. For more information, visit hunting in state parks.

(Updated Oct. 12, 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.