Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

In the area

From Explore MN Tourism

Park Info

Image of Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Quick stats

2,884 acres
93,611 annual visits
12,873 overnight visits


None available.


Red and hoary woodland bats, raccoon, fox, deer, and red-bellied garter snakes are just a few of the residents in the park. Bird watchers will enjoy viewing scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, bobolinks, meadowlarks, and seven species of woodpeckers, including the "Species of Special Concern" red-headed woodpecker.


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, oak, hickory, aspen, elm, ash, and ironwood trees shade the land. Over 200 varieties of wildflowers, along with countless varieties of ferns and mushrooms grew in the Big Woods.


Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is comprised of 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.


Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is spectacular for wildflower viewing in the spring. Feast your eyes on sharp-lobed hepatica and the dwarf trout lily which blooms in April, and the dwarf trout lily, which is a federally-listed endangered wildflower.