The winter was a long one last year and we were itching to take our new 30foot Jayco Eagle bunkhouse travel trailer out for its maiden voyage! We decided that my birthday weekend was the perfect opportunity to do just that. To be on the safe side, incase we had issues, we decided to stay close to home so we decided to hit up a new park, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park just outside Northfield, Minnesota. This park is only an hour from the twin cities and very convenient for a weekend getaway after work on friday.
We stayed In campsite 27 which was an electric campsite that was pretty open to all the other campsites. Most of the campsites there were really open and you could see and other peoples campsites so if that’s not your style of camping I wouldn’t go to Nerstrand big Woods. There is also water hook up at the park in that site and some of the other sites but that wasn’t listed when we booked the site.
The park office was just a short walk or a bike ride from the campsites and had a very nice gift shop and bathrooms there. There is also a really nice shower and bathroom building right next to the campground host site. Just off the campground was a really nice playground for the kids that utilized tree stumps and tree branches as the playground. There was a really large picnic area and picnic shelter also.
Along with electric sites there’s also just tent sites without electric if that’s your style camping.
Nerstrand Big Woods Is very well known for its beautiful waterfall that you can walk on and the trail leading to the waterfall was also a great hike.
All in all I think Nerstrand Big Woods was a good choice for a weekend getaway for a little family of four. And it gave us a lot to do because in The little city of Northfield there was a lot of little shops and cute little restaurants to eat at the shop at. Northfield is also home to the Malt-o-meal Museum and production. My husband and I are big craft brewery fans And we’re pretty stoked to find out that there were three breweries around the park. We visited Tanzenwald and Chapel brewery and tried flights at each one. Out of the two we thought Tanzenwald was the best for staff friendliness and prices. Each flight we got a 4 5ounce pours were only 4$. There was also a restaurant at that brewery with really good cheese curds.
We decided that Nerstrand Isn’t our favorite park but it’s a good option for us to be able to get away in short notice close to home with a lot of activities around for us to do.
My partner and the pup and I hopped down to Nerstrand for the weekend and had a lovely time!
Campsite: We reserved WI2… and it was no different than a car camping site- not sure what the deal is there, but we didn’t mind. There are four “walk in” sites, and you can see one another from all of them. Sites 1 and 3 require a walk about three car lengths to the tent pad, and 4 is not much farther. We would call all of it car camping. It was a nice site, but after a rain, some of the neighbors pads were totally flooded. Eek! One more positive and remarkable thing was the birdsong at dawn and dusk… so beautiful and unique - sounded like a jungle. Expect to see fireflies at night too!! Ps: The regular campground is so tightly packed and everyone’s out in the open… definitely not ideal for us. The showers are private and way nicer than I expected though!
Hiking: due to weather we just took one small trail to the waterfall- a winding stream makes an appearance through the trees and ferns, then you get to the waterfall!! I wish we could have gone on the other trails- there’s always next time!
Waterfall: this is so amazing to have right close to the cities. It’s shallow enough to (carefully) walk in from the top of the falls for a while- and then down at the bottom too! The most approachable falls ever. A few deep pockets so you can really swim, and a gorgeous, totally tree surrounded area. Just a lovely playground. Cute and weird all black winged dragonflies fluttered all around the falls, and they have shiny turquoise bodies. It was unbelievably beautiful.
Town of Faribault: Bernie’s has so so food and super slow service - last resort kind of place. The Faribault Woolen Mill is there and I’d suggest a tour there if you’re interested in that kind of thing!
Nerstrand is nestled just outside Faribault MN. The town has a great downtown area on the river with places to eat and little shops. Our kids especially loved the little ice cream and sub shop in downtown. And let’s be honest the adults loved it to.
The campground is kind of open to each site. Our site looked directly into two other sites and the site was tore up due to a larger truck parking there before us. Which the park could not control.
The walk from the campground to hidden falls if you take the back way down is very steep going down and coming back up. There is a separate trail that leads from the main parking area down to the falls which has stairs and is a much easier walk.
Once you get to the falls your greeted by a waterfall that is approximately 14 feet high that you can easily walk across the creek and go under the falls.
Flowers at the park are very beautiful with a kind that I can’t remember that only blooms within the park area and a few select areas outside.
There is also an obstacle course made from tree logs that the kids loved. They built a plastic slide into the side of a hill and used logs as the steps to climb up.
Bathrooms were very well maintained and they had several private showers with locking doors.
Overall the camping experience was a great one at Nerstrand and we would love to go back with it’s close proximity to the twin cities.
A nice state park they have good hiking and biking trails with great scenery like waterfalls and rivers
Beautiful views, not too crowded, nearby waterfall
This is a Nice campground middle of Minnesota. Surprising place in the middle of farm country. Very nice campground and lots of walking trails. Great for leaf peeping.
We stayed in the group campground for a Cub Scouting event. It's just a bit of a walk from the main campground and opposite of some very beautiful walk-in sites. The group campground has an open space to play games as well as wooded areas all around. There are vault toilets that are well kept. The hiking trails are well taken care of and far enough away from the Hidden Falls the capture the beauty of the state park, but close enough for a group of elementary age kids to manage. The walk-in sites are nested within the trees, far enough away from group sites for privacy but without a long distance to carry gear. The state park itself is only 10 miles away from a neighboring city with ample shopping resources available. Small gas and convenience store within the town of Nerstrand.
Hidden water falls and some what secluded sites. Beautiful weekend with nice trails.
Nerstrand is a good state park located outside of Fairbault, MN. Nerstrand is wet accommodating to camper with large, slightly wooded sites and nice bathroom facilities. Nertrand is lacking good secluded walking trails. Majority of trails come together into the main trail. The main trail doesn’t have much support especially when it is muddy. They do have a nice waterfall to visit but that is the main attraction.
This state park has pretty secluded campsites. The bathroomd and showers are very clean and nice. They have a little park for kids as well. The hiking was my favorite park. They had great trails through the woods as well as down to the river with a pretty waterfall. The trails were a decent length and pretty! Dogs are welcome on a leash. The only bummer (like several other state parks) is no hammocks allowed due to destruction of tree bark. Other than that it was a nice park!