Backpack site Buck Hill is right on the river, beautiful view to the east. Circled by flowers (goldenrod in the late summer), brush and trees. End of the path so zero foot traffic / passersby. Fine size for us but if you had two tents maybe tight. Fire ring and picnic table of course. No drinking water (we brought a bladder). It’s a great place to star gaze. There’s a teeny somewhat treacherous path to the river- no beach or anything (water was super low when we went) - Just can get your feet wet.
Down the path a little bit is an unenclosed toilet - not the best. The other direction down the path (only about 20 ft) is a smallish bear box.
You can harvest your own wood (at this time) and that was really great - bring a backpacking saw!
Only downside to the site— you can hear cars on both sides (river and opposite side of forest).
It was a 2.37 mile walk from the parking lot, mostly shaded.
Side note: we checked out Deer Creek site which is much closer to the car. It is a hike in / canoe site. It’s wayyy more spacious, and even has two separate clearings. Also has cool stairs down the to water, and a much more expansive view of the river. We will be staying there next time! We want to take a few days to canoe the whole length of the park, camping along the different sites. Next year! :)
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!