Nerstrand Big Woods State Park encompasses a total area of approximately 2,900 acres of land that is situated in Rice County in the state of Minnesota. Visitors can access the main entrance to the park by driving about 10 miles south of Northfield on County Road 40. The park was established in 1945 and is managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Several attractions lure visitors into Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. That said, probably the main attraction to the park is the wide variety of spring wildflowers. Some of the popular species of these wildflowers include the Rare Sharp-Lobed Hepatica and the endangered Dwarf Trout Lily. These flowers are native to only this area of the country.
Besides the rich biota at the park, Nerstrand Big Woods State Park is also an excellent place for visitors that love to participate in a wide array of recreational activities. Some of the activities that are a favorite amongst visitors include hiking, cross-country skiing, camping, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. There are several amenities in the park to facilitate these and many other activities.
Some of the facilities include ski trails (seven miles), showers, 51 drive-in campsites (27 with electrical hookups), flush toilets, picnic shelters, self-guided trails (13 miles), picnic area, playground, interpretive exhibits, volleyball court, four walk-in campsites, snowmobile trails (five miles), snowshoe rental, three group camps, gift shop, visitor center, horseshoe pit, and a warming house.
Dogs are also allowed into Nerstrand Big Woods State Park although some basic rules must be followed. For example, dog owners are expected to clean up after their pet and to ensure that they dispose of the dog poop responsibly. Additionally, dogs should always be on a leash that is no longer than six feet long. If the pooch is not on a leashed, then the pooch should be kept in a secure enclosure.