Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Our seasonal leaf peering activities continued — this time, in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. This park was named after a Norwegian village where its settlers farmed in this area in the mid-1850s. Although we vividly remember hiking in this park before, that was exactly ten years ago in the fall season, much to our surprise.

We headed out early and began our hike at 9 AM. The forecasted passing shower didn’t happen that morning, although it was very chilly with the temperature hovering below 40F. The campground still had quite a few die-hard campers, especially at this time of the year. We hiked leisurely on relatively flat trails for 5.8 miles in under 3 hours.

After the hike, we headed to Faribault for lunch. This small city — named after Alexander Faribault, who set up a fur trading post there — has a similar population size as Winona. It is safe to say that most small cities in the US — regardless of how ethnically diverse they are — have at least one great Mexican restaurant that the locals universally love. After having our fajita, enchilada, and margarita, we explored Faribault’s Historic Commercial District, which consists of many well-preserved historic buildings from the 1880s to 1950s, before heading home.

The almost dried up Hidden Falls.
Dried leaves on the trail.
Exploring Faribault’s Historic Commercial District.
The brown lines represent our hiking paths in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.
Day trip to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park.

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