On your drive to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park, you will quickly spot its oasis of forest in the middle of farm fields. Being this far into the country means that you won't hear the road noise of major highways, yet this park is still an easy day trip from the Twin Cities. Of course the trees here are the main feature, making this and excellent escape from the hot summer sun and one of the best places to see fall colors in the state. Stay the night at the main developed campground, one of four walk in sites, or one of three group sites.
The main hiking destination is Hidden Falls, which is both a blessing and a curse: this leaves the other trails in the park much less crowded, but it also means you have to share the splendor of the falls with many strangers. Since the best feature of the park other than the waterfall is the forest itself, all of the trails in the park are enjoyable. Head to the southern portion of park for greater solitude. For a great tour of what the park has to offer, do the Hiking Club Trail which gives you sufficient time to take in the forest while also stopping by Hidden Falls.