Return to Hidden Falls (Nerstrand, MN) 11-May-2023

Our first visit to Hidden Falls in Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park was in May of 2022, when Minnesota was still in the grip of a drought. The Falls were flowing in a nice, but not big, way. We went back this Winter and, while there was water in the creek, it was neither flowing nor falling.

Thus we nurtured the idea of returning to see the Falls during the the Spring runoff. We figured they would be really falling well then thanks to all the runoff from what had been a very snowy year. Plus all the “extra” rain we’ve received since that snow melted. πŸ™„

So our inevitable Plan A was to look for wildflowers on the walk down to the Falls, see the Falls, then go over and do a loop on the park’s southern trails. Plan A crumpled when the southern trails were closed because of high water and mud. It took another hit when the floating bridge across Prairie Creek disappeared under the swollen creek, cutting off easy access to the northern trails. πŸ˜’

Finally, we just gave in and did a short daytrip – with minimal hiking – to see the Falls and whatever wildflowers were about. Even this wildly modified plan got dinged when rain from a passing line of thunderstorms battered some of the wildflowers we’d hoped to see.

Wildflowers & Wildlife

Marsh Marigolds
Solomon’s Seal
Rue Anemone
A rain-battered White Trout Lily
Declining Trillium
Large-flowered Bellwort
Frogs have been chorusing madly on all our Spring hikes, but this is first one we’ve actually seen
A cute, slightly damp, chipmunk

Hidden Falls

Why the floating bridge is closed
Hidden Falls from above
Hidden Falls (May, 2022)
Hidden Falls today
Hidden Falls I
Hidden Falls II
Hidden Falls III
Hidden Falls IV
Hidden Falls V
One last look at the Falls

It was cloudy and spitting a little rain when we arrived. The rain stopped while we were walking down to the Falls, but the clouds hung on. They parted just enough while we at the Falls to taunt us with some fleeting shafts of sunlight.

Then, as expected, they began dissipating during our walk back to the car and it was all blue sky and sunshine and forgiveness when we got there. Ah, Nature’s little joke. πŸ˜’ Regardless, it was worth putting up with Nature’s devious sense of humor just to see Hidden Falls gushing with Spring runoff. 😁


4 thoughts on “Return to Hidden Falls (Nerstrand, MN) 11-May-2023

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  1. We’ve been fortunate to see this waterfall flowing well (or frozen). We understand there have been times when it’s barely a trickle. We also continue to be amazed at how FAST spring arrives here – 6 months of winter, then leaves & wildflowers in 6 weeks! 😁


  2. Thanks! We’ve looked for the dwarf lily before, and did again today, but no luck. It’s very rare (only 3 counties in MN) and small. It’s apparently most obvious when flowering next to the larger, much more common trout lily. Maybe one of these days… I’m putting Valley Grove on our list of things to see in MN. 😊


  3. Glad you made a return trip to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Love your waterfall pix. Did you see the endangered Dwarf Trout Lily? They grow in only a few places in the world, and this park is one of them. Also, next time you’re in the area, you may want to visit nearby Valley Grove churches (high atop a hill) and hike the prairie there and wander the cemetery among aged oaks.


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