Hidden Falls

June 2005

State: Minnesota

Location: Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Height: 10

Crest: 30

Water Source: Prairie Creek

Waypoint: 44.25N 93.13W

Summary: This small waterfall is roughly on the way between the much more impressive Minnehaha Falls and Minneopa Falls. If you are pressed for time, pass up Hidden Falls in favor of those two.

Hidden Falls is located in Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. The park preserves part of the island of woods located amidst the prairie. This is not the sort of terrain where you would expect to find a waterfall. Perhaps that is the reason for the name "Hidden".

I visited the falls the day after several heavy thunderstorms. There were flood warnings in nearby communities. The heavy rains washed a lot of mud into the creek, which is why the photos look something like one of Willie Wonka's chocolate waterfalls. This is one waterfall that probably looks more scenic with less water in it. By the looks of the surrounding area, the water level was considerably higher earlier in the day. Parts of the trail were underwater, and the plants along the shore were all flattened and pointed downstream.

From the parking area it is less than a half a mile walk to the falls. The trail is through the woods. By the looks of it, this part of the woods is fairly young, but it is pretty. There are several other trails in the park. The park is on the small side, and you could hike all the trails in a day if you really wanted to.

The park is only 5 miles from I-35 but due to how the roads are set up it seems much more remote. The park is 2 miles east of Nerstrand. Here is a map from MapQuest. From Northfield take Hwy 246 south east and follow the signs to the park. From Faribault, take Route 60 east and follow the signs to the park.

Nearby Falls

Minnehaha Falls is about 45 miles due north. It is a 55 mile drive, which will take an estimated 1.5 hours. Vermillion Falls is about 35 miles (1 hour) to the northeast, and Willow Falls is another 30 miles beyond that. Minneopa Falls is 1.5 miles to the west.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 19-Sep-2009 14:13:04 MDT.

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