Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest.
Mariusz Jurgielewicz/age fotostock
Just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge is Muir Woods National Monument, a 554-acre park; old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, cover 295 of those acres. Peaceful and lush, the forest is ideal for simply communing with nature, or hiking on trails that meander along Redwood Creek, past trees that are anywhere from 400 to more than 1,000 years old and soar 250 feet high. When staffing permits, guided talks are offered, or you can take a self-guided tour among the giants with a program available at the visitor center. The park is open 365 days a year. Given how beautiful it is, Muir Woods can get crowded, but it opens at 8 a.m., and the early bird does capture the best photos. If you prefer not to drive, a bus from the Sausalito Ferry landing (Route 66/66F) runs to the park every 10–20 minutes, depending on the time of year.
After climbing the Oceanview hike on a warm Friday afternoon, a refreshing glass of white wine at the Pelican Inn was much needed.
Quick Trip to the Redwoods
The California Coast is blessed with a belt of redwood trees. To walk, even from a parking lot, among these giants is to feel part of the forest immediately. Muir Woods National Monument is a short drive outside of San Francisco, right across the Golden Gate Bridge in Mill Valley. At the park, there are several trails into the redwood forest. The trees’ height begs a neck-craning, mouth-opening look up and exclamation of “wow.” Their girth requires get close and spanning open arms across the bark almost in a hug. Both actions feel compulsory walking down the well-manicured trails.
Hiking the Dipsea Trail
The Dipsea Trail is a breathtaking hike (in more than one way) running from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach. Every June, 1500 brave souls enter the Dipsea Race, the oldest trail race in America. I have a deep respect for the people that run this because it took it all out of me to hike this 8 mile course at a leisurely pace with plenty of breaks. The views are unbeatable, even on a foggy day. If the scenery isn’t enough to drive you, think instead about the delicious milkshakes awaiting you in downtown Stinson Beach at the Parkside Snack Bar. If you don’t want to haul yourself back over the mountain for the 4 hour hike back, take the West Marin Stage bus from Stinson to Mill Valley instead.
Trees To The Sky
I highly recommend the Muir Woods as a day trip if you’re staying in San Francisco. It is a great place to be inspired by what nature can create. The best activity there is to stroll among towering trees and listen to the breeze rustle the branches. It’s easy to get to - just hop the ferry to Sausalito from the Ferry Terminal in San Fran and once there ask to be directed to the shuttle bus to Muir Woods.
Nature outside the city
Just a 45 minutes drive away from San Francisco, Muir Woods is a place you just have to visit if you have a car. It’s nice to be surrounded by gigantic tall trees, and be able to breath in some fresh air. http://instagram.com/lielaine
Walk Among Redwoods
My kids and I spent a week in California and Arizona seeing big things: whales, redwoods, the Grand Canyon. My favorite stop was our visit to Muir Woods, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. The redwood forest was amazing, not only for the height of the trees, but also for the sense of peace and wonder that came over me as we walked among the giant trees. My nine-year-old missed a bit of the peace and wonder, but she had a blast completing the junior ranger quest. The quest led her (and us) on a walk through the forest, teaching her (and us) about the forest and its trees along the way. There was a just a bit of puzzle solving involved, enough to keep her moving along and excited. Our afternoon in Muir Woods was maybe the most fun we’ve had as a family. It was magical.
Take a break from the City and explore Muir Woods while visiting San Fran
Every time I travel to San Francisco I make sure to visit my favorite spots and find at least one new adventure. On my last trip, I decided to take a day and spend it outside of the city. I found myself wandering around Muir Woods. It is a beautiful park and well worth the visit! Just one more reason to love San Fran. It is good for solo travelers and families. No car? No worries, there are plenty of options to take tour buses from the city just be sure to look into it in advance of your trip.
No trip to the Bay Area is complete without a stop at the Muir Woods. This beautiful Redwood forest has something for everyone. Handicap accessible for those less mobile to great sea hikes for those with more time. My favorite reward on the way home is a stop at the Pelican Inn for some wine and cheese in the setting sun.
Hike among the giants
This is probably one of the most unique places on the planet and all within a 30 minutes drive from San Francisco. Be surrounded by some of the oldest and tallest living things on the planet. Think about it, some of these trees were alive during the Roman Empire! The spring will give you running brooks and lush greenery. Summer will give you rolling fog, peacefulness and escape from the noise of the world. Autumn will give you less crowds and Winter will give you rains and the running of the brooks, once again, with an added bonus of lushness. Anytime you go you will be transported to a time that has lasted, literally, for millennia!
Hiking in Muir Woods
Just a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, this national monument hosts some of the natural beauty California has to offer. If you are only visiting the Bay Area, take some time to visit here to see some Redwood trees and take a nice stroll along the areas many trails. Drive along Highway 1 as it twists and turns the terrain to get you to this special Redwoods hideaway. Even though the area does not have the largest Redwoods, it is a great place to see the trees and get out of the city. Named after philanthropist John Muir, its preservation is truly appreciated by many. Muir was a great explorer of Yosemite and was the founder of the Sierra Club. He actively lobbied the government for many of the preservation of California and other parts of the United States. Check out more images and my experience while visiting the park by reading my blog post (link included).
About Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument is a redwood forest located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It protects over 500 acres of redwood trees. Lush and green due to the proximity of the Pacific Ocean and wet weather of the region, it is home to several species of birds and animals. The Redwood creek is rich in marine life and occasionally sea otters have been spotted swimming here. Thre are several hiking trails in the woods that are worth exploring. Moonlight walks are held on full moon nights.There is also a visitors centre which has changing exhibits and a gift shop. See San Francisco travel itinerary for visiting Muir Woods National Monument Details - • Tips & Warnings: Picnicking, camping and pets are not permitted. • There are no lodging facilities in the Muir Woods. • Restrooms are available. • Moonlight walks have to be booked in advance. Public Transport - • Bus Stop: Muir Woods Visitor Centre Eat Outs - • Aramark Cafe
The expanse and silence of Muir Woods is something everyone should experience. I had been there years ago and was excited to share the incredible place with my companion.