Muir Woods National Monument Travel Guide

  • Take a walk
    Take a walk
    by alycat
  • The Throngs... Dec 29, 2009
    The Throngs... Dec 29, 2009
    by KevinMichael
  • Another kind of tree
    Another kind of tree
    by KevinMichael

Muir Woods National Monument Things to Do

  • Woods

    We went to stay near here rather than staying in San Francisco. Although I have been to some of the other big tree parks as a child (including another Coastal Redwood park Big Basin), I hadn't been to Muir Woods. The park was named for John Muir - Upon learning of its dedication, Mr. Muir declared, "This is the best tree-lovers monument that could...

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  • Stroll through Muir Woods

    Depending on the path, you'd likely devote at least 45 minutes to enjoying a stroll through Muir Woods. Some paths can take as much as 2 hours to loop around.

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  • Get in on a free tour

    Having a ranger tell you all about the forest life and how it works is educational and can be entertaining as well.

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  • 100 years old

    on jan 8 2008 Muir Woods turned 100. there are all sorts of activities going on all year to celebrate this event. there are plenty trails to choose from, which makes this place perfect for all kinds of visitors.

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  • Hillside Trail

    The Hillside Trail lies on the opposite (west) bank from the main paved trail in the monument. The scenery here is still redwood forest, but this is the easiest accessible part of the park with the least crowds. The trail starts (or ends, depending on which direction you go in) at the end of the paved trail in Cathedral Grove. The trail crosses the...

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  • Cathedral Grove

    Cathedral Grove is one of the most enchanting places in Muir Woods National Monument, probably because you've thrown off a good two-thirds of the visitors by the time you get there. The trees here are just as tall and beautiful and stately as their siblings in Bohemian Grove, and you get a sense here that it is an almost sacred place; some of the...

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  • Bohemian Grove

    The Bohemian Grove of giant redwoods contains the tallest redwood in the park, a 258-foot tall towering coast sequoia. It is the closest grove of redwoods to the visitor center. The grove got its name because it was an original meeting place of the Bohemian Club. The Bohemian Club was (and still is) an organization of the most powerful and...

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  • Muir Woods Visitor Center

    Muir Woods is accessible from a spur road off the Panoramic Highway. There is a moderate sized parking lot. The visitor center lies at the trailhead into the redwood grove. You should stop by the visitor center first before starting your walk. There are a good number of books for sale, including some that describe redwoods; there is also a model of...

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  • Hike a little... or a lot...

    Muir Woods can easily be seen in an hour, or you can really get the experience and spend a few here.Muir Woods is essentially a gulch, with Redwood Creek cutting down the middle. The main loop trail straddles the creek, is almost totally flat, and is only about a mile and a half round trip. On this walk, you'll be at the bases of some of the...

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  • Touring the woods

    There is a 2 mile round trip trail that allows you to visit part of the woods. The trail is flat and level, wheelchair accessible and branches off at four bridges and loops back around, in case you don't want to do the entire thing. Along the way, you can read signs about the trees in the area, the growth of the Redwoods and the like. There are...

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  • The bicentennial tree

    The plaque in front of this tree bears the inscription "bicentennial tree". It was planted in 1776, the year America declared its independence. The tree has grown continuously ever since. It is a young tree by redwoods standards inasmuch as the United States is a young nation by global standards. But its amazing how much growth and development this...

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  • Hiking Muir Woods

    There are two main trails that lead from Muir Woods monument to overlooks above and away from the tourist throngs. You can take either the Ocean View Trail or the Fern Creek Trail, or, better yet, take one trail up and one trail back. You will need to set aside a couple of hours for the hike since it covers a good few miles.

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  • The redwoods

    These mighty redwoods are among the tallest and oldest trees on earth. It is difficult to gain perspective as to how mammoth these trees actually are, and its next to impossible to photograph them in their entirety. But its kind of fun to watch people crouch and practically lie down on the floor attempting to capture the entire dimensions of a...

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  • Visiting the woods

    Muir Woods is a short and scenic drive from San Francisco. It is located a couple of miles north of the city on hwy 101. The road to the woods is steep and winding and goes up a portion of Mount Tamalpais. If you're visiting San Francisco, you'll need a car to get here, unless you're willing to pay for an expensive taxi ride. An alternative is to...

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  • redwood forest

    The Muir Woods are certainly worth a visit ... 1000 year old giant trees, towering 260 feet high.Open year round from 8:00 am to sunset.

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Muir Woods National Monument Transportation

  • Early is best!

    It is best to get here early -- both for getting parking and for seeing the forest with as few people as possible.

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  • To bus or not to bus?

    Many tour companies operate half day tours from San Francisco to Muir Woods. I would check into what else the tours offer besides the woods. A tour would be a good idea if you do not like driving slow, curvy roads with steep drop-offs.If you are more than 2 people, however, I would definitely consider renting a car for the day rather than taking a...

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  • If you don't have a rental car

    Muir Woods is about 12 miles from downtown San Francisco. There is no public transportation to the monument and its quite an expensive taxi ride. A couple of the tour companies offer half day tours to the woods and then to Sausalito. This is a relatively inexpensive option ($37 for adults as of 2005) and gives you about an hour at each destination....

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Muir Woods National Monument Shopping

  • Souvenirs & Trinkets

    There is a good gift shop near the entrance of Muir Woods. It's a good place to pick up some nice souvenirs or memorabilia. Goods purchased here go toward a good cause - preservation of Muir Woods.

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  • Fun to browse

    The Gift Shop at Muir Woods National Monument is actually pretty neat. They have a very large (and VERY expensive) selection of redwood burl crafts - from clocks to boxes and any other souvenier you'd normally find not made of wood. It's fun to browse, but, as I said, it's really pricey. I can't offer you an alternative - it's not like Redwoods NP...

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  • Muir Woods National Monument Hotels

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Muir Woods National Monument Local Customs

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    by goingsolo Written Jul 15, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Muir Woods was set aside as a national monument to preserve a portion of the redwoods that once spread across this portion of northern California. But the redwoods found here were originally spared because their remote location made them difficult for loggers to get to and cut down. It was their remote location that actually spared the trees.

    Today, Muir Woods is a very popular destination and receives over 1 million visitors a year. For many, its an escape from the city, and an easily accessible one too as its only 12 miles from the center of San Francisco.

    Muir Woods National Monument
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Muir Woods National Monument Tourist Traps

  • The main drag

    Most people who visit Muir Woods spend a short amount of time walking a portion of the two mile path from the entrance and purchasing food at the small canteen area near the visitor's center. For this reason, the are is very crowded. Your best bet for seeing Muir Woods is to have your own transportation so that you're not restricted to a quick one...

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  • The visitor's center

    Most people arrive by tour bus and pass a great portion of their time at the visitor's center and the canteen area. I find that most visitor's centers offer some interesting information about the history of the park and the plant, animal and even human life that inhabited it. I found this out while stranded at Bryce Canyon during a winter snowstorm...

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Muir Woods National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • Walking by the river

    Redwood Creek runs along the main path which leads to Cathedral Grove. Bridges cross the creek at four different points. If you're lucky, you can find a quiet spot along the creek or in some semi secluded corner and enjoy the peacefulness of these woods.

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  • Walking in the trees

    Muir Woods is a very easy to explore place. It has a well marked trail which circumnavigates the main part of the park. Even a short visit here can be enjoyable, although there are crowds to contend with. Take a brief walk beneath the giant redwoods and enjoy the cool air of the forest canopy.

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  • Felled Tree

    You will find a few felled redwoods while touring the main path. Most fall over due to disease or a rare lightning strike. This tree had been tilting over due to some malady when the forest service made the decision to cut it down. A portion of the park was closed while the tree was upright because of the fear that it may crash at any time.

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Muir Woods National Monument Favorites

  • Bring a jacket!

    No matter what the weather is, you'll want to bring a jacket to Muir Woods. The trees prevent almost all sunlight from reaching the forest floor, and Redwood Gulch (which Muir Woods is a part of) is situated so that when the fog rolls in, the cold, moist air runs straight through the park.Photographers will find Muir Woods challenging to capture....

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  • The redwoods

    After visiting Sequoia National Park, I thought this place would be repetitive. And it was, a bit. But you can't help but be impressed by the redwoods. They are some of the oldest living trees on earth. And they grow in an area where rain is rare but moisture is not. The redwoods adapt to the west coast environment by absorbing moisture from fog...

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  • Up & Down

    There is an easy loop trail through the park -- but don't miss the trails on the sides of the hills. The earlier you get to the park, the better your experience will be.

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