Muir Woods was beautiful, a short drive north of San Fran is home to some of the largest trees in the world. It is amazing to see these trees up close and in person. We were short on time so did not get to check out the many trails available. We stuck to the main trail the entire time.
This is a wonderful place to come so close to San Francisco, to see these amazing trees. The forest is like being in a cathedral. I loved smelling the rich earthiness of the area.
The information boards are well laid out and interesting, the guides available are knowlegable and helpful. I would recommend that you go as early as possible as the parking fills up very quickly.
Situated at the base of Mount Tamalpais is the Muir Woods National Monument, a forest of old coast redwoods, one of the few remaining in California. The woods are named after John Muir, a naturalist and conservationist who fought for the creation of national parks. The Main Trail is paved and is very crowded especially on weekends; it features one of the tallest trees in the forest. If you follow one of the trails branching from the Main Trail you can leave the crowds behind and enjoy a nice hike. Muir Woods is accesible by car. There is no public transportation but you can find some tour companies that go there.
Muir Woods is located 17 miles north-west of SFjust off highway 1. The park was named after naturalist John Muir who was instrumental in establishing the National Park system. This National Monument is made up of over 560 acres of redwood forest. Some of these majestic redwood trees are over 1.000 years old.
Muir Woods is a 560 acre park. If you love to walk, this is THE place! Meanwhile, if you gaze upward, WAY UP...you will see some very, VERY tall trees! The trees are called Coast Redwoods and only grow on a thin 500 mile strip of the Pacific Coast.
This place is to me is more sacred and majestic than the most beautiful basilica. We spoke in whispers when here... You'll spend you're entire visit looking upward in total awe.
These 1000-year old redwood trees are so grand and beautiful- they really give you perspective. For now I am including a vintage pic from their Website just so you can get an idea of their scale compared to us wee human beings.
The redwood forest is quite cool temperature wise. Jackets, layered clothing, and walking shoes are the way to go.
Taken from their Website:
"This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world," declared conservationist John Muir when describing the majestic coast redwoods of Muir Woods.
Until the 1800's, many northern California coastal valleys were covered with coast redwood trees similar to those now found in Muir Woods National Monument. The forest along Redwood Creek in today's Muir Woods was spared from logging because it was hard to get to. Noting that Redwood Creek contained one of the San Francisco Bay Area's last uncut stands of old-growth redwood, Congressman William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, bought 295 acres here for $45,000 in 1905. To protect the redwoods the Kents donated the land to the United States Federal Government and, in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument. Roosevelt suggested naming the area after Kent, but Kent wanted it named for conservationist John Muir.
Come stroll among 1000 year old giant trees towering 260 feet high. Until the 1800's, many northern California coastal valleys were covered with coast redwood trees similar to those now found in Muir Woods National Monument. The forest along Redwood Creek in today's Muir Woods was spared from logging because it was hard to get to.Realizing that Redwood Creek contained one of the San Francisco Bay Area's last uncut stands of old-growth redwood, Congressman William Kent & his wife bought 295 acres here for $45,000 in 1905. To protect the redwoods the Kents donated the land to the US Federal Government and, in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument. Roosevelt suggested naming the area after Kent, but Kent wanted it named for conservationist John Muir.
Information and Hours
The monument is managed by the National Park Service and is open year round from 8:00 am to sunset. The monument is busiest during the weekends and the middle of the day. For the most solitude we recommend visiting during weekdays, morning hours and late afternoons. For information, write or call Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (415) 388-2595. Entry fee required - $3 per Adult (17 and older). Golden Eagle, Golden Age and Golden Access Accepted.
* No Bicycles!
* No Picnics!
* No Dogs!
* No Camping!
Muir Woods is located north of the city off of Hway 101 North. It is about a twenty minute drive. As you drive, you will pass Eucylyptus trees. Open your windows as you drive. The smell is most refreshing. The drive begins to twist and turn the closer you get to the park. Hang in there. There are beautiful views. IF YOU CAN HELP IT, DO NOT GO ON A WEEKEND. Go early on a weekday, preferably by ten or so. The parking lots fill early and then you have to park far from the park. You also have a reduced number of people on the trails that way.
If you are pressed for time, take about a thirty minute stroll by heading into the woods and crossing over at the first bridge to the left. Continue on the trail and pass the large tree with the hollow inside. Everyone stops there to take a picture inside the tree. Use a flash to even out the shadows and don't stand too far inside or the picture will not come out well. At about the third or fourth bridge, cross back and return to the entrance.
The park offers nature walks and lectures and are well worth taking if you have the time.
If you have children, or a small bladder, make sure to take advantage of the restrooms before entering the park.
Ancient grove of redwoods, some are 1000 years old and 260 feet tall, with a stream meandering through the forest. Stroll among the Giant Redwoods or hike on the available trails. Of interest is a cross section of an ancient redwood with dates of historical significance. No picnicking, cycling, camping, or dogs allowed. But you can find campsites at nearby Mt. Talmalpais State Park. There is a $3.00 entry fee. Roads to the park are steep and winding; vehicles over 35 feet long are prohibited.
Muir Woods is just a hop, skip, a jump away from San Fran. What's amazing about it is that a park like this exists so close to the city (or conversely that a city is nearby such a great park). Although the trees may not be the tallest, they're definitely taller than most trees. Also, the foliage is pretty cool.
If you spend a few days in the "bay area", you have to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and into beautiful and mellow Marin County. The artistans and cafes of Sausalito are salve for the troubled soul.
And, if like us, you're the outdoors-type, drive up to Muir Woods and Muir Beach. You'll be rewarded with fragrant forests of centuries-old redwoods at Muir. Muir Beach presents an unpopulated and picturesque beach, and a pounding surf. The water's pretty cold......too cold for we Florida folks. But, the German teenagers we saw swimming there seemed to think it was no worse than the Baltic. : )
BTW, my VT muse "karenincalifornia" tells me that there's a nude beach just to the north of Muir Beach, so be forewarned if you've brought the kids. :) That water still seems kind of cold for that kind of play, though. The Seinfeld "shrinkage" episode comes to mind.
Located 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Declared a National Monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt and named for conservationist John Muir, the 560-acre park contains the only large stand of ancient redwoods in the Bay Area, with some individual trees over 1,000 years old. There are 6 miles of walking trails, 50 species of birds, black-tailed deer, steelhead trout and hundreds of other "wild inhabitants." Entrance to the park is about a $2.00 donation. Be careful driving up especially during the rainy season, roads are very narrow and lots of curves, Watch out for those cliffs!!!!
The last time I was in Muir Woods, I was about 12 years old, so I wanted to see if it was the same. It was. However, for someone who hasn't seen giant redwoods, Muir Woods is a wonderful introduction. Leave the crowds behind and get onto the trails, where you can see some great scenery and observe some wildlife. We saw a few woodpeckers and also noticed crayfish in Fern Creek.
There are many trails to enjoy in Muir Woods, which are listed on the brochure you get with the entry fee. The gentle Main Trail Loop goes by Bohemian Grove, where the tallest tree in the park stands at 254 feet. The Dipsea Trail is more strenuous, going to the top of the aptly named Cardiac Hill.
There is a gift shop with ingenious gifts such as a grow-your-own redwood kit, and there is also a tea house if you want to have a snack.
We went on a Blue and Gold Fleet tour, which is handy if you don't have a car. It includes the ferry ride from San Francisco. If you choose to go this route, make sure you ask about the pick up point for the bus, as we didn't as well as our tour mates. Our huge group ended up wandering around Tiburon until the bus driver noticed us.
If you're looking to get out of the sun, head up to Muir Woods and stand beneath the magnificent California Redwoods. Some of these trees are over 1,000 years old and stand 260 feet high!
The Muir Woods National Monument is open year round, 8AM - sunset. The entrance fee is just $3. Parking is free (but limited - you may have to drive far past the entrance to a second lot, or even further and park along the street).
Getting to Muir Woods is also a treat. The road winds along the edge of some breathtaking vistas.
If you have allergies, look for signs warning of bees and wasp activity at the entrance so you can avoid those trails.
These multi-centenarian trees were covering the coastal area of California in the past...
Muir woods, even so impressive, is only the remainings!
If you don't have the opportunity to go there, another possibility to however see some (much younger) redwoods is the Botanical garden in the golden Gate ¨park or you can even see a few of them at the foot of the Transamerica Pyramid.