Standing at the base of a coast redwood tree is an experience every person has to have! Coast redwoods are considered to be the tallest trees in the world, and Muir Woods National Monument provides a stunning display of coast redwoods just a few miles outside of San Francisco.
When this particular grove of trees was in danger of being cut down, it was purchased by local resident William Kent and turned over to the federal government for protection. Kent wanted the forest to be named after John Muir, a great conservationist. Muir Woods National Monument was created in 1908 and is now preserved for the rest of us to enjoy.
On a personal note, John and I really look up to people who care enough to protect land that needs protecting, such as William Kent from so many years ago. It is a dream of ours to be able to purchase up land like that one day! For now, we show our support by practicing Leave No Trace and by cleaning up after others and we hope that you will do the same. Let’s all do our part to keep our wilderness areas beautiful!
Our family loves trees…especially big ones. Some of these trees have been alive for 1,000 years! When you look up to the sky, it is nearly impossible to even see the tree tops. Walking through a whole forest of these living giants is a humbling and thrilling experience…we could hardly contain our excitement! Try to find the tallest tree, or just pick your favorite and don’t forget to take lots of pictures.
What You Need to Know
Although Muir Woods doesn’t contain the tallest redwood trees in the world, it certainly has a great display of extremely tall trees (with the tallest being 260 feet high)! To see Muir Woods, visitors must take a walk along the six miles of boardwalks and paved trails built within the monument. These trails are stroller and wheelchair friendly.
The Main Trail of Muir Woods has four bridges and provides three trail options, depending on how far you want to go. A half-mile loop, one mile loop, and two mile loop are accessible as part of the Main Trail. I strongly suggest at least walking to the Cathedral Grove as part of the one mile loop, but if you can make it all the way up to bridge four on the two mile loop, you won’t be disappointed! Click here for a map.
Fees to enter Muir Woods are collected by the National Park Service and are charged per person (age 16 and up) instead of per car. Click here for information on Muir Woods Entrance Fees. Please note that if you have an NPS Annual Pass (America the Beautiful), it will cover the entrance cost of you and three other people.
The Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset every day. Parking here is a nightmare! One small parking lot exists but fills quickly. Otherwise you will be required to park along the road and walk to the entrance (which for me took about 20 minutes because of all of the cars parked along the road!) I strongly suggest getting to Muir Woods as close to 8 a.m. as possible. Consider taking the Shuttle to minimize the stress of trying to navigate through the crowds.
Muir Woods is located 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. From San Francisco, drive on Highway 101 North for approximately 6 miles. Take the Mill Valley/Highway 1/ Stinson Beach Exit and follow the signs to Highway 1. Stay on Highway 1 and follow the signs to Muir Woods.
The road into Muir Woods is narrow and winds through the hillside, so no RV’s or vehicles longer than 35 feet are permitted.
Instead of driving into the Park and circling the parking lot during the summer, I strongly suggest taking the Shuttle from Highway 101 to Muir Woods. Click here for more information!