San Francisco has so many wonderful attractions both in the city and nearby and one of the most popular is Muir Woods National Monument. Thousands of tourists visit the park each year in search of the majestic redwood trees. As you stroll through the beautiful paths among these regal trees, you can hear them whisper quietly as if they were speaking to each other or to you. Peace and serenity is easily found among these gentle giants.
Muir Woods is only twelve miles north of San Francisco. You can take either US 101 or California Highway 1. The roads are winding and steep as you enter the canyon which harbors this popular park. San Francisco's public transportation doesn't service the park, but there are private tour buses available if you don't want to drive.
Muir Woods Operating Hours and Admission
The park stays open to guests year round from 8:00 a.m. to sunset. An admission fee of $3.00 per person, ages seventeen and older, is charged. Dogs are not allowed into the park. You can't bring food into the park either. Camping is also not allowed. The crowds can be large at certain times of the year and on weekends. If possible, plan your visit for a weekday, and plan on arriving at the park either right at opening or later in the evening.
Many of these 1000 year old trees have reached heights of 260 feet tall. Because of the massive shade offered by the trees, wildlife isn't abundant here. You might just see deer, chipmunks, newts, and various birds, however. You'll also see other plants indigenous to the area.
Muir Woods Hiking Information
There are seven main trails that hiking enthusiasts can travel. They include the following:
- Main Trail Loop-1 mile
- Main Trail to Fourth Bridge and Return by Hillside-2 miles
- Fern Creek Trail to Camp Eastwood-3 miles
- Dipsea Trail and Return by Ben Johnson Trail-4 miles
- Bootjack Trail to Ben Johnson Trail-6 miles
- Ocean View Trail to Lost Trail to Fern Creek-3 miles
- Ocean View Trail to Redwood Trail to Sun Trail-5.2 miles
As you approach the entrance to Muir Woods, you'll have the opportunity to take a different road which winds down to Muir Beach. This breathtaking shoreline offers hikers an opportunity to rest or continue their exploration. Gently rolling hills fall toward the ocean coastline, and quiet paths travel in several directions around or to the top of the hills. Plan on taking in the views this quiet beach has to offer either before or after you visit Muir Woods.
There is free, public parking, and a wooden boardwalk will carry you towards the beach area. Although the water is too cold for swimming (unless you are wearing a wetsuit), the beach is somewhat sheltered from the winds by the surrounding hillside. Plan on spending the day away from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco at both Muir Woods and Muir Beach. You'll be glad you did!