Muir Woods National Monument


What? : The Muir Woods National Monument is one of the best places in California to see an old-growth coastal redwood forest. Its proximity to San Francisco contributes to its popularity, especially during weekends.


Where? : located on Mount Tamalpais near the Pacific coast, in southwestern Marin County, 12 miles north of San Francisco (20 minute drive from Golden Gate Bridge).

Google Map Link


When? : Year round, do expect mist and fog and relatively colder temperatures during summer. Winter is excellent time to visit the park, rainy day and fog add to the park atmosphere and you may have fewer other visitors.


Due note 1: Reservations are required for all vehicles ($8.50 per vehicle). An entrance fee of $15.00 per person is charged in order to gain park entry.

Please ensure you have a printout or downloaded copy of your parking voucher before arriving.


Due note 2: Marin Transit operates a shuttle on all weekends and holidays providing service to Muir Woods from Sausalito, Marin City, or Mill Valley ($3.25 per person)


Parking and Shuttle reservation link:


Due note 3: The Park is open from 8:00 am and closes at sunset.


Due note 4: There are no camping or lodging facilities in Muir Woods. There are camping options in the adjacent Mount Tamalpais State Park.


Due note 5: The Park sees up to 6000 visitors per day during peak times (weekends and holidays), you will not be alone here and expect a crowdy experience.


Due note 6: Muir Woods National Monument is surrounded by Mount Tamalpais State Park. Many trails to and from Muir Woods connect with the State Park trails. These trails are usually longer, narrow, unpaved, and often steep going up the mountain.

Link to my Blog covering Mount Tamalpais


Due note 7: To avoid the mandatory parking reservation system or park fees you can park at Mount Tamalpais SP or along Panoramic Highway and hike down to the park.


My thoughts: The redwood forest in this grove is beautiful, probably the best location to see the redwoods near San Francisco. You can enjoy the easy hike and admire the trees. My main problem is with the crowd, it is packed with other visitors, many are coming with shuttles and organized trips, definitely not an intimate experience. Probably I need to come late at the afternoon on a rainy weekday to to have better “nature” experience.


The Visit:

The Muir Woods National Monument is an old growth coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forests, one of a few such stands remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a coastal marine layer fog, that also vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during drought seasons.

Coast redwoods are the tallest living things on Earth. The tallest reaches 379 feet above the forest floor of Redwood National Park. In Muir Woods, the tallest is over 258 feet. Most of the mature redwoods here are 500 to 800 years old; some may be over 1,000 years old.

By the early 1900s, people had cut most of California’s coastline redwoods. This canyon, though, was never logged because its owners had protected it. In 1908, William and Elizabeth Kent donated this small old-growth redwood forest to the public.


Enjoy a walk on the paved Redwood Creek Trail (also called Main Trail). Choose short (1/2 hour), medium, or long loops (1 1/2 hour loop). Other trails go deep into Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais State Park.


The trails in Muir Woods main canyon and redwood grove are asphalt or boardwalk and they are good for stroller and wheelchairs.

Trails on the canyon walls are dirt, narrow, steep, and rutted with tree roots.