Muir Woods is an easy day trip from the San Francisco area. A 30-minute drive along U.S. 101 will bring you to the main entrance. Visitors will find several trails that offer a variety of terrain and hiking difficulty.
The Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a coastal marine layer fog, contributing to a wet environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. The fog is also vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during the dry summer.
The monument is cool and moist year round with average daytime temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is heavy during the winter and summers are almost completely dry with the exception of fog drip caused by the fog passing through the trees.
By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down. Just north of the San Francisco Bay, one valley named Redwood Canyon remained uncut, mainly due to its relative inaccessibility.
On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. The monument was named after naturalist John Muir.
All of the trails take you through 1000-year-old coast redwood trees. It’s possible to hike into Mount Tamalpais State Park all the way to the fire lookout tower. Plan on an early start if you decide to do this hike.
Weekends and holidays are very busy and the trails can get extremely crowded. The park service recommends that you visit on weekdays. If you must on the weekend arrive early for your best chance of a peaceful hike.
If you’ve never seen a redwood and are staying in San Francisco, Muir Woods is a great place to view these giants trees. Stop at the Woods Cafe which is located in the heart of the Muir Woods.
Getting to Muir Woods
Muir Woods National Monument, 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The woods are open year-round from 8:00 am to sunset. The forest is regularly shrouded in coastal fogs so be sure to dress warmly.
Entrance fee is only $10. If you are age 62 years or older we highly recommend getting an America The Beautiful pass. This lifetime pass grants you and three passengers access to National Parks- monuments, federal recreations areas. Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, CA 94941.