Muir Woods National Monument – Tips and Images

Muir Woods National Monument Tips and Images @handbookofnaturestudy

Muir Woods National Monument is a wonderful way to get a taste of the redwood forest on the coast of California. It is very close to San Francisco and would make a wonderful day trip….as long as you get their EARLY! I read online that there was limited parking and that for the best chance of getting a spot you had to show up before 8:30 AM. I did not follow that advice and ended up parking about a mile away alongside a very busy road. It was a Saturday on a bright sunny day so maybe that contributed to the parking problem but I would advise anyone that wants to visit to be early or expect to walk a distance before you even get to the trails.

Quick Links:

Muir Woods National Monument – official website

Plan Your Visit Page - with downloadable map and guide

Muir Beach and Muir Beach Overlook - information and downloadable guide

Muir Woods Visitor Center

Usually I suggest making a stop at the visitor center before heading out to explore but this an exception. The visitor center is more like a glorified gift shop and as long as you pick up a map and guide you will be able to decide easily which trails to take. Basically there is a large loop that has crossover trails/bridges to use to turn and make your way back to the entrance. You pick how far you want to walk.

It is possible to hike from Muir Woods to other destinations like Stinson Beach, Muir Beach, and Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Here is a link to a printable map: Muir Woods Trails.  My son has hiked from Muir Woods to the ocean and back in a day and it is a long hike. You really need to plan ahead with food and water before taking any of these trails.

Muir Woods Trail

I apologize for the lack of quality in my photos from this day. I wasn’t feeling great and it really shows in my images. The loop trail is fairly flat but the day we were there it was crowded so the challenge was to adjust our walking speed to stay away from large loud groups. I prefer to have a much quieter experience when walking in the redwoods but this day it wasn’t possible.

Muir Woods 1

There were plenty of interesting things to feast your eyes on as you walked like the redwood sorrel, lichen, and fungi.

Muir Woods 2

You can’t help but admire these redwood trees and the way they stretch high up into the atmosphere. What a treasure!

Muir Woods Creek 1

We enjoyed standing on the bridges and gazing along the canyon. It is a beautiful sight and well worth the effort to get here. If this is your first trip to the tall trees, you will want to allow a longer day but if you have visited other redwoods, a few hours is probably plenty of time to allot for this park.

If you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to see some old growth redwood trees, I highly recommend a visit to the Muir Woods National Monument.

To extend your day….

Muir Beach Overlook

After our walk at the park, we drove back the short distance to the coast and up to the Muir Beach Overlook. This is a hard turn off Hwy 1 but it is a fantastic place to stop and view the coastline about Muir Beach. We had sunshine on our visit and we opted to eat our picnic lunch at the tables there. We didn’t have any trouble finding a spot to park and we all enjoyed the stroll down to the actual viewpoint.

Muir Beach Map

We also stopped at Muir Beach and walked out onto the sand and then took the short loop trail to enjoy the wildflowers in bloom. There are restroom facilities and picnic tables available at the parking lot.

Muir Beach Trail

Muir Beach Trails

Other Tips and Information

  • Fee is $7 per adult, 15 years and younger are free
  • There is NO cell service.
  • There is a gift shop and cafe to get a bite to eat.
  • There are no hotels or campgrounds at Muir Woods.
  • There is no place to picnic within the park. (I suggest driving the short distance to Muir Beach or Muir Beach Overlook for picnic tables.)
  • There is a Jr. Ranger program at Muir Woods.

 

You can read more of my national park tips in these entries:

 

Comments

  1. Oh what beautiful images – and great tips!! I was privileged to visit here over 20 years ago when I was in San Francisco for a work conference. I went over by myself – and wish I’d had your tips then. But I do remember – and always will remember – those redwoods towering over me! Absolutely gorgeous. Everyone should go!

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