Have you ever been anywhere that was magical? When you enter Muir Woods, that will probably be your initial impression. It is quite simply, magical! The majestic coastal Redwoods, which have held reign over this woodland kingdom for 600-800 years, stand as tall as 258 feet. The oldest of these trees is over 1,200 years old.
The coastal redwood forests and fern-coated canyons of the Muir Woods National Monument attract nearly one million people each year. This fascinating area was made a national monument in 1908 by Teddy Roosevelt. As early as 1892, the area was used by the local “Bohemian Club” as a summer encampment. Bohemian Grove still stands in memory of this group. Later, threatened by actions that would have destroyed much of the area, local philanthropists William and Elizabeth Thacher Kent donated much of the area to the government, saving the natural beauty and allowing it to become a National Monument. Preferring not to have the area named for them, the Kents opted to have it named for naturalist John Muir. The abundant plant and animal life add to the exquisite scenery.
Along the many miles of gentle and winding hiking trails, visitors can see tanoak trees, redwood sorrel, stellar jays, black-tailed deer and banana slugs. Fortunate fall visitors may see a carpet of ladybugs in select areas as the insects come to mate. Some of the trails are paved, making it easier for wheelchairs, strollers and young children.
Muir Beach and Overlook is about three miles away. This beach is a semi-circular cove with pristine views of the California coast. Ten miles down the road is Stinson Beach, a splendid sandy beach at the foot of Mt. Tamalpais. Avid hikers can access a number of longer, more challenging hikes from within Muir Woods. Muir Woods National Monument is north of the Golden Gate Bridge on Highway 101. Take the Highway 1 exit and follow the signs. But the best way to get there is to take the Muir Woods Shuttle (Golden Gate Transit Route 66), which departs from the Marin City Transit Hub and Manzanita Park-and-Ride every half hour each Saturday, Sunday and holiday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Parking is limited at Muir Woods, and you should expect a long walk to the entrance, especially on weekends. Don’t forget the camera.
To avoid difficult parking and maximize your visit, go to www.muirwoodstoursf.com
Muir Woods National Monument
1 Muir Woods Road, Mill Valley, CA
(415) 388-2595 • www.nps.gov/muwo