“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
– John Muir
“This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” – John Muir
Muir Woods National Monument, named after conservationist John Muir, is located in Marin County, just north of San Francisco – approximately 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. A part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods is one of the largest urban national parks in the world – and one of the most extraordinary natural spots on the planet.
President Theodore Roosevelt first declared Muir Woods a National Monument on January 9, 1908. Today, millions of nature lovers and families from around the world flock here every year to see these majestic thousand-year-old giant Redwood Sequoia trees, towering over 250 feet high. The tallest redwood in the park stands at 260 feet. The Coast Redwood, California’s State Tree, is the “world’s tallest living tree species.” The average age of the trees is between 600 to 800 years – each ring of the tree signifies one year’s growth. The oldest Redwoods in the park are the trees in Bohemian and Cathedral Groves – they are more than 1,200 years old.
Fun Muir Woods Tours & Day Trips from San Francisco
The scenic 560-acre park includes six miles of hiking trails, each with different levels of difficulty, including longer hikes on trails that extend into surrounding parks. The main canyon floor trails are paved and mostly level. Some of the more challenging trails can be rocky and may require climbing. “Quiet” is encouraged along the trails – the peacefulness really enhances your hike. Even though there were many people in the park during our last visit, at some points along the trail, we hardly saw or heard a soul – except for a babbling brook, rustling leaves and singing birds. Pure bliss!
Every year Convergent Ladybugs migrate to Muir Woods from California’s Central Valley. They usually appear at the park annually – early Summer to Fall. The exact location of these Ladybugs, within Muir Woods, periodically changes over the years, so you may want to check at the Information Desk (at park’s front entrance) to find out exactly where you can see them. During a recent Summer visit, we saw thousands of cute little red/orange ladybugs crawling on plants, logs and fence posts near the entrance to Fern Creek Trail, named for its beautiful green fern and babbling creek.
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The Best Time To Visit Muir Woods
Anytime of the year is a good time to visit Muir Woods – it is open 365 days a year from 8am-sunset. Visiting on weekdays, mornings or late afternoons are best if you want to avoid the crowds – during peak summer season, the parking lots are filled with tour buses.
Muir Woods is a great place to visit if you’re looking for something fun to do on a cloudy, dull or foggy day – it doesn’t have to be sunny to enjoy the park’s magnificent Redwood trees and scenic hiking trails. Bring a jacket or wear layers, especially during summer time when the weather can be foggy and chilly.
Getting To Muir Woods
Follow signs from Hwy 101 (North) after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. The first half of the journey (off Hwy 101) is a scenic windy road lined with fragrant Eucalyptus trees. After taking the “Muir Woods” turnoff, expect an extremely windy, steep and narrow mountainous road that leads down to Muir Woods.
Muir Woods has multiple parking lots, however, parking is limited. Arrive early, especially if you want to park in the main lot (closest to Muir Woods entrance) – it’s usually filled with Tour Buses. Visiting on weekdays, mornings or late afternoons are best.