January 26, 2013

Muir Woods National Monument: Planning Your Visit

Muir Woods National Monument Sign
 Muir Woods National Monument is nestled in the rolling hills just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco.  Due to the proximity to the big city, this stunning park rightfully attracts more then a million visitors per year.  The draw is the giant and ancient coast redwood.  There are several trails in the park.

With more than a million visitors to the Muir Woods National Monument, the park can have congestion and parking problems.  The park has a shuttle service that transports visitors to the park from Marin City and the Pohono Park and Ride.  The shuttle is seasonal.  The park has long had problems with big crowds and small parking lots.  If trying to park on the weekends, it is not unusual to park on the side of a two lane road a mile or more from the entrance.

The large crowds are drawn by the beautiful coast redwoods.  These giants can grow upwards of 300 feet and are the largest trees in the world.  The largest coast redwood was recently measured at 380 feet tall.  This ancient giant can live up to 2,000 years.  It is not unlikely that some of the older trees were living at the time of Christ.  A great book to read during your visit to the coast redwoods and Muir Woods is: The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring.

The trails of Muir Woods are the best way to see and enjoy the beauty and mystery of the trees.  There are six miles of trails in the park and several through trails that lead to the surrounding parks.  Here is a list of the trails in the park:

  • Main Trail - (2 miles)
  • The Ben Johnson Loop Trail - (5.2 miles)
  • Dipsea and Steep Ravine Loop Trail - (3.9 miles)
The Main Trail - Muir Woods

If planning to visit Muir Woods National Monument, plan ahead.  Know the shuttle schedule.  Educate yourself about the trees. And arrange to enjoy the park from one of the trails. Muir Woods can greatly complement a visit to the San Francisco area.