Spanning well over 550 acres and home to stunning, towering redwood trees that reach highs of 79 metres above the ground, Muir Woods is an enchanting natural environment. Admire the view of these dramatic giant trees, some of which have stood here for 1,200 years, as the sun rises and sets behind them,.
Long ago, this entire part of California was covered with beautiful redwoods. However, through the centuries loggers came and destroyed so much of the ancient forestry. Back at the beginning of the 20th century, Muir Woods appeared set for the same fate, as a dam was scheduled to be built here that would the trees.
However, it was then that Congressman William Kent stepped in, purchasing the land and donating it to the federal government for conservation. President Theodore Roosevelt subsequently declared the area a national monument in 1908, and it was named after naturalist John Muir, who was a pioneer of the country’s national parks.
Whether you’re a dedicated hiker or you simply want to enjoy a casual stroll, the paths here are ideal for everyone. You can explore 10 kilometres of wooded trails offering hikes that vary in difficulty. Some trails are paved, allowing you to easily navigate and explore. Well over two kilometres of the trails can be accessed by wheelchairs. Pick up a map from the Visitor Center or plan ahead by downloading one from the National Parks website.
Muir Woods is less than 30 kilometres from downtown San Francisco, making it an easy drive from the heart of town. However, despite its relative proximity to the big city, it can feel to visitors like a patch of wilderness. Even so, the crowds flock here during the weekend in the summer, so if you want to make the most of the serene ambience visit on a weekday or early or late at the weekend.
The park opens daily. Drinks and snacks are available at the café close to the park’s entrance, but bear in mind you won’t be allowed to picnic here as the authorities will not tolerate littering and want to protect the wildlife in the area. As a shaded area, the woods are typically cool and damp, so wear appropriate clothing.