You’ve probably heard of Muir Woods. It’s the lush forest just 11 miles north of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, as a part of the National Parks system on Mount Tamalpais. It’s unique position underneath the ever present San Francisco fog gives it a lush vegetation and creates an other worldly look to it. This has caused it to be the setting for many movies. You may recognize it as the forest moon of Endor in Star Wars. Walking along the trails, I imagined furry Ewoks peeking out at me! Muir Woods is also where Planet of the Apes took place (although it was filmed elsewhere). The walk through Muir Woods starts at the ranger station, takes you past a gift shop & restroom stop, then winds around babbling brooks, underneath huge, old growth redwood trees. I’ll offer up some tips for your visit then let you look through these photos as if you were taking the walk yourself!
Tips on Visiting Muir Woods
Open between 8am-5pm (or 8pm during the summer), the best time to visit is right when they open.
The park is open 365 days a year & doesn’t take reservations, but you will have to pay $10 per adult (15+) to get in.
Pack a light jacket, it can be quite cool under the trees!
Plan to unplug! There is no cell service so stick together with your group & have a meeting place picked out ahead of time.
Parking is pretty non existent. It will fill up so pay attention to the signs down on the freeway exit. They will direct you to the shuttle if the lot is full.
Food is not allowed in the park & there are no picnic sites once you get there. They do have some benches just outside of Muir Woods if you brought your food, but I recommend eating ahead of time!
Muir Woods National Monument
1 Muir Woods Rd
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Be aware that although it is a place of intense natural beauty, Muir Woods is also one of the most popular stops in the Bay Area and is very thick with tourists. As you can see from the path on the left hand side of this photo, you will not be alone in this forest. You will be with thousands of others. If possible, visit on weekdays during the fall. Kids are back in school, many tourists have gone home, and San Francisco has it’s best weather. If you want to experience the woods without all of the crowds, I recommend checking out one of the other spots on Mt. Tamalpais. If you really want to see Muir Woods (which you should) and you only have a chance to go during peak hours, at least be sure to leave early in the morning. There is a parking lot at Muir Woods, but it gets filled up very quickly. We had to park down at a parking lot off of the freeway where there are trams that run you up the mountain. We spent over an hour waiting in line in a parking lot with no benches or facilities to shuffle onto a bus. Get more information on how to visit Muir Woods from the National Parks Service website.
Once you manage to get up there and it looks like this, all of the stress of the journey just seems to melt away!