NorCal Roadtrips

An Explorer's Guide to Northern California

Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods

"This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all of the forests of the world" declared John Muir before he knew it would be named for himself.

This modest but beautiful day-use park contains 6 miles of hiking trails under the canopy of old-growth coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), amongst the tallest living things. The park is linked by trail to nearby Muir Beach and Mt. Tamalpais State Park.

The park is severely regulated, so some things that a visitor might not think about come into play. The following activities are outlawed: smoking, picnicking, biking, pets, horseback riding and camping. Breathing, thus far, is condoned. This small park is also too popular for its own good, so even getting in can be problematic. So visit very early or late in the afternoon. There are shuttle buses, but parking at the shuttle stops is frequently full. So don't plan to visit on a whim.

The park is ideal for people with disabilities or physical limitations, as many of the trails are paved and level. A small visitor center/bookstore also serves some basic meals. Redwood Creek, which bisects the park, features spring runs of salmon and steelhead. Hike the Main Trail. Start at the Visitor Center on Muir Woods Road and hike that along with the Bootjack and Ben Johnson Trails. Check out the William Kent Memorial Tree, if only to stump your friends in a trivia contest. The highest tree in Muir Woods, it is a Douglas fir.

website: www.nps.gov/muwo.

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