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“Loved Muir Woods - here’s our tips:”

Muir Woods National Monument
Ranked #2 of 33 things to do in Mill Valley
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Muir Woods has a rich and varied history, from its use by the Coast Miwok people, to its early days of tourism and the Mount Tamalpais Mill Valley Scenic Railway, to an era of conservation, to modern preservation. In each era, the forest has been affected by the actions of humans, for better or for worse. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this coastal redwood preserve features majestic redwoods and scenic hiking trails that draw more than 1.5 million visitors each year.
Reviewed 6 April 2018

Muir Woods was the highlight of our trip to San Francisco. Amazing that they have a redwood forest so close to the city. We live in Houston so loved getting out in the fresh air, seeing the beautiful trees, and hiking. Tips:
- If you’re planning a visit, be sure to make your online parking reservation in advance ($8). You can take a tour bus to get there, take a shuttle bus (which was not running when we went), Uber, or drive there. We drove a rental car that we rented for the day, so made our parking reservation for 9:30 to 10am. I had forgotten it was that late (even though it was printed on the parking reservation) so when we arrived at 8:55 AM the attendant said next time we needed to be within 15 minutes of our time slot, but he still let us in. Since it was early in the day, we were able to get a parking space in the first parking lot. There are several other lots as well with a little longer walk.
- The park seems to be very accessible for those in wheel chairs as the Main Trail starts as a boardwalk and then is hard packed dirt. You won’t be able to do any of the side hikes, but you’ll definitely get to view plenty of Redwoods on the Main Trail.
- We had planned to do Fern Creek from the main path but it was too wet and had large puddles which wouldn’t have worked for those in our group that were wearing athletic shoes that weren’t water proof. Instead, we walked to the Camp Eastwood / Previn Trail and did that instead. This includes walking upwards to the camp and then walking back down to the Main Trail. When we got back down to the Main Trail, we then took Hillside Trail which overlooks the Main Trail which was really cool. The Hillside Trail joins up with the Main Trail near the Bohemian Grove. Since our hike still felt short, we walked back along the Main Trail to see the parts we missed. It was interesting to see the huge burls in the Redwoods in this section. They look like large hornet nests, but they’re not.
- Be sure to take water bottles if you’re doing any of the longer trails and to layer your clothes. It is pretty cold when it is rainy. It rained off and on when we were there, but we still enjoyed our hike. I used my umbrella a couple times and many others had umbrellas too. But it is hard to see the trees and look up with an umbrella. I’m sure on weekends when it is more crowded, umbrellas might be a problem too.
- There is no cell service at all in the park. If you take an Uber to get there, be sure to arrange in advance how to get back, or get a taxi back to Sausalito and then get Uber from there. There is a working pay phone near the first set of restrooms or you can ask for assistance from park personnel. In other reviews, the hikers indicated that their Uber driver never showed up to pick them up (which makes sense) so you probably shouldn’t count on that as a means to get back. We rented a car for just one day to drive there and it was very reasonable ($35 for the whole day) and it gave us the opportunity to visit Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge on the way back. We were also really glad we did not take a tour bus as you’re stuck with a limited walk in the park and with lots of others. We really enjoyed the tranquility and time we spent at Muir Woods.
- There are nice unisex rest rooms at Camp Eastwood (however no soap or paper towels to dry your hands), as well as in regular restrooms in the parking lot (you pass by it when you first arrive) and to the left of the larger gift shop. Speaking of the main gift shop, it is one of the best I’ve seen in a national park — lots of unique items. I like to collect Christmas ornaments from our trips and they had a very large selection. The first gift shop is more informational and is where you buy your tickets. The second one is the one with the ornaments. They also have a nice restaurant next to the main gift shop. The food sounded really good but we drove into Sausalito to eat.
- You can buy a map in the first gift shop for $1 that provides a lot more information on the park and the hikes than the brochure you’re given when you buy your tickets.
- You can buy a National Parks Pass for $80 for a year or pay $10 per adult. We ended up doing the $10 each since our youngest son was free (he’s 15). If you plan to visit a lot of parks in the next year, you may want to consider buying a pass instead when you buy your tickets (they sell them at the park).
- We had planned to drive by Muir Beach when we left the park. We followed the signs and went right. After driving on many windy roads and some pretty bare areas, we ended up missing it completely and found ourselves back in town. I think we got really close but missed a sign. I think there was a turnoff near the Pelican business. Either way, if you plan to go the Muir Beach, be sure to clarify the directions with a park ranger first (since there is no cell service up there).

5  Thank Brenda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 April 2018 via mobile

Really gorgeous. We just walked one of the shorter trails because we were there with a tour group and didn’t have a ton of time to stay, but I would definitely recommend visiting and walking at least one of the trails. You can go on a really short walking trail or a longer one, they have several different options to choose from.

Thank brookemauch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2018 via mobile

Muir Woods is one of the places you have to do if you’re in the area. The trees are so unique and historic. The hiking is all very doable with different kids of trails all over the place. Cafe there is not bad either.

Thank Tom R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2018

Took a shuttle excursion, which we recommend due to the winding roads to get there. If you are a nature buff you will love exploring this place. So peaceful and beautiful.

Thank Shelia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 3 April 2018 via mobile

A quick 45 mins out of San Francisco gets you to the closest Sequoia Forest. Great hiking trails for every level and time table. Plan to stay all day or just a quick 1/2 hike on your way out of town. Parking restrictions apply so check the official park website to reserve a spot. We parked in a remote lot and took their shuttle in and it was very easy and efficient.

Thank meganite2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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