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Giant redwoods at Muir Woods [hiking]

  • San Francisco, California, United States of America (USA)

Last updated: 28 April, 2024

Part of California’s 82,116 acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area (which also includes Alcatraz and San Francisco’s Presidio), 558-acre Muir Woods is a forest of towering old-growth Redwood trees, some more than 150 years old.

Named after John Muir, ‘Father of the National Parks’, this Endor-like landscape became the country’s 10th national monument in 1908, and the first one to be created solely from land donated by an individual – in this case congressman William Kent.

Here you can stroll among giants in the forest’s Cathedral and Bohemian groves, where you can actually reach out and touch some of these ancient behemoths.

Outstanding walking trails and hiking paths wind through the forest. Trails range from an easy 0.8-mile Main Trail that follows along the park’s Redwood Creek (stroller and wheelchair accessible), to the Dipsea Trail, a strenuous 16.1 km out-and-back hike that climbs through redwood forest and offers sweeping views of the Pacific before descending onto its shores at Stinson Beach.

There’s plenty of wildlife too. Look out for black-tailed deer, bobcats and banana slugs.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

It’s located on a remote section of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, just north of San Francisco.

Many come by bicycle (though the roads are steep, narrow and winding and for serious cyclists only) or via car, a scenic 27km drive from the city. The latter requires an advanced parking reservation.

Another option is to access the monument via shuttle. Round-trip shuttles depart from Larkspur Landing in Marin County’s Larkspur on weekends as well as downtown Sausalito daily. Reservations for a specific departure time are required with each.

Maps of Muir Woods and its hiking trails are available to download on its National Park Service website, or you can also pick one up at the visitor centre. The centre also has informative displays and exhibits about old-growth coastal redwoods – worth a look before exploring.

There’s a small café at the entrance selling sandwiches and drinks.

When to do it

Muir Woods is open all year round, seven days a week. Midweek, early mornings and late afternoons tend to be less crowded overall.

To get away from the crowds, access one of the longer hiking trails like the Dipsea or the Ben Johnson trail and start climbing. You’ll find relative solitude in no time.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • San Francisco

Take time out from San Francisco on a half-day trip to Muir Woods National Park and Sausalito. This enthralling half-day trip takes you across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Area's most popular National Park Monument to experience the magnificent views of the Giant redwoods during a 90' stop (entrance fee included). Next, visit the beautiful coastal town of Sausalito, a gorgeous Mediterranean-style village with quaint shops and waterfront restaurants. If a one-hour stop in Sausalito isn't enough for you, you can extend your stay by upgrading your tour to include the Sausalito ferry back to San Francisco. If you decide to come back by bus and are looking for possibilities to complete your other half-day, we offer you an upgraded option to save money, which includes a 4h Bike rental package from our partner Unlimited Biking (757 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94109). Fall in love with all San Francisco has to offer as you pedal around and explore the area at your own pace.

Price $89

Min age 0

Rating 4.39 / 5 [4294 ratings]

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  • San Francisco

Be doubly delighted in this award-winning combo tour by a morning stroll through an ancient redwood forest and an afternoon of exclusive winery experiences in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Relax and enjoy spirited education and demonstrations by winemakers It’s the only Woods & Wine tour to include all wine tasting fees. Guaranteed departures 365 days a year, all age groups welcome. The tour offers the option of taking your Wine Country and Redwoods Tour experience to the next level by indulging in an exclusive three-course food experience on historic Sonoma plaza.

Price $179

Min age 0

Rating 4.59 / 5 [3141 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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  • San Francisco

You get to see everything in one day! All the main sites in San Francisco, a lunch break in Sausalito, and a walk around Muir Woods. If you have selected the Alcatraz option, you will take a ferry ride to Alcatraz Island in the afternoon for the Official Alcatraz Tour. 8am – Depart Fisherman’s Wharf 8-9:30am – Explore San Francisco’s BEST neighborhoods! You will be treated to entertaining stories about the neighborhoods and several photo stops. 9:30-11am – Explore Muir Woods You will have 75 minutes among some of the last remaining coastal redwoods in the world! 11am-12pm – Lunch in Sausalito Enjoy lunch in the quaint town of Sausalito where you can shop and explore! 1:30pm - If you have selected the Alcatraz option, you will be dropped off at Pier 33 for the Official Alcatraz Tour! For those not going to Alcatraz, you will be dropped off at the same location as your meeting point.

Price $109

Min age 0

Rating 4.84 / 5 [841 ratings]

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  • San Francisco

This San Francisco tour is our most popular and top-rated because you get to see our beautiful City by the Bay with a friendly, local guide. 8:00AM – Depart Fisherman’s Wharf 8:00AM -9:30AM – Explore San Francisco’s BEST neighborhoods! During this time, you are treated to entertaining stories about the neighborhoods, including several photo stops. 9:30AM - 11:00AM – Explore Muir Woods After a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge north of San Francisco, you will have over an hour to walk amongst some of the last remaining coastal redwoods in the world! 11:00AM - 12:00PM – Lunch in Sausalito Enjoy a scenic lunch in the quaint town of Sausalito where you can shop, explore, and capture views of San Francisco across the Bay. 1:30PM - Return to Fisherman’s Wharf We return at the same location we started for you to enjoy the rest of your day!

Price $109

Min age 0

Rating 4.92 / 5 [625 ratings]

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  • San Francisco

Venture north over the Golden Gate Bridge to an isolated canyon filled with ancient coastal redwood trees, also known as Muir Woods National Monument. Enjoy solitude and peace, through the cool, moist air, as you stroll through 1000-year-old trees towering 260 feet tall. Easy booking - No additional entrance fees are required at Muir Woods, price of activity includes entrance ticket!

Price $94

Min age 4

Rating 4.54 / 5 [488 ratings]

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