People do not just visit Muir Woods. They come from around the globe to pay homage to nature in this cathedral of redwoods. The trees' ages range from 400 to 800 years, their height up to 250 feet. Flat easy trails loop through the groves. Muir Woods National Monument was established on January 9, 1908 when President Roosevelt signed legislation to protect an old-growth coast redwood forest from destruction.
In the light gaps beneath the redwood trees are red alders, California big leaf maples, tanoaks, and Douglas fir. The forest floor is covered in redwood sorrel, ferns, fungi, duff, and debris. Several bridges cross Redwood Creek, which flows through the park year-round. Wildlife residents include the endangered coho salmon fingerlings, Pacific wren, woodpeckers, owls, deer, chipmunks, skunks, river otters, and squirrels to name a few.
Public Transportation is the best way to get to Muir Woods.
On-site parking is very limited. Ride the Muir Woods Shuttle and leave the hassles of traffic and parking to us. The shuttle runs on weekends and holidays, from March 29–Oct. 27. It’s only $5 round-trip and FREE for youth ages 15 and under. Catch the bus at the Pohono Street lot, the Marin City Transit Hub, or the Sausalito Ferry Terminal.
Public Transportation is the best way to get to Muir Woods. On-site parking is very limited. The Muir Woods Shuttle operates on weekends and holidays only during the peak visitation months of May, June, July, August, September and October. Service will begin for the season on Saturday, April 4, 2015. For details, visit Muir Woods Shuttle.
- Pohono to Muir Woods: Every 20 min, 9:05 am to 5:05 pm
- Muir Woods to Pohono: every 20 min, 11 am to 7:20 pm
- Sausalito/Marin City to Muir Woods: Every 60 min, 10:30 am to 3:00 pm
- Muir Woods to Sausalito/Marin City: Every 60 min, 12:15 am to 5:50 pm
For more information, visit Muir Woods Shuttle.
- The Visitor Center at the Muir Woods entrance has exhibits and a vast selection of literature and information on Muir Woods. A cafe and gift shop is also located near the park entrance.
- An entrance fee of $7 must be paid by visitors 16 years and older.
- Many of the canyon floor trails are boardwalks and paved trails, making the paths wheelchair accessible.
- There are two parking lots at Muir Woods and they fill quickly. You can also park along the roadside shoulder below the park. The best time to visit is weekdays, and early or late on weekend days. Typically, summer weekends are very crowded.
The Redwood Creek provides a critical spawning and rearing habitat for several threatened species—coho or silver salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), coastal cutthroat (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki), and steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The spawning migrations begin after a heavy late fall or winter rains breach the sandbar at Muir Beach allowing fish to move upstream. The restoration at Muir Beach is directly linked to declining salmon runs and a huge effort is being made to create a functional, self-sustaining ecosystem in the watershed.
You can watch the spawning rituals of salmon from the footbridges that cross the creek at intervals among redwoods.
Muir Woods is home to the Northern Spotted Owl and over 50 species of birds. This relatively low number is due to the lack of insects. The tannin in the trees repel insects, and the volume of flowers and fruits produced by plants below the canopy is limited by the shade of the redwoods.
Northern California has a Mediterranean climate: wet winters and dry summers. A third of the total moisture available to local plants—including the towering redwoods—is produced by fog drip, a phenomenon in which fog droplets condense on the leaves of trees and coastal scrub.
Saving Muir Woods
During the Gold Rush local forests were decimated to accommodate the burgeoning city of San Francisco. Marin County conservationist and politician William Kent bought the canyon in 1905 to save the redwoods. However, two years later a local water company sued Kent to condemn the canyon for a reservoir, when Kent asked President Roosevelt for help in declaring Muir Woods a national monument in 1908. At Kent’s special request, the forest was named after John Muir—the renowned conservationist who founded the Sierra Club.
Muir Woods National Monument
Operating Hours & Seasons
Park Hours: 8 am-8 pm, including holidays. Visitor Center Hours: 9 am-7:30 pm.
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