Muir Woods is a short drive (12 miles) north from San Francisco and is a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This National Monument is known for its forests filled with coastal redwood trees, some of the biggest trees in the world. The area is often blanketed in fog which adds a mysterious atmosphere to any visit, and also helps the redwoods survive in the drier summer months. In May 1945, Muir Woods was host to a very special international event. United Nations delegates meeting in San Francisco traveled to Muir Woods to honor the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a special memorial in a grove of redwood trees. Please visit the United Nations Memorial Service for President Roosevelt at Muir Woods page for more information. 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.
The beginning of the trail was a little hard to find since the entrance at the parking lot is shut down due to the rain storms. This trail has everything you would look for, beautiful redwoods, waterfalls, open valley, and ending at Stinson beach is a nice reward. Overall it was about 10 miles because of the slight detour. Be prepared for mud (at the moment)! Well worth the run.
Excellent hike. I prefer to do the uphill portion of a hike first and then finish with the easier downhill portion. Enter Muir Woods and take the loop clockwise - Hillside Trail up and Bootjack back down. Go early and the trail is empty, go late and it's crowded. I started at 8:00 a.m.
We did part of this trail and part of the Redwood trail, which ultimately led us to Muir Woods beach. First, we can start with parking; it was difficult to say the least. All of the lots were "full" and finding parking on the side of the road was tough.
Once we were able to find a spot, we walked to the Vistor's Center. I recommend starting here. There are restrooms and you can buy a map for $1 if needed (we found it to be very helpful).
As for the trail itself it was so so. I was surprised there were not more trail markers for such a popular place. The terrain was a little rocky, which made it a good challenge. What really made the whole hike worth it though was the beach itself. That was beautiful. The grass was lush green on the hills, the water had great waves, and the sky was pure blue. We spent about 45 minutes just sitting there.
All in all, even though the trail itself was so so, the end makes it absolutely worth the time and effort.
Great "trail" for small kids or even a baby on a stroller... Also perfect for out-of-towners that wish to simply have a taste of "Muir Woods". You get majestic redwood forests from the relaxing convenience of a maintained boardwalk... Expect lots of tourists and little parking space. Due to the dense canopy, sun barely gets in... good for summer time!
Did this trail today! Absolutely beautiful. However, the trail over the ridge was definitely intended to be closed although we followed it. Slightly sketchy after all of the rain we have had recently. A few friends weren't fond of this part of the trail. This is easy to avoid if you fork left on the main trail instead of right over the ridge. Once we exited the ridge we saw "no hiking" signs.
Amazing trail! My first solo hike, I did 12.8 miles. The trails were easy to follow at most points and beautiful views that range from forestry to meadow views to costal and in between. I will definitely be back to explore this area more.