Muir Woods: Giant Sequoias Next to San Francisco

 

Looking for a green spot close to San Francisco? Muir Woods is a great option for those looking for some fresh air in the midst of nature, close to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

GETTING TO KNOW THE MUIR WOODS PARK

Muir Woods is a small national park 12 miles north of San Francisco that belongs to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The park is a protected area for the few giant sequoias that are close to the San Francisco Bay Area. The park receives up to 6,000 visitors a day during its peak months (April to October). Parking spaces are few and there are plans to reduce them in 2017 and possibly eliminate them in 2022.

SAVINGS TIP: ACTIVITY CARDS

San Francisco is not a cheap city. If you intend to visit several attractions that have paid admission, the tip is to purchase one of the activity cards that include tickets to several attractions at a price well below that if you were to buy them individually at the box office. Discover 7 of the main options:

GO SAN FRANCISCO CARDThis card saves you up to 60% on 28 of the city's top attractions and tours, including the hop-on hop-off bus! You even have discounts and special offers in stores and restaurants! The card is available in 1, 2, 3 or 5 day versions. Price: from US$ 78

SAN FRANCISCO CITYPASSThis pass includes tickets to famous attractions and lots of discounts! The pass includes: 3 days unlimited transport by Cable Car and Muni, admission to the California Academy of Sciences, admission to a boat cruise across the bay, access to the San Francisco Aquarium and admission to either the Exploratorium or the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Price: from US$ 94

SAN FRANCISCO MEGA PASSThis pass includes 3, 4 or 5 options from over 20 tours and attractions in San Francisco. It is valid for 7 days and gives you the freedom to create your own itinerary. Price: from US$ 79.99

THE SAN FRANCISCO SEIGHTSEEING PASSChoose 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 attractions and visit them at your own pace over a period of 30 days. There are more than 20 attractions to choose from! Price: from US$ 54

SAN FRANCISCO FISHERMAN'S WHARF PASSAdmission to 5 iconic attractions in the Fisherman's Wharf area, including the Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, 7D Experience, The San Francisco Dungeon and a Bay Cruise. Price: from US$ 90

IVENTURE CARDTake must-see tours, see attractions and enjoy San Francisco day cruises for a much lower price! The card includes a 48-hour Hop-On Hop-Off ticket and 2 or 4 attractions to choose from. Check details in versions of 3 days or 5 days. Price: from US$ 65

PIER 39 ATTRACTION PASSThe pass includes admission to the Aquarium, Bay Cruise, 7D Experience, 48-hour Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket, Magowan Infinite Mirror Labyrinth admission, and Pier 39 discounts and coupons. Price: from US$ 90.95

Read more: California: What to do in San Francisco – 5-Day Itinerary

 

THE SEQUOIAS OF MUIR WOODS

The main attraction of Muir Woods is its redwoods. They are known for their height, and are related to the giant sequoias of the Sierra Nevada region. While giant sequoias can grow to about 115 m, the tallest tree in Muir Woods is 79 m. Most Muir Woods redwoods are between 500 and 800 years old. The oldest tree found at the site is at least 1,200 years old.

Muir Woods: Giant Sequoias Next to San Francisco
Redwoods in Muir Woods. Photo: park's official website

Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a layer of dense fog that comes in from the coast, contributing to a humid environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. Fog is also vital for the growth of redwoods, as they use moisture from the fog during dry seasons, particularly summer. The place is cool and humid throughout the year (temperatures vary between 4ºC and 21ºC), with heavy rains during the winter.

Muir Woods: Giant Sequoias Next to San Francisco
Sequoias. Photo: publicity

Cinematic Trivia: Scenes from the movie “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” (1983) were filmed in Muir Woods. Although the films “Planet of the Apes: Inception” (2011) and “Planet of the Apes: The Confrontation” (2014) suggest scenes that would be in Muir Woods (due to the proximity to the city of San Francisco), they were filmed in Canada.

WHAT TO DO IN MUIR WOODS

The main activity at Muir Woods is hike through the woods to admire the sequoias and local vegetation. It is possible to do trails on foot, by bicycle, or on horseback, many of which are paved, allowing access also through wheelchairs. To check the trail map, visit this link. The park is very small and there are no camping areas and it is not allowed to take animals or have picnics on the park's premises. Inside the park there is a Visitor Center with permanent exhibitions and some news that change periodically. Furthermore, there is also a Coffee and Gift Shop.

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SUGGESTION: COMBINE WITH OTHER TOURS

Take advantage of your trip to Muir Woods Park to get to know a little more about the region that is north of San Francisco. We have separated 3 suggestions that are on the map below to facilitate the location:

MAP

Sausalito

Take advantage of the fact that you are on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge to enjoy the beautiful view of the bay from the city of Sausalito, which has delicious restaurants and some interesting attractions.

Read more: Across the Golden Gate Bridge: Sausalito

Muir Beach & Stinson Beach

Muir Woods is close to the coast and that means beach! It is possible to visit the beaches of Muir Beach and Stinson Beach which are close to the park.

  • Muir Beach: Muir Beach is a beach with a long stretch of sand. There, it is possible to see birds in an impressive scenery of cliffs and very strong waves. For more information about Muir Beach, see this explanatory leaflet about the location.
  • Stinson Beach: It is a beach that is around 5 km long, formed by white sand. The beach is considered very good for fishing, but not recommended for swimming, as there is a current and the waves break very strong. the area of Stinson Beach It has a great structure with restrooms, showers, picnic areas and grills. A snack bar is open during the summer months at the base of the main lifeguard tower.

A suggestion is lunch at Stinson Beach at the The Siren Canteen, close to the beach that serves tacos, crepes, hamburgers, fish and chips.

  • Address: 3201 Highway 1, Stinson Beach, CA 94970
  • Schedules: from 11 am to 6 pm (until 5 pm in winter)
Muir Woods: Giant Sequoias Next to San Francisco
Stinson Beach. Photo: official website nps.gov

Point Reyes

Point Reyes It is a peninsula that is approximately 50km north of San Francisco that is home to a beautiful park with many trails. The high point of the place is a beautiful lighthouse, opened in 1870, which is on the tip of the peninsula and offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Point Reyes is considered the windiest place on the Pacific coast and the second haziest place in North America. In the park it is possible to see antelopes and marine animals.

Muir Woods: Giant Sequoias Next to San Francisco
Lighthouse at Point Reyes

EXCURSIONS FROM SAN FRANCISCO

For those without a car, there are some tour options from San Francisco to Muir Woods that are worth considering:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Muir Woods National Monument

  • Address: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941
  • Schedules: opens daily at 8 am and closing time varies between 5 pm and 8 pm depending on the time of year (see in this link)
  • Entrance: US$ 7 (as of January 2016 – US$ 10). The Annual Pass is valid in the park (see more information here)
  • Climate: from late October to early May there is a high probability of rain in the region

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Viajonários is formed by a Brazilian couple who have been living abroad since 2014, with passages in California and London. Passionate about travel, cinema, sports, music, history and technology. Don't forget to follow the social media to know about all the adventures!

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