When is it the the best time to visit Muir Woods?
Alright, any good place is easily ruined by the tourists and this is exactly what happened to Muir Woods in Marin County. We were lucky to get into the park (while we were on our way to the Stinson Beach), however many people who’d like to see the national monument can’t even make it to the entrance! Here we discuss strategies on how to figure out the Best time to visit Muir Woods.
Since 2018, you’ll have to make a reservation to visit Muir Woods. This must be done in advance on the National Park Service website. Apparently you can not simply drive up to the woods any longer! There has been rumors that you can even get your car towed!!!
Note: There’s no cell Phone Service or Internet what so ever !!!
Tip #1: Before 2018 parking was limited to 2 tiny parking lots. You’d have to come before 8:00 am (park opening time). Now however you need a reservation!
Tip #2: A convenient bus shuttle crevice is available to take you to Muir woods from Sausalito. (combine your trip to the woods with Bay Area Discovery Museum trip) You’ve got 3 locations to choose from. Cost of the shuttle is about $5 for kids $7 for adults so totally worth it!
Address for Muir Woods National Monument
1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 9494
AGAIN! Don’t try to simply drive up to Muir Woods !
Since 2018, you must make a reservation to visit Muir Woods. Do it prior to visiting, since you wont have cell-service or internet in Marin, once you cross the Golden Gate bridge!
John Muir Woods short history reference.
Named after John Muir – here’s a quick reference from Qwiki on of how the place got its name :
On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. The original suggested name of the monument was the Kent Monument but Kent insisted the monument be named after naturalist John Muir, whose environmental campaigns helped to establish the National Park system.
A little bit about John of the Mountains
John Muir (/mjʊər/; April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) also known as “John of the Mountains” and “Father of the National Parks”,= was an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books describing his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada, have been read by millions. His activism has helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and many other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he co-founded, is a prominent American conservation organization.
After Checking out this spot we made a conclusion that it’s almost impossible to enjoy this place on the weekend. Therefore the best time to visit Muir Woods would be during the weekday in the morning. The traffic will be flowing opposite direction since everyone will be trying to get into the city. There should be plenty of parking as well at the location.
Warning: you will have to be there at 8 AM on a weekend if you’d like to find a parking spot. On the way back we saw the line of cars stretching for a mile waiting for a spot (+ once you’re in line it’s very hard to get out of it). Thus the best time to visit Muir Woods is only, I mean ONLY during the weekday.
This is another “walk-in-a-park” type of place rather than hiking ground. Perhaps having different expectations would’ve made this hike more enjoyable, but for price/person it wasn’t as gratifying. Btw check the info twice the park might actually be free and it is donation based since there was absolutely no one checking the “tickets” after we purchased them…. just sayin’
Visit Muir Woods with kids
This place is ideal for people with small children, grandparents and TOURISTS. From the looks of it somehow it made its way to the list of simply being popular (for no particular reason), besides the historical twist of how this place came to be the “Muir Woods.” This article presents some info on park’s origin.
When you plan to visit Muir woods with kids, be prepared for a potential traffic jam. Of course bring all your food and entertainment with you, and don’t forget a bit of patience. The road to the woods is twisted and convoluted. Thus there’s a good chance that your little one will fall asleep on the way to the national monument
Overall, it’s probably not a bad place to visit on a week day, or take your grandma for a walk. On the positive note though, you can use it as a starting point to hike all the way to Stinson Beach! Seriously you can walk all the way to the beach in just a couple of hours. See you on the trails!
If you weren’t luck enough to enjoy the park there are several other redwood forests you can visit while in Northern California. Here’s an official site with locations.
Besides the Muir woods in Marin county, we’d like to recommend several other cool spots while driving up north to Mendocino. Located about 30-40 min away (depending on the traffic) is the Stinson Beach by the Pacific Ocean. A little further on the PCH (45 min drive) you will have a chance to take some awesome shots at the Point Reyes cypress tree tunnel. Check out Tomales Bay Oyster Company for some fresh seafood or drive a little further to Marshall for Hog island oysters.
I’d recommend to hang out at the Point Reyes Station – a little town on PCH, however every time we’ve been to the area it seemed overcrowded and not ideal to hang out at with little kids. Perhaps you’ll have better luck.
In case you’ll be driving back from the Muir woods to the city make sure to stop by Bay area discovery museum in Sausolito. Also known as the best playground for kids in the bay area with the view of the Golden Gate bridge.