A trip through the Muir Woods National Monument is a walk through ancient history, and you can smell and taste the yesteryears on the dew of the beautiful flora and the fog in the air; although it must be noted that it’s not strictly advised to go around licking everything in sight, so don’t take this too literally. The monument is populated by giant old-growth redwoods and you can see them cooling their ancient roots in the Redwood Creek, while the grand tops of these natural skyscrapers pierce the sky to reach for the sun.
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The monument is a National Monument and has been federally protected since 1908. Over the course of its lifespan, this primaeval forest has acted as both a refuge and a scientific wonder and it has opened our eyes to the relationship that man and every other creature have with the living landscape. Its longevity is a testament to the grandeur scale of the natural world, while the minuscule lifespan of humans pales in comparison to that of the trees that live and breathe in this forest. It’s hard not to be incredibly humbled and drawn into a meditative state of reflection as you wander through the many trails, hikes, and paths that wind through the woods.
One of the things to note before you pack your rucksack and head to the park is that parking at the site is very limited, and so unless you arrive incredibly early you may want to make other arrangements. On-site facilities include a gift shop and visitor centre, and the park offers scheduled tours and guided walks that can be arranged through the visitor centre. The park has zero cell phone coverage and so expects to truly commune with nature without the companionship of social media or anyone not in your immediate party.
Operating Hours and Seasons
Muir Woods Park is open 365 days a year. Admission is free to all and no reservation is required. The opening hours are dependent on the season and the hours of sunlight, so it changes throughout the seasons. From November 6th to January 28th, Muir Woods is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm; it’s 8:00am to 6:00pm from January 29th to March 11th. From March 12th to September 16th, the woods are open from 8:00am to 8:00pm and from September 17th to October 7th they open from 8:00am until 7:00pm. As the sunset gets earlier, so does the park closing and from October 8th to November 4th it is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm and then from November 5th to January 27th they open from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
The Muir Woods Visitor Center closes 30 minutes before the woods themselves, while the Trading Company Gift Shop and the cafe close one hour before the woods. Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, and the Muir Beach Overlook close one hour after sunset.
These times are seasonal and subject to change and it’s best to visit the website for the most up-to-date information.
Muir Woods National Monument, 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, Phone: 415-388-2595