Friday, February 20, 2015

A day at Muir Woods

After our recent experience at the Redwood Regional Park, we had an itching for another hike in the Redwoods. This time we headed over to Muir Woods to enjoy one of their free admission days! Since it was a holiday weekend AND free admission, we planned to arrive as early as possible (the park officially opens at 8am). We managed to get there by 8:45 and were able to find a spot in the overflow lot (just pass the main entrance).

My dad was kind enough to bring us some scones from Rustic Bakery, which is a great place to stop if you are passing through Larkspur on your way to Muir Woods. The berry scone was so yummy I forgot to take a picture before my first couple of bites!

From the main entrance, you will find yourself on the Redwood Loop, which is a wide path of either dirt or wooden boardwalks that runs along Redwood Creek. There are bridges that cross over the creek at regular intervals, allowing you to take a big or short loop through the Redwoods.

Most of the trees in Muir Woods are between 500 and 800 years old, with the oldest being 1200 years old!
Stairs leading to the Ocean View trail. Maybe next time!

We walked along the main path for about a mile until we reached Bridge 4. At this point we crossed over the creek and hiked a short distance up the hill to the Bohemian Grove Trail. This trail led us along the the hillside, giving us a beautiful perspective of the towering trees and the Redwood Loop below.

Views from the Bohemian Grove Trail.

Fires can hollow out a Redwood, burning a cave in the trunk of the living tree. The last forest fire in Muir Woods was over 160 years ago! Amazing how the trees continue to stand.
Redwood Creek
 After our hike (which took about 2 hours), we got back in the car and took the short 3 mile drive to the Muir Beach Overlook. This is a great place for a picnic (which I suggest you plan ahead for, because the food options are slim when you get out into the woods!). We settled down for some snacks and then took the very short hike down the path that leads to the Muir Beach Overlook. The views were amazing and reminded me just how lucky we are to have such beautiful coastline so close to home. 

Not a bad view for a picnic!
View from the top of the trailhead.
Does it get much better than this? We could see all the way to San Francisco!

From the Muir Beach Outlook, there are number of great options if you want to continue exploring the area. Stinson Beach is about 5 miles down the road and has a handful of restaurants and shops to look through, as well as a beautiful beach to relax on (see my post on Stinson Beach here). Also down the road is Muir Beach, which is walking distance to the Pelican Inn, where you can enjoy a cold beer and some British pub food.

What are your favorite kid-friendly hikes in Marin?

The details: Muir woods is about an hours drive from Berkeley. Admission is normally $7 for adults and kids 15 years and younger are free. There are a handful of free admission days as well. Make sure to get to the park as early as possible (before 9am) in order to get parking and avoid the crowds. The main Redwood Loop is great for kids and stroller friendly, while the paths that lead into the hillside are not accessible by stroller and you might need to carry young kids on portions. Muir Beach Overlook is free! To get to the outlook, make a RIGHT turn as you exit the Muir Woods parking lot and it will lead you to the Pelican Inn and Muir Beach. Turn RIGHT again at the Pelican Inn if you want to go to Muir Beach Overlook.

The facts: Gas/Toll: $10, Admission to Muir Woods: Free Admission Day!, Food: we brought our own food, but there are some affordable options in nearby Stinson Beach (see post here) like The Lunch Box


  1. Fascinating post and beautiful photos. Thank you so much for sharing this tour. Alcatraz has always fascinated.I appreciate your effort. Please check out my here San Francisco muir woods tour

    1. Thanks, Frank! I appreciate the comment. Alcatraz is definitely on our list to do someday.

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