Trip Date 08/26/2017
Posted On 06/08/2018 16:00:31
Destinations | Hiking | California | San Francisco | Sausalito | Muir Woods | Redwood Trees | Outdoor Travel
Prior to our visits to San Francisco in each of the previous three years we contemplated a trip to Muir Woods and finally made that visit a reality during our visit this summer.
If you live in or are visiting San Francisco, enjoy nature and hiking, and have the better part of a day available, consider a visit to Muir Woods. The total cost for a full day visit is only $10.00 per person excluding fees for transportation and meals.
Public Transportation to Muir WoodsRelying on public transportation, we planned our morning around the timing of the first ferry (10:40 AM) that would transport us to Sausalito. After breakfast, we boarded the Muni Light Rail N and rode to the Metro Embarcadero Station. From there we walked to the Golden Gate Ferry terminal where we found the correct machine and easily purchased our one-way ($12.00 per person) ferry tickets. After about a 10 minute wait, we embarked and were soon off on our 30 minute journey across the bay.
We arrived right on time and followed the signs (and people) to Bus 66F, the Muir Woods Shuttle, for the 11:30 AM departure. A 45 minute bus ride took us along the steep and winding Shoreline Highway (Highway 1) to the Muir Woods Visitor Center.
Muir Woods National MonumentOur America the Beautiful Annual Pass waived the standard $10.00 admission fee to Muir Woods for all three of us, however we did pay the $5.00 per person fare for the round trip Muir Woods Shuttle. With our receipt safely stored in my purse to present to the shuttle bus driver for our return, we entered the park, reviewed the park map and planned our hiking for the next few hours.
A short walk on the boardwalked hiking trail brought us to Founders Grove where we paused to catch the tail end of a Ranger Talk to learn some of the history of the national monument.
Hiking in Muir WoodsJust past Founders Grove was the trailhead for the Canopy View Trail, an uphill hike on a nice dirt trail which led us into the canopy of the forest. The Redwood Trees were amazingly tall (the tallest in the forest was 250 feet tall and over 14 feet wide), with most of the mature trees being between 500 and 800 years old (some were over 1,000 years old).
We hiked along the Canopy View Trail until we reached the bridge, and since our time was limited, we reversed direction and returned to the main trail on the eastern side of Redwood Creek, the Redwood Creek Trail.
We followed the boardwalked main trail passing both Bridges 2 and 3, hiked around Cathedral Grove, and all the way up to Bridge 4.
After crossing Bridge 4, we walked uphill and joined the Hillside Trail, a dirt trail which allowed us to see the Redwood Creek Trail on which we had been walking - this time from above.
Although the Hillside Trail was not boardwalked, the dirt trail was well maintained, and we enjoyed a having a slightly different perspective as we hiked until we joined the main trail back at Bridge 2.
Although these trees were very tall, their shallow roots, which spread out almost 100 feet, penetrate only 10 to 13 feet below the soil.
The boardwalked main trail on the west side of Redwood Creek, the Bohemian Grove Trail, took us from Bridge 2, past the Bohemian Grove and back to Bridge 1.
In addition to the unknown mileage that we trekked on the Canopy View Trail, our hike on the loop trail out to Bridge 4 and back totaled about two miles. The combination of the trails that we hiked provided us with a great overview of Muir Woods and also gave us some not too strenuous exercise.
Public Transportation: Muir Woods to San FranciscoAfter exiting the park, we found our way to the shuttle bus stop where one bus was just pulling away, so we were first in line for the next bus which took us back to Sausalito where we roamed around and found dinner. We then had a choice to return to the city via another ferry or via Muni Bus 30. Since the city was mostly hidden by fog, we opted to save $9.50 each and return by bus.
Our day spent out in nature together with family and those huge beautiful trees that are only found along the California coast was a day well spent!
My Fitbit Saga . . . ContinuedAfter ten days of looking at my non-working Fitbit, it finally became clear to me that my poor drowned Fitbit companion is not going to come back to life. Until I buy a replacement, I decided to download the Moves app in an attempt to compare its accuracy with that of the Apple Health app. After a full day with both apps counting my steps, there was about a 1,000 step difference - but which was more accurate?
Tips for a Visit to Muir Woods National MonumentEffective January 2018, reservations will be required for both parking at and shuttle service to Muir Woods. Take a look below for information on reservations plus a few other tips for your visit:
- As there is NO cell or WiFi service available in the park, you will be unable to use your smartphone to make a phone call, plan transportation, request a ride, etc.
- If you plan to use public transportation to get to the national monument, review the timetables before heading to the park for each leg of your journey to determine your best departure and transfer options.
- The Muir Woods Shuttle provides daily service between mid-June and mid-August with holiday / weekend service offered year round. Reservations for the Muir Woods Shuttle ($3.00 per person in 2018 & 2019 and increasing thereafter) can be made online or via telephone (800-410-2419) up to 90 days prior to your visit.
- Reservations for Parking at Muir Woods ($8.00 per car in 2018 & 2019 and increasing thereafter) can also be made online or via telephone (800-410-2419) up to 90 days prior to your visit.
- On the day of your visit, bring a filled water bottle and some light snacks. While there is no picnic area in the park, you will appreciate having a granola bar, crackers or something of the sort if you get hungry while hiking - just make sure not to leave any litter in the park. There is a small cafe (Muir Woods Trading Company) near the entrance, visitor center and restrooms which offers items including sandwiches, salads, fruits, pastries and drinks.
- Upon entering Muir Woods, check the Ranger Schedule at the park entrance for a list of the times and locations of any 15-minute talks or guided one-hour tours offered on the day of your visit.
The San Francisco PresidioIf enjoying the outdoors is your thing, take a look at our post titled "Sunday in the Presidio" for an overview of our day which included a picnic lunch, hiking and a historic tour - all for the cost of our transportation and our food.
Day Trips from San FranciscoWhat destination would you recommend to someone who is looking for a day trip from San Francisco?
Total Health App steps today: 15,108
Total Moves App steps today: 14,156
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