Muir Woods


California is famous for its redwood trees.  Until you’ve experienced them in person, however, you cannot fully appreciate how incredible they really are.  This Summer, as part of our Summer of Fun adventure, hubs and I had a date day and went hiking in Muir Woods.  Muir Woods is located near Mt. Tam in Marin County, just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from the city.  The national park offers absolutely stunning views and is a gorgeous hike.  The Main Trail in the park is pretty easy and is generally pretty packed with tourists and cameras.  It is a really amazing place where you can soak up nature’s peacefulness and beauty.

On the Main Trail, you’ll find Cathedral Grove, which is a grove of redwood trees where the first United Nations conference was held in 1945.  You’ll also find the Bohemian Grove, where the Bohemian Club – a secretive men’s art club – first officially met in 1872.  The club has since transferred its gathering venue from Muir Woods to privately owned land, but still hosts a two week, three weekend camp for some of the world’s most powerful and richest men.

After hiking the Main Trail and Hillside Trail, we headed out past the parking  lot to the Dipsea Trail.  Now, THIS trail is challenging.  It stretches 7 miles to Stinson Beach and has some a decent climb involved.  We didn’t walk more than a mile or two on it since we were short on time, but it was a great workout none the less!  After Muir Woods, we drove over to Tiburon to hit Sam’s Anchor Cafe.  (Another highly recommend!)  We enjoyed cold beer and seafood overlooking the Bay, Alcatraz and the San Francisco skyline on a sunny day.  It was the perfect end to our day of hiking!

Now for the practical info… There are plenty of paved trails in the woods that could accommodate strollers and the first mile of the main walk is flat and the path is wide, so isn’t physically challenging and makes for a nice stroll.  If you’re looking for an easy walk or have a stroller with you, you could turn around at the end of the main trail and head back that way.  If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, though, I highly recommend the Hillside Trail for the way back because it is raised from the valley floor and offers a different (and pretty!) perspective.  The entire trail is about 2 miles and only climbs 120 feet.  If you come to Muir Woods, plan for a LOT of walking, though, and dress accordingly.  I suggest running or trail shoes and dressing in layers.  The hike can be a little chilly to start off (this is coastal California, after all!) but once you get warmed up, you may want to shed a few layers.  And you should absolutely bring a camera!  There are so many lovely vistas you’ll want to capture.  Be warned that you may end up parking a mile or two from the park entrance because a. the parking lot is TINY and fills up quickly and b. this place gets really crowded since its so popular, so you could have to park pretty far away.  (Don’t worry, it’s still a nice walk in the forest!)  If you can manage going on a weekday or at non-peak touristy times, that would definitely help, but if not, just wake up early and hit the trails!  Check out the national park website here for more info in planning your visit.  Below are a few photos from our day hike!

Have a favorite redwoods hike of your own?  Tell us in the comments below!