San Francisco is a city that invites you to look up. In a city known for its impossibly steep streets, an iconic bridge, and photogenic cable cars, the opportunities for skywards gazing are endless.
Only a few miles away from this metropolitan melting pot, casting your eyes aloft puts you in a wholly different and majestic natural world — one of towering trees that have remained unchanged for centuries.
Welcome to the redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument.
Situated only 11 miles north of the city across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and beyond the neighbourhood of Sausalito, Muir Woods forms part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Trees of Muir Woods
Muir Woods is home to Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) trees, some of which are nearly an eye-popping 80 metres tall.
The Monument is named after John Muir, the Scottish-American naturalist who is often known as the “Father of the National Parks.”
The redwoods are unique to the Pacific coast of the USA, so bring your camera and join in with the popular pastime of looking up at their majestic beauty.
Gaze in wonder at the canopy, and imagine the things these trees have seen over their centuries-long lifetime. Most of the redwoods here are at least 500 years old, and the oldest dates back more than 1200 years.
Under the shadow of the redwoods you’ll also see other tree species, including the California Bay Laurel, the Bigleaf Maple and the Tanoak, all of which have evolved to survive a life of semi-shade underneath their towering more famous neighbours.
Hiking in Muir Woods
The six miles of trails in Muir Woods can be combined into a number of loops to make for fun and photo-tastic half day hikes. Choose from enticing names like the Bootjack Trail, the Sun Trail and the less-than-optimistic-sounding Lost Trail.
The main boardwalk trail is wheelchair-accessible.
For cycling, tracks run adjacent to the woods, through the wider Golden Gate National Recreation area.
Costs for Muir Woods
Muir Woods is run by the US National Park Service. Entrance fees for a day pass are $7 per person, which are waived on a handful of commemorate days throughout the year. A full list of these can be found on their website.
How to get to Muir Woods
The best way to reach Muir Woods is via private car, or you can also sign up on a tour.
The latter is particularly handy if you’ve opted to go sans car in public transport friendly San Francisco.
Hotels in San Francisco
With Muir Woods located only a few miles from San Francisco, it makes sense to base yourself in a San Francisco hotel.
And whilst you’re enjoying your stay in the beautiful ocean-side city and its’ surroundings… don’t forget to look up!This post was brought to you in conjunction with the #HipmunkCityLove project. All views are my own, and are based on my personal experience of visiting San Francisco and Muir Woods.