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8 Best Muir Woods Hiking Trails

Where to Hike in Muir Woods

Updated: September 19, 2023

If you’re planning to visit this beautiful national park and you want to find the best hikes Muir Woods has to offer, this post provides a list of the most notable trails.

8 Best Hiking Trails

There are 6 miles (10 km) of trails throughout Muir Woods National Monument, allowing visitors to choose from several different hiking routes.

A map of Muir Woods. Image source:

Provided by the National Parks Service, this map provides information about where to find each Muir Woods hiking trail.

This section will provide details about our recommendation for the best trails in Muir Woods.

Main Trail Loop

The Main Trail Loop is a 2-mile loop that takes hikers through the heart of the park.

This trail is suitable for all skill levels and offers a chance to see some of the largest redwoods in the park, including Cathedral Grove.

If you're looking for one of the easiest trails, this is the first one you'll see at the Muir Woods Visitor Center, so you'll be on it before you know it!

Ben Johnson Trail

The Ben Johnson Trail is a 5.5-mile loop that offers a more challenging hike through the forest.

This trail features several steep climbs and descents, as well as stunning views of the park and the surrounding mountains.

You can get here from the Main Trail by turning left at Bridge 2 and going up Hillside Trail.

Dipsea Trail

The Dipsea Trail is a 9.5-mile trail that begins in Muir Woods and ends at Stinson Beach.

You can hike this path all the way through the park, and it connects with the Ben Johnson Trail, the Coast View Trail, the Steep Ravine Trail, and more.

This trail is considered one of the most challenging hikes in the area, with steep climbs and descents and stunning ocean views.

Bootjack Trail

The Bootjack Trail is a 7.5-mile loop that begins in Muir Woods and takes hikers up to the peak of Mount Tamalpais.

This trail is best suited for experienced hikers, with steep climbs and rugged terrain.

You'll find this trail at the intersection of Bridge 4 and the Main Trail. As the name implies, this pathway will take you to the Bootjack Campgrounds, where you can camp for just $25.

Just one of the many trails you can expect to find in Muir Woods. Image source: Pixabay user Linnaea Mallette.
Just one of the many trails you can expect to find in Muir Woods. Image source: Pixabay user Linnaea Mallette.

Canopy View Trail

The Canopy View Trail is a short but steep hike that offers breathtaking views of the forest canopy.

This path starts at the Main Trail, forking to the right, and climbs uphill for about half a mile before reaching a lookout point.

From there, you can see the tops of some of the tallest trees in the park.

Muir Beach Overlook

The Muir Beach Overlook is a scenic hike that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Muir Beach area.

The trail starts at the Muir Beach Parking Lot and follows a paved path for about a mile before reaching the overlook.

From there, you can see the beach, the ocean, and the surrounding hills.

Cathedral Grove Trail

This easy 0.5-mile loop trail takes visitors through some of the oldest and tallest redwood trees in Muir Woods.

The trail is wheelchair accessible and is a great option for families with young children.

You'll find this pathway just past Bridge 3 on the Main Trail.

Hillside Trail

The next fork in the Main Trail after the Canopy View Trail is Bridge 2, and it leads to this path.

One of the nicest things about this trail is that it runs right alongside Bohemian Grove, one of the more beautiful parts of the park.

Hillside Trail runs parallel to the Redwood Creek and terminates at the Ben Johnson Trail.

Tips for Hiking in Muir Woods

  • Dress in layers as the weather can change quickly.
  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes with good traction.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks.
  • Pack out all trash and leave no trace.
  • Only service animals are allowed into the park on a leash.
  • Respect wildlife and keep a safe distance from animals.

How long does it take to hike Muir Woods?

The entire park would take quite a long time to traverse, but most trails take between 30-60 minutes, and some trails can take up to 5 hours to walk.

What is the most popular trail in Muir Woods?

The Main Trail is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs, and it begins right at the Visitor’s Center, so it’s arguably one of the easiest Muir Woods trails to find.

For these reasons and many more, this is the most popular trail at this national park.

The redwoods of Muir Woods. Image source: Pixabay user DecadeDefector.
The redwoods of Muir Woods. Image source: Pixabay user DecadeDefector.

Is it easy to hike in Muir Woods?

Most of the trails and walking paths in this park are flat surfaces that are relatively easy to walk.

Some are also wheelchair accessible, and you’ll see the giant redwood trees almost immediately, so you don’t even have to walk that far to enjoy the park!

What is the best time to hike Muir Woods?

It’s best to come when the weather is nice, so we recommend visiting between May - September.

Just make sure to check for wildfires or other potential issues before heading out!

What should you wear when hiking Muir Woods?

As you might have already guessed, hiking boots are probably a good option for footwear, but since the trails are well-maintained, sneakers will be fine for a lot of visitors. 

If you’re visiting when it’s hot, a t-shirt and shorts is definitely a good option, and layers are recommended. It’s also a good idea to bring a windbreaker or some other form of jacket just in case.

Temperatures range from 40-70 degrees on average.

Do you need reservations to hike in Muir Woods?

While you need reservations for parking at the national park, if you’re coming by tour bus or shuttle, you don’t need to make any other preparations to enjoy hiking in Muir Woods.

How much time should I spend at Muir Woods?

Most people will stay for at least 1-2 hours, but if you feel like seeing as much of the park as possible, set aside at least 3-4 hours.

Should I visit Muir Woods in the morning or afternoon? 

If you want to spend a lot of time at the park, a morning visit is definitely the way to go.

That said, if you’re only planning to spend a few hours here, an afternoon visit might make sense.

Muir Woods National Park is open daily from 8 am - 6 pm.

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: September 19th, 2023
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