This post provides details about some of the best things to see and do in Muir Woods, including details about hiking trails, camping, and other activities.
It includes directions on how to get there and information about various different forms of transportation you might want to consider.
9 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.
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 hiking 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.
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.
The Dipsea Trail is a 9.5-mile trail that begins in Muir Woods and ends at Stinson Beach.
This trail is considered one of the most challenging hikes in the area, with steep climbs and descents and stunning ocean views.
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.
Canopy View Trail
The Canopy View Trail is a short but steep hike that offers breathtaking views of the forest canopy.
The trail starts at the Main Trail 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 Woods Visitor Center 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.
Redwood Creek Trail
For a longer hike, try the 4-mile round-trip trail that follows Redwood Creek through the heart of Muir Woods.
The trail is relatively flat and is a great option for hikers looking for a more leisurely hike.
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.
- Respect wildlife and keep a safe distance from animals.
Where to Camp in Muir Woods
If you want to experience the natural beauty of Muir Woods up close and personal, camping is the perfect way to do it.
Although there is no camping permitted directly within the park, there are two nearby alternative camping locations for visitors that we will cover in this section.
Bootjack Campground is located on the north side of Mount Tamalpais, just a short drive from Muir Woods. It is a popular camping spot for families and groups of friends.
The campground features 49 sites, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Each site has a picnic table, a fire pit, and a grill.
There are restrooms and drinking water available, but there are no showers. The campground is open year-round, but it can get crowded during the summer months.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding in the nearby Mount Tamalpais State Park.
The fee for a campsite is $25.
Steep Ravine Campground (Mount Tamalpais)
Steep Ravine Campground is located on the east side of Muir Woods, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is a secluded camping spot that offers stunning views of the coast.
The campground features 9 sites, which are available by reservation only. Each site has a picnic table, a fire ring, and a food locker.
There are no showers or flush toilets, but there are vault toilets and drinking water available.
The campground is open year-round, but it can be challenging to reach during the rainy season.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and beachcombing in the nearby Mount Tamalpais State Park and Stinson Beach.
The fee for a campsite is $25. They also have cabins for $100 per night.
Tips for Camping at Muir Woods
If you plan to go camping near Muir Woods, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Make reservations early. Steep Ravine Campground is very popular and fills up quickly, so it's essential to book your site in advance.
- Bring warm clothing. The temperature can drop significantly at night, even during the summer months.
- Store your food properly. There are bears and other wildlife in the park, so it's crucial to store your food in a secure food locker.
- Leave no trace. Muir Woods is a protected natural area, so it's important to pack out everything you pack in and leave no trace of your visit.
Guided Tours of Muir Woods
Multiple reputable companies offer tours and/or day trips to Muir Woods from San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Although this can be a bit more costly than just taking the shuttle, there are a few good reasons to consider this option.
How to Get to Muir Woods
There are a few convenient ways to get here, including shuttle buses, public transportation, and of course just driving your car to the national park.
This section covers the best options, prices, and of course directions to Muir Woods.
Via Muir Woods Shuttle
This is the most common way people get to Muir Woods without a car (outside of taking a guided tour from San Francisco).
This is a seasonal shuttle that services Muir Woods National Monument.
The round-trip fare for adults is just $7 and free for guests aged 15 and under. (Be sure to make reservations).
There are 3 different shuttle stop locations from which visitors can take the shuttle, none of which are in San Francisco proper.
Most visitors to San Francisco will take the ferry to Sausalito, which costs $13 each way for passengers aged 5 to 64 (free otherwise).
- Marin City Hub (Donahue & Terners)
- Sausalito Ferry Terminal (Bay & Bridgeway)
- Pohono Street Park & Ride (100 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley CA)
Read our post on how to take the Muir Woods shuttle.
Via Public Transportation (without Muir Woods Shuttle)
As the Muir Woods Shuttle only operates seasonally, guests who hope to visit the forest via public transportation might find the trip to be rather long and confusing during the winter months.
The trip takes roughly 2 hours on public transportation from downtown San Francisco to Muir Woods National Monument.
Click here to see precise routes and timetables.
Driving and Parking
Visitors can also opt to drive to Muir Woods National Monument.
It is only about a 40-minute drive, however, can take much longer if traveling during heavy traffic.
You must make a reservation for parking.
Prices range from $9 - $12 for parking, so even if you want to drive there, it’s important to note that you will have to pay for this service.
At least these parking prices are better than almost any you’ll find in downtown San Francisco!
If all spots are reserved for your chosen date, you may want to look into taking the Muir Woods Shuttle or even a guided tour with one of the companies suggested below.
Via Guided Tour
Finally, guests can also visit the Muir Woods with a guided tour company that brings visitors directly into the heart of the park.
For more information about guided tours of the Muir Woods, please see the following section.
Important: Pets, bicycles, smoking, horseback riding, and camping are not permitted within the park. Food is not permitted in the forest.
While the shuttle is only available during certain times of the year, you can usually expect almost daily availability for day trips and tours of Muir Woods.
No matter when you want to visit, chances are there will be at least one tour company offering this kind of service.
Not only do most guided tours and day trips to Muir Woods include the cost of admission to the national park, some of them also offer pickup service from local hotels in San Francisco.
And they all cover transportation to and from the woods.
Learn About Muir Woods
Since you’re taking a tour of Muir Woods, you can expect to learn a lot about the history of this area and its wonderful natural beauty.
Your guide will likely know some of the best spots to visit and great locations for photo opportunities.
The only major downsides to this option are the prices ($75 and up) and the limited amount of time you will have to spend at Muir Woods.
That said, considering these tours often include hotel pick-up and drop-off, free admission to the park, transportation and more, the prices for these outings are actually quite reasonable.
Better yet, many guided tours to Muir Woods include stops in Sausalito, Napa, Sonoma, Alcatraz, and other notable locations near the Bay Area.
If you’re also interested in visiting these sites, this could be a good way to do it all in one day trip!
For more details about this option, check our post covering the best day trips and tours of Muir Woods.