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Hike: Muir Woods

See the Legendary “Big Trees” at Muir Woods National Monument

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Sausalito is extremely close to a national monument that most American citizens will never have the chance to see. The enormous old-growth redwood trees at Muir Woods National Monument will amaze, impress, and inspire you, and the hike to and through the area is one of the best in the region. A can’t miss opportunity for hikers in the Sausalito area, Muir Woods is a guaranteed hit!

Visiting Muir Woods National Monument

Visitors to the monument used to have to arrive by railcar or via a long hike in overland. They would make the more difficult trip out to this famous grove of redwoods despite the difficulty just to be amongst the impressive specimens and to experience the same wonder and appreciation that John Muir himself felt. In the present day Bay Area, visitors can arrive easily by car and/or shuttle bus and make a short walk from the parking areas to see some of the famous trees and experience the area. Many others opt for a hike through this part of Mt. Tamalpais State Park to get the “real experience” before heading through the famous redwood groves.

The Hike

Beginning near the staging area for Muir Woods, this hike will take the “long way around” before heading through the famed ancient groves and save the best and most impressive for last. Starting out at the parking area, head out on the Dipsea Trail and you will be traversing a pleasantly graded hillside through coastal brush and redwood with views that get better the higher up you get.

Look for the signed connector trail that will get you over to Ben Johnson Trail and turn right, bringing you back toward the parking area that you started from. After you have traveled about a mile, this trail will intersect with Camp Eastwood Trail and Bootjack Trail in a tangle of options for hikers. You’ll want to turn right again and head downhill into the famous groves of towering redwood trees – and the heart of Muir Woods.

Walking down the hill, you will pass through the Cathedral Grove and Bohemian Grove and you will surely have some sense of why this part of the North Bay was set aside as a protected natural resource area for coming generations. The towering trees in this portion of the park are also home to millions of ladybugs in the winter months and have interpretive trails and more for those who have time toward the end of this hike to relax and enjoy this small section of Mount Tamalpais State Park.

Although the hike itself is not all that long or physically grueling, this is one of the few hikes in the area that should be taken when you truly have the time to stop and enjoy the scenery. Passing several hours in the relative quiet of these groves is easy to do and the time spent here can recharge and replenish your batteries easily.

Note: Muir Woods is a popular tourist attraction and does become more crowded on weekends and during the summer months. If possible, go during the week to avoid the crowds.

 

 


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Photos copyright by Jay Graham Photographer