Muir Woods became the tenth official national monument in America on January 9, 1908, with this important declaration signed by the famous nature-lover President Theodore Roosevelt, under controversial circumstances. The Muir Woods plot of land includes 559 acres that are managed by the National Park Services. About 240 acres of this San Francisco area attraction are devoted to preserving old-growth redwood trees.
The “almost” battle for Muir Woods:
Once upon a time, the California coast held lush stands of huge old sequoia and redwood trees that met their fates when the semi-modern logging industries used these trees to meet the demands of Western American settlers. By the beginning of the 1900s, only small stretches of the original majestic forests were still growing nearby to the locations of our modern San Francisco communities, in locations that were not easy to harvest.
U.S. Senator William Kent and his wife Elizabeth Thacher Kent noticed a stand of old uncut redwood trees about ten-miles north of San Francisco during the early 1900s. This couple purchased the land for $45,000 in an effort to preserve this rugged 611 acre plot of wilderness land. In 1907, a Sausalito-based water company announced plans to dam a stream that would have resulted in harmful flooding to the Kent redwood property.
The 1907 Sausalito water company sued Kent in local courts for permission to flood his unused land. The Kent’s met the local lawsuit with a quiet chuckle and quickly donated the prime 296 acres of endangered historic trees to the United States government. The local San Francisco court system had no authority to rule on trees owned by the federal government. Kent chose the name of the park to honor environmentalist John Muir.
Muir Woods is a fun Sausalito attraction:
The Muir Woods Park is open every day of the year under the direction of the National Park Service. Visitors to Muir Woods can see the big redwoods and sequoia sempervirens trees that are shown in many California travelogues. Walking trails crisscross the park and there are well maintained limited mobility trails with benches to ensure that all visitors can enjoy their outing to the forest. Photography is allowed and encouraged at this park; however, park rangers request that all people stay on trails during their stay.
Muir Woods is not a camping location, and visitors are carefully monitored to ensure that nothing is harmed or removed from this scenic plot of historic land. The National Park Service offers an on-site gift store where it is possible to purchase prints, gifts and books that are related to the huge old trees. Muir Woods is not a location with a drive-through redwood tree and some RVs are too large to make it up the winding mountain roads to park in the designated lots. Muir Woods tours are recommended for RV drivers.
Notes about Muir Woods transportation sources:
Most Muir Woods tours originate in San Francisco and stop in the City of Sausalito on their way to visit the redwoods. When people are visiting the sights in Sausalito, it is often possible to arrange transportation to Muir Woods through a conversation with the chosen tour company before the day of the trip. Some tour sponsors are delighted to let Sausalito visitors start their tour from the heart of downtown Sausalito. Common Muir Woods tours include stops in Sausalito and a boat trip to the nearby Alcatraz Island.
Public busses run from San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge and past Sausalito, California. Some local bus schedules will show a bus stop that appears to be nearby to the Muir Woods attraction. It is necessary for bus riders to hike into the Muir Woods Park from the Muir Woods bus stop location. During summer months, there is a Muir Woods shuttle bus that picks tourists up at three designated locations that are nearby to the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. This form of public transportation costs less than $5.00.
Planning your Muir Woods excursion:
The trees in Muir Woods depend upon the San Francisco Bay fogs to provide moisture during dry years. People visiting this shady park should dress in long pants to prevent contact with harmful plants and insects. Comfortable walking shoes are needed to fully enjoy the hiking trails that are designed to accommodate all skill-levels of outdoor enthusiasts. In the morning hours and late afternoon hours, the park can be chilly during every month of the year. Visitors are often happiest when they have a jacket with them.
The Muir Woods location has nearby picnic areas and a beach location that is not manned by lifeguards. Visitors to Muir Woods can easily spend a complete day exploring this fun nature-filled setting. Muir Woods National Monument is a paid admission Park Service site that has an on-site café for meals or snacks, bathrooms and interpretive displays that change from year-to-year. Nearby lodging is found for reasonable prices in the City of Sausalito at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Call Muir Woods for prices and recorded visitor information: (415) 388-2595