To experience one of California’s most unforgettable must-sees, visit this remarkable grove, a hop-skip north of San Francisco. Tucked into an ocean-facing fold of Mount Tamalpais, the signature peak just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, Muir Woods National Monument protects the last stand of uncut old-growth coast redwoods in the Bay Area, where loggers had all but denuded the region by the late 1800s.
“The best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
Originally established as a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, it was named in honor of the revered naturalist John Muir, who declared the site was “the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.” Even on busy days in summer, there is a remarkable hush here, especially if you arrive in early morning. Follow raised boardwalks, built to protect the redwoods’ sensitive root structure, to see the arrow-straight redwoods, some over a century old, soaring 250 feet/76 meters overhead. For an unforgettable experience, check the park’s activities calendar to go on a guided walk at dusk.
Keep in mind that the road to the park is twisty and narrow, and parking lots often fill up early in summer and on weekends. (Miss a spot in the lots and it can be a long, long walk to your car.) Your best bet is to take the public Muir Woods shuttle (March through October) from nearby Sausalito, or book a tour with a local shuttle service or tour operator.