Day Trip to Muir Woods

Dawson Turner
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Muir Woods, situated in Mill Valley, is approximately 16.3 miles or 26 kilometers away from our Pacific Tradewinds hostel. Established in 1908 with the aim of preserving the majestic old growth coast redwood trees, which hold the feat of being the tallest trees in the world. The average tree in the park is around 250 feet to the sky.

During the 1800s, these trees spanned over 2 million acres of land in California. However, today, only about 120,000 acres of these trees remain, which accounts for a mere 5 percent of their former extent.

Within Muir Woods National Monument, 240 acres of our remaining redwoods are protected. It’s nature at its height, and so close to the city. Let me be your digital guide you on how you can visit and experience these remarkable trees firsthand.

 

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This park is truly a sight to behold, tourists from all over the world carving out the time to visit. The trees loom far overhead and provide excellent shade, but never felt too chilly. The redwoods themselves are ancient and god-like. No two are the same, and some along our path twisted around each-other, some craned inwards and bending to accommodate.

Shrouding the ground itself  for the majority of the park are clovers. Yes, lucky cloves. Literally everywhere. Deep green above, bright green below. It’s breezy, and the air in the land of the largest trees in the world is sublime. Every breath was counted. If you take the trail I did, it can be a hike uphill, so breaths are a plenty.

Muir Woods is open every day of the week, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

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Miles & I @ Muir Woods entrance. We asked a stranger to take a picture on both of our phones. Here’s both.

There are a few paths that take you to these magical woods, but essentially it boils down to arriving by bike or car. Let’s be real though, I don’t know a soul that’s gonna bike the 16 miles in total uphill, across the golden gate, all the way winding the Muir Woods. Crazy enough and a great biker? Check out this guide on how.

If arriving by your own vehicle and parking for the day there’s a reservation fee in advance, but I really doubt most staying here in the city are driving one. If you need specifics on spot reservation info, visit here.

Otherwise, no res needed!

Can I afford this on a budget?

Depends on that budget and where your priorities are. Personally, if well coordinated, I think it is absolutely worth the cost of admission and transport. This place is tranquil, absorbing, and stunning.

Alright, so admission to the park itself is $15 a head. I can live with that. All funds towards the U.S National Parks Service, always a great cause. But here’s where it can really really add up, the important variables are involved in actually getting there. So make sure to have a plan, and you will! Keep on reading.

VERTIGOMUIR
Still stolen from a scene located in Muir woods in Hitchcock’s VERTIGO (1958)

OK, WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET HERE THEN?

I will paint the definitive two most economic paths.

1

Here is the one I took, not to deem it superior. Joined by an instant hostel buddy of mine Miles, we decided it was best to take the bus as far as close as we could get to the park and then Uber the rest. The bus station closest to the park is the 130 in Sequoia Valley, where we set our ride to initially pick us up. Since there is literally zero cell service for about twenty minutes surrounding Muir Woods, there was no other option than to book an Uber in advance to pick us up (5 hours from when we would arrive just to be safe).

There are no buses arriving from Sf directly to the park or leaving it. What you don’t want to happen is to have no plan for the ride back and rely on expensive as shit cabs that buzz around the place looking for souls desperate to get back. I’m talking like a $100 ride. Yikes.

Anyways, this path is the best if going with a decent group. Uber from closest bus station to entrance is give or take ~$25 each way including tip, so split that between your group and you are coasting baby.

Another bonus of this is the path itself over the mountains, the journey through Mt.Tamalpais and Marin City is textured and beautiful.

2

Opt for the 66 bus, AKA Muir Woods Shuttle. The shuttle bus is only $3 per reservation. However, reaching the shuttle can be a bit tricky. Don’t worry I got you. The 66 shuttle doesn’t depart from San Francisco directly. Instead, it leaves from Sausalito, so you’ll need to make your way there to catch the shuttle. The easiest method is to take the Golden Gate Ferry.

The Pacific Tradewinds Hostel is a 13-minute walk from the Ferry Building, where you can catch the ferry to Sausalito. Check the ferry schedule and plan your trip accordingly.

If you have a Clipper Card, (an essential for SF visitors anyways) the ferry fare is $7 each way, making it $14 for a round trip. By taking the ferry to the shuttle bus with a Clipper Card, your total cost for the Muir Woods trip is like $35. Reasonable as ****.

The ferry will take you to Bay and Bridgeway, where you’ll find the shuttle stop. From there, hop on the shuttle, which will take you directly to Muir Woods. This is goes without mentioning the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from the shuttle. I need to try it out!

You’re welcome

I hope you found this helpful dear traveler, I can guarantee you whatever path you take will be worthwhile.

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