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Muir Woods Day Tours from San Francisco

Walk through the breathtaking stand of the world's tallest trees in the heart of the majestic Muir Woods. Nestled just 12 miles north of San Francisco, this glorious redwood forest is home to tall damp trees, slow-moving rivers, and not to mention Mother Nature’s well-marked alleyways that lead guests through a piece of ancient California history.

Experience solitude and peace as you take a gentle walk alongside Redwood Creek through the 1000-year-old, towering trees! But that’s not all; with Northern California’s signature fog and lush green canopy of coastal redwoods soaring above, you can enjoy an ultimate hiking experience to the top of the aptly named Cardiac Hill to reach the mesmerizing Dipsea Trail.

Whether you are an adventure enthusiast, a keen photographer or someone who just loves to follow his heart, Muir Woods day trip from San Francisco promises to stimulate all of your senses as you relish your fill of nature like never before.

How to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco?

A Muir Woods day trip from San Francisco has a few different options for reaching the destination:

By car: A Muir Woods day trip from San Francisco takes less than an hour by car. There are a few different ways to reach Muir Woods from the Bay Area. Car rentals are practical, but you’ll have to fight notoriously bad San Fran traffic while leaving the city.

By bike: It is possible to reach Muir Woods from San Fran by bike, yet only for those in excellent shape. It’s several miles from Golden Gate Bridge to the Muir Woods entrance, though some riders make the trek.

By bus: Public transportation helps get you around the Bay Area, but a lack of direct routes to Muir Woods from San Francisco makes signing up for a bus tour even more logical. You can kick back and relax while another driver takes care of the transportation.

How long does it take to get from Muir Woods to San Francisco?

Muir Woods National Monument is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, north of downtown San Francisco. Traveling to Muir Woods from San Francisco takes 45 minutes to an hour. The length of travel depends on road conditions and traffic.

Your trip from downtown San Francisco to Muir Woods includes passing over the Golden Gate Bridge with sights of nearby Alcatraz Island.

There are several ways to schedule a Muir Woods day trip from San Francisco.

Bus Tours

Bus tours from San Francisco is a relaxing way to avoid dealing with the city and its notorious traffic. The shuttle service takes you to and from Muir Woods along with other stops depending on the tour. Tickets start around US$ 75.

Bike Tours

Bike tours are an exciting opportunity to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge before or after receiving shuttle service to Muir Woods National Monument. You can’t beat the sights you’ll witness during the day.

Combined Tours

  • Visit Muir Woods + Wine Country: Wine country tours are incredibly popular in Napa Valley, based on its reputation. It’s a great way to avoid drinking and driving. Additionally, you can take a side trip to Muir Woods for a full day worth of activity. Wine tours average $135 with a stop at Muir Woods included.
  • Visit Muir Woods + Alcatraz: Alcatraz Island is one of the premier places to visit during your stay in San Francisco. However, you need to schedule a ferry to and from the island, and tour tickets sell out fast. Combine an Alcatraz tour with Muir Woods for a better deal (combined tours start at $130).
  • Visit Muir Woods + Sausalito: Venture north over the Golden Gate Bridge and take time out from San Francisco on a full-day trip to Muir Woods and  Sausalito.

When is the best time to visit Muir Woods?

Muir Woods National Monument is a popular destination on the Pacific Coast, given its proximity to San Francisco. Residents and tourists can reach the national monument in less than an hour from many parts of San Francisco.

Consequently, expect a fair amount of people regardless of the time of year. The park gets very busy during the peak travel season of the summer. If possible, try to arrive at Muir Woods National Monument in the morning. You’ll beat the heat and some crowds.

What are the best things to see and do in Muir Woods?

Muir Woods National Monument represents one of the last remaining old-growth redwood forests in the San Francisco Bay Area. Given its proximity to San Francisco, the natural area is immensely popular.

Sightseeing

Redwood forests define the Pacific coast for its dominating beauty. Redwood trees reach heights up to nearly 400 feet. Giant sequoias and California redwoods resemble nature’s version of skyscrapers as they tower several hundred feet above humans.

Taking photos of these natural wonders are well worth a personal visit from San Francisco. Redwood trees are legendary and can live up to 3,000 years with heights of 250 or more feet and 30 feet in diameter.

Hiking & Exploring

The main trail of Muir Woods is easy to access for just about anyone. The boardwalk takes you from the entrance plaza to old-growth along Redwood Creek. There are many other trails in the monument, including connections to neighboring Mt. Tamalpais State Park.

Hiking and biking are very popular at Muir Woods National Monument along with ranger-led activities.

Pop Culture References

Several travelers make a point to visit Muir Woods every year because of its connection to the beloved author and naturalist John Muir. Additionally, the monument once served as the backdrop for scenes in iconic films like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Vertigo”. Jack Kerouac also mentioned Muir Woods in his books, which helps build the natural area as inspiration for several writers and creative personalities.

Are there any other places to visit on the way from San Francisco to Muir Woods?

Muir Woods day trip from San Francisco is an exciting way to spend a full day in the Bay Area. Here are some of the best places to visit during your day trip:

Sausalito

Sausalito is a small-town worth visiting during your travels to Muir Woods. The community is near the end of the Golden Gate Bridge, where you can also spend time. The picturesque community has plenty to do, including shopping and dining.

Sonoma & Napa Valley

Muir Woods exists in the heart of wine country. Sonoma County represents the largest and most influential wine country region in the state of California. If you like to sip on the adult beverage, making a stop at one of its many wineries is a must.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco. The island is not far from Muir Woods, making it plausible to see both in a single day. You need to book a tour to Alcatraz Island, where you can tour the iconic abandoned prison.

Bay Area Cruise

Many ferries or cruises take tourists around the bay to see many of its famous sights. It’s a relaxing way to begin or conclude the day after seeing Muir Woods National Monument.

Travel Tips

  • Avoid reaching the monument in the middle of the day. You’ll deal with the highest volume of people and traffic to the destination is worse. If possible, arrive early in the morning so you can beat the rush of people as well as warmer weather in the summer.
  • Don’t forget your camera. Muir Woods National Monument features some of the oldest trees in the world. The natural skyscrapers are quite the sight and worth snapping countless photos.
  • Make sure you prepare yourself for the journey. Muir Woods National Monument is an outdoor feature. As a result, make sure you exercise the same precautions as you would visiting any natural wonder. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and sun protection. The weather and temperatures can also shift drastically over a day, so make sure you have a jacket and enough layers.