Many years ago, I used to write twitter content for the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, and one of the sites I would often recommend to tourists was Muir Woods in Marin County (ironic considering I had not been myself). Since my parents moved to Marin last year, I have wanted to see the Woods – a national park created by conservationist, John Muir at the turn of the 20th Century. There are redwoods in Oregon, but none as famous as those in Northern California, so upon visiting at Easter, I declared my #1 tourist attraction would be the Park. It was well worth the wait. I likened the main forested area to a fusion of the zoo and Disneyland: it’s packed with families and strollers, but everyone is more enthralled with nature’s beauty than a roller’s coaster’s adrenaline rush. My mom and I arrived early, around 9:30am, and the second parking lot was already almost full. Happily, we escaped some of the larger crowds by not waiting until the afternoon.
Tip: If you’re over the age of 62, make the one-time purchase of the National Park Senior Pass. For $10, you’ll have a lifetime pass to all the national parks!
The main boardwalk is only a mile long, and easily accessible for ADA and slower walkers, but there are offshoot trails for the more hiking inclined. At the end of Cathedral Grove starts Fern Trail – a fairly easy 2 mile hike with beautiful redwoods surrounding the trails along with irises, trillium and beautiful fuscia flowers, the name of which escapes me. There is an incline, but subsides early into the climb, so if you walk frequently, this shouldn’t be too challenging of a hike. As with most of the park, growth coverage is prolific, so a hat isn’t necessary, but sunglasses help as the sun pours in between the branches. The signage gets a little tricky toward the end of the trail, so keep an eye out for the Camp Eastwood signs and steer left. You will cross Bootjack Trail (still keeping left) and eventually be dropped back into the main trail.
I am very much looking forward to returning and venturing out on some of the more rigorous hikes, perhaps heading down to Stinson Beach a mere 9 miles from the Muir Woods Monument. Then again, perhaps something shorter is better fit. I’ll keep you posted.