Culture Parks and Gardens Trip Ideas

Why Muir Woods is one of the best things to do in San Francisco

January 17, 2015

There’s more to San Francisco than great culinary, culture and art, there’s also mother nature at it’s best. If you were to ask me which city I love best in the United States, automatically my answer will be San Francisco.  I’ve been traveling back and forth for many years, always admiring and discovering something different in this beautiful tech-savvy city.  If I could afford it, I would move there in a heart beat.  Trust me, I’ve been tempted a few times.  Since I’ve had the pleasure of exploring the city many times, I wanted this visit to be different.  I wanted to explore the borders of the city and see what type of mother nature the city folks could escape to, which is how I came across Muir Woods National Monument.

So what’s so wonderful about Muir Woods?  As soon as you leave the city, there’s a half-hour drive north of San Francisco where you will capture California’s dramatic landscape of 380-foot-tall Redwood Trees.  It’s awe-inspiring sights will win the hearts of many trail runners, bicyclists and hikers.  In addition to exploring the giant Redwood groves, you can also sunbathe or swim at the nearby Muir Beach or the larger Stinson Beach.

In my experience, as soon as we walked up to the entrance I was excited to start taking pictures of every small detail of the park.  From the trees, to it’s branches and the relaxing creek that surrounded the redwood trees.  The park was relaxing, calm, and serene everywhere you turned.  I tried to capture every bit of it through my lens.  It was breathtaking to be surrounded by trees that are more than 100 years old.  I read that a few of the trees have been around since 1776!  We stayed for about three hours, just walking quietly, taking pictures & enjoying the fresh air and peaceful quietness. For a moment it felt like time just stood still and I was reminded how beautiful life really is.  Who knew something so magical like this park could exist just a short drive away from a busy city.  Definitely worth the drive and experience!

If you do decide to spend an afternoon at Muirwoods, plan to be there for most of your day and arrive early.  When we arrived it was late afternoon and the main parking lot was full.  We did have to park down the road and hike it up to the main entrance.  Which if you look at the bright side, it’s your pre-workout before your hike. Admission was $7 per person and the guide will give you a walking map.  There’s a few hikes you can select from the main entrance and each hike could take about an hour, unless you take your time like me to explore the beautiful park.  The journey from the city to the park is a bonus if you enjoy adventure as you’ll get to experience its winding roads that can be a bit nerve-racking.  But if you leave just in time before the sun goes down, you’ll capture a captivating sunset.

Next time I come up to San Francisco, I’ll make sure to plan a full day to try one of the hikes and enjoy a delicious picnic after a good workout.  In the meantime, I can always come back to this post and relive all the special moments of this beautiful national park.

Photos were taken with a Sony a6000 Mirrorless Interchangeable-lens camera.

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