Muir Woods National Monument

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Our six year-old & his Tio at the entrance.

Why we love it: When we first moved to California (early 2010), we discovered Muir Woods & fell in love with the place. We used to take every visitor who came out to visit us, from NY, TX, PA – you name it!

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Our now six year-old on a hike in Muir Woods when he was just nine months old. Photo credit: Noelle MacGregor Photography

You can keep it easy and stick to the Muir Woods Main Loop trail, or you can take on more challenging hikes beyond the main trail. This may sounds silly, but I also discovered THE best grilled cheese at the café!! (I know, the best…grilled cheese?? Later, the café was featured on a Food Network show for grilled cheese and provided me with some validation.)

It’s been a long time since we’ve been to Muir Woods, and I was feeling some mommy guilt that we never introduced Muir Woods to our younger son. He’s currently three years old & because of his medical condition, he gets enjoyment from just a few things – the #1 being time in the outdoors with family! My brother was visiting from TX for our 6 year-old’s Spring Break and I wanted to take him somewhere cool so…it was the perfect opportunity! I only wish the hubs hadn’t been out of town for work, or all five us of could have enjoyed the day!

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For the Young Ones (0-10): You can take the Muir Woods Main Loop trail as short as a 1/2 mile, or extend it however long you’d like! In addition, if you have a sturdy stroller such as a BOB (we’re fearless with our UppaBaby Vista), it can easily handle the main trail (just make sure to loop back at Bridge 1,2, or 3, or come back the way you came). There is so much to see and learn along the trail, and young ones can easily earn a Jr. Ranger badge!

For the Big Kids (10+): The big kids may be perfectly happy with sticking to the Muir Woods Main Loop trail, and may have an interest in attending a “Tree Talk“. The monument itself contains six miles of trails, so you can always do your research and make it a longer day of hiking in the vicinity if you’re seeking something more.

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Keep in Mind:

  • Parking is limited and spaces fill fast. There are two overflow parking areas past the parking area at the entrance. The NPS suggests entering “1 Muir Woods Rd., Mill Valley CA” into your GPS instead of searching for “Muir Woods,” or avoid the parking lot stress and take the Muir Woods Shuttle.
  • Keep in mind that this is a coast redwood forest, which means even if it’s sunny elsewhere, it’s going to be cool and shady at Muir Woods.
  • 15 years of age and under are FREE!

 

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Around the Area: While some more extensive hikes will lead you to beaches, we packed up and drove from Muir Woods down to Stinson Beach. It gets super busy during the summer, but it was just perfect for us on a spring weekday. The water was cold, but my six year-old didn’t mind one bit, getting completely soaked in his clothes. (I’ve learned never to leave home without a complete backup outfit for EACH of us!)

Difficulty Level: Muir Woods Main Loop trail – beginner.

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