Even though Muir Woods National Monument isn’t IN San Francisco, it’s a quintessential part of visiting San Francisco. Some of the Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods are over 2,000 years old and nearly 300 feet/92 meters! But there’s a catch. Muir Woods sits in a quiet valley nestled into Mount Tamalpais and sees thousands of visitors every day — but there are only a few hundred parking spots. Getting to Muir Woods can be tricky. So here are the ten best (and worst) ways of getting to Muir Woods by bike, bus or ferry.
10. Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Tamalpais
While this will be the most direct way of getting to Muir Woods, it’s also one of the worst way of getting to Muir Woods. Thousands of people visit the towering Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods every day. The only problem with that is there are only a couple hundred parking spots tucked away into this mountain. Meaning, if you aren’t there by 9:30am you might end up walking up to 30 minutes away from the park entrance!
9. Bike across the Golden Gate and up Mt. Tam
Biking the bridge is one of those things everyone should try at least once in their lifetime! Biking up Mount Tamalpais to Muir Woods? That’s a totally different story. While it is *technically* possible to bike to Muir Woods, the road you take has no bike lane and is filled with cars, SUVS and 30 foot buses taking hairpin turns around the mountain.
8. Uber/Lyft to Muir Woods and use a honest-to-goodness payphone to a call a cab after
One of the least cost-effective way of getting to/from Muir Woods. You’ll be able ride-share your way to Muir Woods, but since there’s no cell phone reception you won’t be able to order one for the way back. Luckily there’s a still functioning pay phone that you can use to call a cab to take you back to Sausalito or the city.
7. Hire a private car for the afternoon
[Photo by Vapi Photographie via Flickr]
If you want to arrive in style, this is for you. You won’t have to worry about calling a ride if you have a private driver already waiting for you! Most companies require a minimum of four hours, but they’ll pick up/drop off to your hotel and you can explore at your own pace. Our friends over at SF Modern Limo are $55/hr for a towncar and $70/hr for a limo (if you REALLY want to travel in style).
6. Stay at the Pelican Inn, only three miles/five kilometers from Muir Woods
Not many people know about this seven room English-inspired bed and breakfast tucked away in the tiny Mt. Tam community of Muir Beach. This little B&B is a stones throw from the Pacific Ocean and is home to a hearty little English pub on the bottom level (perfect for after a looong hike through Muir Woods)! It will take over an hour to walk to the entrance of Muir Woods, but it is possible.
5. Catch a ride to Muir Woods AND tickets to Alcatraz with Muir Woods Shuttle & Tours “A Day in the Bay Tour”
If you are trying to see the most in one day, this is the tour for you. You’ll spend well over an hour to explore both Muir Woods and Sausalito before being dropped off at Alcatraz (aka Pier 33) where you’ll catch a ferry to the notorious former penitentiary! Alcatraz tickets can sell out months in advance. Coordinating a city tour and Alcatraz ferry can be a daunting task, so instead just hop on the “Day in the Bay Tour”!
4. Bike the Golden Gate Bridge & take Marin Transit’s 66F Muir Woods Shuttle from Sausalito Ferry Terminal (SEASONAL: May-October WEEKENDS ONLY)
We never get tired of biking across the Golden Gate Bridge, so this is always a fun option! The only catch is that the public shuttle bus provided by Marin Transit only runs from May-October on the weekends only. It’s $5 for a roundtrip ticket for those 16 and older. Kids 15 and younger ride for free. You pay at Muir Woods and show receipt to board bus back to Sausalito Ferry Terminal. You can leave your bike with a bike valet for $3 per bike, that way you won’t have to worry about it while you’re hiking!
You can catch a to Sausalito from either Pier 41/Fisherman’s Wharf OR the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street for about $12. It’s a beautiful 20-30 minute ferry ride with aboslutely stunning views (depending on Karl the Fog) of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the San Francisco skyline. Once in Sausalito you can catch the seasonal shuttle bus (May-October). It’s$5 for a roundtrip ticket for those 16 and older. Kids 15 and younger ride for free. You pay at Muir Woods and show receipt to board bus back to Sausalito Ferry Terminal.
2. Bike the Golden Gate Bridge & Shuttle to Muir Woods with Dylan’s Tours
Have we mentioned how much we love biking the Golden Gate Bridge? We just hate that the shuttle to Muir Woods doesn’t run year round! Luckily, with us you can bike the Golden Gate with a Pedego electric bike from Dylan’s Tours — then ditch the bike at a shop in Sausalito before hopping onto a private shuttle to Muir Woods! The best part? You don’t have to bike back to the city after your hike, our shuttle will bring you back to San Francisco!
1. Explore San Francisco and Muir Woods on Dylan’s Tours “Famous Tour”
Okay, so we might be the teensiest bit biased — but our “Famous Tour” is the best way to see all the must-see sights in San Francisco AND have lunch in Sausalito AND explore Muir Woods for over an hour before getting dropped back off in the city. Six hours fly by with our local tour guides and you’ll be impressed with how much ground you’ll have covered in a single day!
[Featured photo by Caleb Jones via Unsplash]