Planning on visiting Muir Woods this year? Whether you’re getting to the park by tour, shuttle, or car—here’s everything you need to know before your trip to the forest.
If you head north across the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods, you’ll find the best place to see the redwoods near San Francisco.
Visiting Muir Woods is a must for anyone who is exploring the Bay Area, and there are several ways to get to the national monument. You can visit the redwoods on a tour, take the direct San Francisco to Muir Woods shuttle, or even drive to the redwood forest on your own. However you get there, here are few things you need to know before going to Muir Woods!
Our Famous Tour from San Francisco to Muir Woods is the easiest way to get from the city to the park and back!
You need a reservation to park your car near Muir Woods
If you are planning to go on a nice Muir Woods day trip, paying the Muir Woods entrance fee isn’t the only thing you have to worry about.
Starting in 2018 Muir Woods created a new Muir Woods parking reservations system. You now need to make parking reservations in advance, meaning that Muir Woods parking without reservations is going to be next to impossible. Parking at Muir Woods costs $8.
However, your Muir Woods reservation doesn’t guarantee you have a reserved parking spot waiting for you. Having a Muir Woods parking reservation only means that once a spot is available, then you can park there. So even if you have a Muir Woods parking reservation, you might still end up circling the parking lot for a while!
Another thing to note when you are visiting Muir Woods is that there’s no WiFi or cell phone reception. If you drive to Muir Woods from San Francisco without a parking reservation, you’ll need to drive to the bottom of the mountain to get cell phone reception to buy a parking spot, and hopefully, they haven’t sold out for that day.
You need a reservation to take the public Muir Woods shuttle
How to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco without driving? Marin Transit offers a budget-friendly Muir Woods Shuttle from Sausalito, Mill Valley, and Marin City Hub.
If parking at Muir Woods sounds like an adventure that you do not want to tackle, the Go Muir Woods shuttle is always an option. You will need a reservation for that as well. Also please note that Marin Transit’s shuttles only runs on the weekends, except during the summer.
PRO TIP: The Muir Woods shuttle that will bring you back to Sausalito is not scheduled and operates on a first come, first serve basis. If you’re not getting to the redwoods on a Muir Woods tour, be prepared to begin queuing up early to ensure you get a ride back down the mountain.
If you don’t want to deal with the public shuttle that leaves from Marin, our direct shuttle from San Francisco is a great option.
Muir Woods isn’t as big as you think
On all our tours that stop at the redwood forest, we tell travelers about three popular trails to hike in Muir Woods. The longest of these hikes crosses Bridge 4 and will take you to the farthest edge of Muir Woods.
Bridge 4 is where the National Monument ends, and the California State Park begins. You can reach the end of Muir Woods in under an hour. All of our Muir Woods tours stop here for over an hour, giving you enough time to hike any of these three beautiful trails.
You can taste food that was featured on “Best Food I Ever Had” at Muir Woods Cafe
Fans of the Food Network’s “Best Food I Ever Had” can taste a specialty grilled cheese sandwich called The Marin Melt, which was featured on the TV show. This grilled cheese is one of our favorite Muir Woods foods.
There are two different styles of grilled cheese on the menu. Be sure to order the Marin Melt, which is made with three different local kinds of cheese.
All of our Muir Woods tours stop for lunch in Sausalito. So if you take our tour, we recommend sharing this famous sandwich with your friends so you can have room for more delicious food in Sausalito!
Muir Woods can be surprisingly foggy
The 2,000-year-old redwoods of Muir Woods sit within a valley hidden inside Mt. Tamalpais. On the western edge of this mountain is the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific is so icy (50F/10C) that whenever temperatures rise, a dense fog is created on the water that rolls into San Francisco and the valley of Muir Woods.
Sometimes that fog can get trapped in the valley, so bring layers if you’re heading to Muir Woods. If you’re on a Muir Woods tour, you can always leave your jacket on the bus in case it turns out to be a warm day in the forest.
Kids 5-12 years old can be sworn in as a Muir Woods Junior Park Rangers
Muir Woods is one of the best things to do in San Francisco with kids because of their excellent Junior Ranger Program. When you’re paying for admission, be sure to ask about the Muir Woods Junior Ranger Activity Book, which helps kids under 12 engage and appreciate the ancient redwoods.
If you have time to meet back with your Muir Woods tour group, give yourself about 5-10 minutes on the way out to bring the activity book to a Park Ranger so that your little ones can be sworn in as official Muir Woods Junior Park Rangers.
The only way of getting to Muir Woods is on a winding mountain road
Those who get motion sickness easily be warned, the only route to Muir Woods is a winding one. The perk of tackling the drive to Muir Woods with one of our minibus tours is that our 100% local guides take these roads nice and easy!
Can you drive through Muir Woods? No, you can not drive through Muir Woods. While you can enjoy the Muir Woods drive, you can not drive through the park, and there are no redwoods you can drive through.
If you Uber or Lyft to Muir Woods, you’ll need to take a $75 cab to get to the Golden Gate Bridge
With Muir Woods parking being so limited and the Muir Woods shuttle usually only running on the weekends, we understand how ordering an Uber or Lyft up to the forest sounds like a good idea.
Here’s the problem with that, there’s no cell reception at Muir Woods, which makes it a bit impossible to order an Uber or Lyft back to the city.
If you’re lucky, there will be a few cabs waiting around. These cabs usually charge about $75 just to get to the Golden Gate Bridge.
But if you’re willing to pay for a cab, we’d recommend just opting for a Muir Woods tour instead!
Our most popular tour, Dylan’s Famous Tour, is only $119 per person and will have a lot more fun stops around San Francisco than a cab!
We might be a little biased, but we firmly believe the easiest and most fun way of getting to Muir Woods is with a Muir Woods tour. Our Famous Tour, A Day in the Bay Tour, Bike the Bridge & Muir Woods Shuttle Tour, and Direct Muir Woods Shuttle are all great options because we take care of all of the details. So you can just sit back and enjoy a stress-free day of exploring Muir Woods!