Earlier this year Muir Woods introduced some big parking changes with the debut of advanced reservations for parking and the Muir Woods shuttle bus. However, the Muir Woods changes don’t stop there.
This month Muir Woods daily parking permits for commercial tour vehicles are replacing the previous annual parking permit system.
The annual cost for each Dylan’s Tours bus visiting Muir Woods is increasing by 5,683%. Effectively making Muir Woods the Martin Shkreli of San Francisco tourism.
This increase is our low-ball estimate. We won’t know the true costs until this time next year. So it might end up being even more.
We are a small tour company, we can only imagine what the big tour companies price hike will look like. Here’s what you need to know about the recent Muir Woods changes for tour operators. And, more importantly, how these changes are going to impact travelers trying to visit Muir Woods:
Muir Woods daily commercial parking permits are reserved for only an hour and forty five minutes — and they sell out within minutes (sometimes seconds) of becoming available.
Most Muir Woods tours currently offer anywhere from an hour to 1.5 hours to discover the redwoods of Muir Woods. Factoring in the usual commuter traffic — along with the busy summer traffic — this means that if a tour bus gets caught in traffic it could result in less time at Muir Woods.
And that’s only if the tour company was able to snag a parking permit before they sold out. If a Muir Woods tour bus doesn’t have a commercial parking permit for that day and time — they won’t be able to drop off guests at all.
Rest assured Dylan’s Tours guests, we’re making sure to always have our permits ready to drop off our guests. Since we have flexibility in the timing of our tours, we have been able to secure parking permits throughout the summer.
WHAT TO EXPECT AS A RESULT: Expect to see fewer and fewer San Francisco tour companies stopping at Muir Woods. Considering how quickly we’ve seen daily parking permits sell out, we’re anticipating some San Francisco tour companies to stop visiting Muir Woods altogether. At the very least, travelers trying to explore the redwoods of Muir Woods will benefit from being flexible and being sensitive to the time restraints on visiting Muir Woods.
Each tour company is now limited with how many vehicles can visit Muir Woods on any given day.
This change will make getting to Muir Woods almost as difficult as getting to Alcatraz. With this change, Muir Woods is effectively limiting the number of tour buses. Therefore limiting the number of travelers who can get to Muir Woods via tour bus.
WHAT TO EXPECT AS A RESULT: If there aren’t Muir Woods tours heading up to the forest, you can always try driving on your own or taking the Muir Woods Shuttle. Public parking reservations are anticipated to sell out fast during the busy summer months. Even more so with the Muir Woods Shuttle. Expect to see longer lines (especially at the popular Sausalito pick-up location) for the shuttle and even longer delays trying to catch a Muir Woods Shuttle back to Sausalito. Muir Woods will be pushing visitors to trek out a couple miles to the other Muir Woods Shuttle stops. Say hello to another ride-share or taxi, just to meet your crowded Muir Woods Shuttle.
Annual commercial parking costs per vehicle are going up 5,683%!
Combine this price hike along with Muir Woods tour parking permits selling out fast and the effects won’t be surprising.
WHAT TO EXPECT AS A RESULT: Say hello to more expensive Muir Woods tours all through San Francisco. We already mentioned that we are expecting to see Muir Woods dropping from the itinerary on a lot of San Francisco tours. That means there will be an even greater demand for tours that stop at Muir Woods.
With an increased demand and a shortage of commercial parking expect to see prices for Muir Woods tours spike all across San Francisco for tours that actually stop at Muir Woods.
The upside? A more expensive tour will translate to a more comprehensive tour — and an overall better experience for travelers.
From intrepid traveler to established tour companies, these Muir Woods changes are going to drastically affect everyone hoping to visit Muir Woods.
We don’t want you to have to stress about getting to see the infamous ancient redwoods.
So, we are still offering to stop at Muir Woods for over an hour on our most popular tour, the Famous Tour as well as our Alcatraz tour known as the Alcatraz & Famous tour and our combination bike and Muir Woods experience — Bike the Bridge and Shuttle to Muir Woods. We are firm believers that Muir Woods is an essential part of the San Francisco experience. So, despite a 5,000% increase in getting to Muir Woods — we will continue to bring our travelers here to discover this special redwood forest.
Wondering about the other Muir Woods parking changes that happened earlier this year?
What was once free parking at Muir Woods, is now $8 for regular vehicles and $11 for electric vehicles. Not only that — but reservations are required before you show up to the parking lot. Did we mention there’s no wifi or cell reception at Muir Woods? So, if you make the mistake of driving to Muir Woods without a parking reservation — you’ll be sent back down the mountain to find cell phone reception so you can make a Muir Woods parking reservation. And that’s *if* the parking spots at Muir Woods are not already sold out.
On a more promising note, the Muir Woods Shuttle now runs year around….kind of. This is an improvement from the previous summer-only and weekend-only Muir Woods Shuttle of years past. During the summer months the Muir Woods Shuttle will be available seven days a week. During the slower seasons the Muir Woods Shuttle will only run on the weekends. But, just like Muir Woods parking — the Muir Woods Shuttle is now operating on a reservation-only basis.