Big changes are under way for one of the most popular National Monuments in America — Muir Woods, home to an ancient grove of coast redwoods trees. Typically the most difficult part of visiting Muir Woods National Monument, is finding somewhere to park.
But starting in January 2018, you’ll need an advanced reservation for everything from parking spots to getting into the park! We’re here to help you plan your trip to see the towering redwoods of Muir Woods National Monument — so here are 5 things that you need to know about the new reservation systems at Muir Woods beginning in 2018:
You’ll need to reserve an arrival time and date in advance
Since 1908 you could visit Muir Woods National Monument simply by showing up. But 110 years later that is all changing. Starting January 1st, 2018 the new reservation will be open to the public. Reservations for the $10 entrance into Muir Woods will be required starting on January 16th.
With this new system you will be able to reserve a time and day up to 90 days in advance. You will have a 30 minute window to make your entry time. This makes visiting Muir Woods a lot like visiting Alcatraz — difficult. Be prepared for Muir Woods to be sold out, much like Alcatraz, during the busy summer months. Luckily, you can always check out our ultimate Day in the Bay Tour to secure tickets to both Alcatraz and Muir Woods for your trip to San Francisco!
Last minute cancellations mean you’re outta luck
Unless you can give Muir Woods National Monument 72 hours notice of cancellations, you won’t be getting a refund. So if your flight into San Francisco is delayed and you miss your reservation, you’ll miss out on the redwoods!
You won’t be let into the parking lot without reserving a parking pass in advance
We’re not talking about your reservation to get into the park. This is a separate reservation just for parking! If you’re planning on driving up to Muir Woods, you won’t get very far if you haven’t reserved a parking spot first. Parking is limited, so beginning January 16th, 2018 you will need to make an $8 reservation to secure a parking pass for one of the whopping 232 parking spaces.
Muir Woods sees thousands of visitors every day, and they are anticipating parking reservations to be in high demand for the couple hundred parking passes that will be available daily. So guests are encouraged to reserve as far in advance as possible. There is also no WiFi or cell phone reception at Muir Woods — so this means you must download your parking pass in advance. Or, you can hop on our Famous Tour — we’ll reserve the tickets to Muir Woods for you, show off the iconic sites of San Francisco and enjoy lunch along the Sausalito waterfront!
You can still stay as long as you want
We’re glad that some things aren’t changing. Luckily, Muir Woods will not limit the amount of time you have to enjoy the redwoods! So, your entrance will be timed, but not your stay. For planning purposes, most visitors find a little more than an hour is the perfect amount of time for exploring.
Still infrequent shuttle service
Currently, shuttle service to Muir Woods is only available during the busy summer months. And even then, it can be impossible to get a seat on due to massive crowds. Beginning on January 20th you’ll be able to fight the crowds onto the shuttle every weekend — if you have a reservation. Much like the parking reservations, shuttle reservations are anticipated to sell out well in advance due to their high demand.
And if you’re thinking of biking across the bridge and tossing your bike onto the shuttle? That’s not going to fly, they have a strict no-bike policy on their shuttle buses. Lucky for you though, we have the perfect combination tour that allows you to drop off your bike rental in Sausalito before hopping onto our private minibus shuttle that brings you to Muir Woods and back into San Francisco! Check out our Bike the Bridge & Muir Woods Shuttle for more info.
Any way you slice it, Muir Woods is fundamentally changing how people visit the iconic grove of redwoods. It won’t be easy getting to Muir Woods in 2018. If you’re visiting before the big changes, you can check out our list the the best (and worst) ways of getting to Muir Woods. And if you’re planning to explore the towering redwoods after the New Year, then be sure to use promo code “CHOOSEYOURTRAIL” for 10% off our Famous Tour to Muir Woods or our Bike the Bridge & Muir Woods Shuttle!