Saturday, December 1, 2012

Best Time to Visit Muir Woods

Muir Woods Redwoods
Muir Woods National Monument is only a twenty minute drive from San Francico's Golden Gate bridge.  Visiting Muir Woods is the easiest way to get up close and personal with giant redwood trees from the Bay Area.  The problem is that everyone visiting the Bay Area also wants to visit Muir Woods.  A poorly timed trip to Muir Woods can leave you fighting traffic and crowds the entire day.  The trick to making the most of a visit to Muir Woods National Monument is to visit when others are not--early in the morning and/or on weekdays.  

What to Expect 

Tour vans and buses begin to arrive at Muir Woods around 9am.   Both Muir Woods and the narrow roads that lead to it will fill up quickly by late morning.  Arrive at Muir Woods as close to 8am as possible if you want to enjoy an hour to yourself to walk among the beautiful trees.  Even if you decide to take on the longer hikes through Muir Woods, you'll still have a head start to walk well ahead of the crowds that will fill up the park by late morning.  As you can expect, Muir Woods is especially busy on weekends, as tourist and locals both visit the park.  If at all possible, visit Muir Woods during a weekday.  The park is open year-round, even on holidays.

Muir Woods at 8am--no other tourists!
Just the Basics
  • Park Operating Hours: Muir Woods opens at 8am year-round, including all holidays! Closing varies from 5pm-8pm, depending on the time of year.  
  • Visitor Center Hours:  9am to 30 minutes before the park closes.
  • Entrance Fee: $7 per adult.  Parking is free.   
  • Website:
  • Advice: Unless you are traveling alone, it is more economical to rent a car to visit the park rather than book a tour. I would recommend renting a car and visiting Muir Woods in the morning and Napa Valley in the afternoon.