Our time in San Francisco was coming to an end. So we had to rent our car and head out towards our next big stop: Yosemite Park. On the way we decided to stop at Muir Woods and Point Reyes, then spend the night in Santa Rosa.
The drive from San Francisco to Muir Woods takes about 45 minutes. And let me tell you that the drive through the woods is amazing! Due to limited parking spots close to the entrace, make an effort to be there early. Another reason for being there early is the tour buses that arrive there around 10-11 am. Entrance to the park will set you back 10$ per adult, children 15 and under don’t need to pay admission.
UPDATE: We visited in 2017, but starting with January 2018, you will be required to reserve parking in advance. Since all the parking spots are being filled by 8:30, just 30 minutes after the park opens, this comes as a necessity. The downside is that this will cost 8$ for the day. Even if you choose to use the shuttle service, you will have to reserve that as well. That is 3$ per adult round trip ticket. For children 15 and under, the ride is free. You can find more information about the Muir Woods Shuttle here.
Muir Woods National Monument is home to thousands of tall Redwood trees. Most of the trees are over 300 years old, with some older than 1000 years. Inside, there are plenty of trails that you can follow and enjoy the serenity of the woods. The main trail is the Redwood Creek Trail. This popular, shaded trail follows the winding Redwood Creek. Starting as a boardwalk, the first half-mile is wheelchair accessible and perfect for kids. The best thing is that the farther you walk, the fewer people you will find in your way!
Once on the main trail, we decided to cross the bridge 1 since the few people that were with us went straight. As you can see, we would do anything we can to end up alone in beautiful places! After crossing the bridge, pass through the massive trees of Bohemian Grove. While here, don’t forget to take your picture inside a redwood!
At the 2nd bridge you can try the Hillside trail which has a small elevation. I really suggest you would take that trail, since you get a beautiful perspective of the towering trees and the main trail below. Take into consideration that this trail is not wheelchair accessible and you’ll want to keep the little ones close. Hillside trail will join with the main trail at bridge 4. After that we continued our walk towards the Visitor Center, passing by Cathedral Grove. Our walk was about 2 miles, 2 hours of tranquility!
Make sure not to miss Muir Woods National Monument. It’s easy to see why so many people make it a point to head out and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the woods outside of the bustling city. If you are in the San Francisco area, take a half-day and explore this wonderful place!
Our Muir Woods and Point Reyes day was just at the beginning. So, after Muir Woods, we got up in the car and drove to Palomarin trail, which is the beginning of the trail to Alamere Falls. Google maps was showing us that is going to be a 6km, 1h and a half walk. So we thought that was ok, considering that we get to see a waterfall that is dropping right into the ocean! Honestly, ask me again now, and I would just want to see your pictures from there!
The thing is that the hike is actually 20km, this if you don’t take the shortcut (when we visited were some rocks making an arrow, now you will find a sign guiding you and saying that it is an unmaintained trail). In the beginning everything is nice, a few hills but nice views as you are passing by 2 lakes. But after time passes and you still didn’t reach the falls combined with the fact that you are tired you start to hate this waterfall!
The shortcut that I was talking about is towards the end, and it leds straight to the falls. Be careful that this shortcut will lead you through various bushes and be extra careful at poison oak and stinging nettle! And at the end you will be at the top of the falls, so you will have to go down to the beach and is quite steep climb over loose dirt and rocks. But you are finally there! The only thing that I regret is that I lost most of my patience and didn’t concentrate more on the photos 🙁
Even after we reached back to the parking and being so happy to see the car, our day was not over. 2 more places on my “must photograph” list for Muir Woods and Point Reyes day: the Point Reyes shipwreck and famous cypress tree tunnel. The tree tunnel is a beautiful, serene spot with a canopy of Monterey cypresses forming an overhead arch. This is one of those rare spots that actually lives up to your expectations. I was amazed by this tree tunnel when I saw it in real life, especially since nowadays some pictures are heavily edited. Since we turned on that long driveway, I couldn’t wait to hop out and take photos!
The shipwreck can be a little bit tough to find since it is tucked away on a bay behind a store in Point Reyes. I couldn’t believe there was such a beautiful little bay hidden back there. Here’s what we found.
After this packed day we drove to our AirBnb in Santa Rosa. Can you imagine doing Muir Woods and Point Reyes in one day? Needless to say that I just crashed and had the best sleep ever! I would love to hear your adventures in Muir Woods and Point Reyes as well, so please leave your comments below.
To make the most of your San Francisco trip check the following posts: