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Best Hikes in Muir Woods for all levels on a Muir Woods Tour

Posted by GrayLineofSanFrancisco on February 26, 2021

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Are you looking for things to do in San Francisco and running out of ideas? When was the last time that you observed the redwood forest at Muir Woods?

Do not miss our guide with our favorite three hikes in Muir Woods. No matter the level you have, there is a hike recommended for each one!

Muir Woods Trail – Bridge 3 and back | Level of difficulty: Easy | Length: 1.3-mile | Duration: 1h

This path follows the Redwood Creek Trail, which is the most popular taken way for anyone visiting the Muir Woods National Park. This short and easy level walk is affordable to any hiker level and starts at the Muir Woods National Monument's main entrance.

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Muir Woods National Park entrance & Redwood Creek Trail, Muir Woods @GrayLineSanFrancisco

From the very beginning, you will find a comfortable wooden boardwalk for most of the trip. Immediately after starting, you'll be overwhelmed with colossal redwoods. You won't believe how close you are to San Francisco.

The entire hike is about 1 mile long and should not take you more than 1 hour to complete it. The grade is mostly gentle, all estimated to be 5% or less, making it accessible to anyone, from kids to babies using strollers or people on wheelchairs.

During the hike, you will find signs asking you to keep silent. If you follow these rules, this place becomes mystic even when it is crowded.

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Redwood Creek Trail courtesy of the National Park Service | Cathedral Grove Picture, Muir Woods @GrayLineSanFrancisco

Bootjack Trail Loop | Level of difficulty: Moderate | Length: 6.3-mile | Duration: 4-5h

Bootjack Trail Loop is our second option for intermediate hikers. If you are looking for a half-day Muir Woods hike, this is the best option you can choose.  It is a 6.3-mile loop trail near Mill Valley, California, that features a river. The course offers several activity options, and we recommend hiking there from April until November.

This path links the Redwood Creek, Bootjack, TCC, Stepelveldt, Ben Johnson, and Hillside Trails over more than a 6-mile loop with just over 1,150 feet in elevation gain (see the map below for your reference)

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Ben Johnson Trail, @GrayLineSanFrancisco

The trailhead commences at the Main Entrance to Muir Woods National Monument. Be sure to go to the left at the end of the Redwood Creek Trail, but continue west rather than shifting onto the Hillside Trail on the way out.

After leaving the Redwood Creek Trail, the trail rises while passing through gorgeous redwoods and passing several rivers on your way.

This trail is a bit challenging, as there some rocks and steep stairs along the way, but it is an excellent option if you are looking to get away from the masses.

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Bootjack Trail Loop Map, courtesy of the National Park Service

Stinson Beach via Dipsea Trail and back | Level of difficulty: Hard | Length: 9.7-mile | Duration: 7-8h

For those looking for a full-day hiking adventure around the Muir Woods National Park, the Dipsea Trail is without a doubt what you have been looking for.

This ambitious hike is 9.7-miles long and combines forest sections, hills, and amazing views to Stinson Beach. Before facing this challenge, be aware that this excursion combines ascending and descending sections with a total elevation gain of 2,500 feet.

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Dipsea Trail, bridge - iStock

The trail goes deep into the redwood forest before reaching Cardiac Hill. We bet you'll never forget the views from there. Even if you are not lucky and have fog, this spot is enchanting.

The path continues through meadows before descending and dying at Stinson Beach. San Franciscans know this beach for its white sand and its marvelous landscape.

Take advantage of this location to get some food and use the bathrooms before heading back to Muir Woods.

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Stinson Beach from Dipsea Trail, iStock

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Dipsea Trail Map, own elaboration from Google Maps

Please check our Operational Q&A before you plan your visit:

    • How much does it cost to get into Muir Woods? 

Muir Woods National Monument Requires that everyone 16 and older pay $15.00 per person.

  • Do I need to get reservations to get into Muir Woods? How to buy tickets for Muir Woods?

If you are renting or driving your vehicle to Muir Woods, it is mandatory to secure a parking reservation online before arriving at the park. Follow the link to the very intuitive parking reservation website. Muir Woods National Monument is without cellular service. Attempting to reserve a reservation while idling outside the parking entrance of Muir Woods will result in you turning your vehicle around and driving back to where you can acquire viable service. Parking reservations can be secured weeks in advance.

  • How far is Muir Woods from San Francisco?

It should take you around 45 minutes to drive to Muir Woods from San Francisco. Take into account that the park is located about 17 miles north of San Francisco and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge might be busy.

  • How to get to Muir Woods without a car?

A viable alternative to driving is to take the shuttle. Follow this link to reserve your seat(s). There are three departure locations where you can catch the shuttle. Important to remember! Seat reservations are departure location-specific. When reserving your seat online, you are prompted to select a specific departure location. Once the area is selected and the transaction completed, you must show up at the departure location you selected.

If you stay in San Francisco, an alternative option is to check out our Muir Woods Half-Day Tour from San Francisco. You’ll not have to worry about Muir Woods parking reservations or shuttle hustle. Let us pick you up from San Francisco, relax the ride up to the woods, and enjoy 1 hour and a half of the redwood trees in San Francisco. No other tour company is offering more time than us!

Complete your experience visiting the charming downtown of Sausalito, and let us bring you back to the city to finish this unforgettable experience.

  • Can I Uber/Lyft myself to Muir Woods National Monument?

You can take Lift or Uber to Muir Woods but requesting one for the return trip is impossible. Muir Woods National Monument has no cellular service. In theory, all one would have to do is schedule an Uber or Lyft pick-up from Muir Woods. In our estimation, too many things need to go right for success, while only one thing needs to go wrong for this to fail.

Gray Line Recommendations before your trip to Muir Woods (Redwood Forest)

  • Bring a jacket with you! Even on summer days, you may be hiking in the woods below 70F.
  • Stay on the path and avoid contacting posing oak in the woods.
  • Plan your visit to Muir Woods Parking lots during peak season might be fully booked for weeks in advance.

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