If you’re travelling to San Francisco, then a tour of the Muir Woods National Monument should be at the top of your to-do list. This breath-taking place features towering old-growth redwood trees, which set the scene for the many ghost stories that have emerged about the woods and those who have been lost there. Stretching out over 554 acres, the area is the ideal setting for a spooky story, and is itself steeped in history.
In the early 20th century, William Kent noticed that many redwood areas were being cut down, and decided to try and preserve them. A water company planned to flood the valley, but Kent fought back by donating a large portion of the land to the federal government. President Roosevelt then declared the area a National Monument, protecting it for generations to come. Read on to find out about the spookiest stories to come out of Muir Woods, and get yourself in the mood for a very special visit.
The Witch of the Woods
There is a legend stretching far back of a woman named Katie Smith, who lived in Muir Woods with her husband, who was a logger. He tried to establish a logging company in the woods, but it was unsuccessful and Katie became angry with him for wasting their money. She waited for the full mon and conducted a ritual, in which she killed her husband with a logging peavey hook. It is said that on the full moon, Katie’s ghost can still be seen carrying a logging peavey hook through the woods, looking for her next victim.
The Sleeping Maiden
There is a Romeo and Juliet style tale of two lovers from warring tribes, who lived close to the woods and were forbidden from seeing each other. Their tribes knew that they would not give up their love, and so conspired to poison them both. When the lovers met at their secret rendezvous point to eat together, they did not know that their food had been poisoned. They died in each other’s arms and were buried on separate mountains, the woman on Mount Tamalpais and the man on Mount Diablo. Their ghosts have been seen wandering through Muir Woods, and sometimes on Mount Diablo as well, trying to find each other once more.
The Pirate’s Cove Spectre
In the 19th century, a French pirate named Hippolyte de Bouchard carried out raids in California, often frequenting Pirate’s Cove in Muir Woods. According to legend, he buried some treasure there but was never able to reclaim it. His ghost has been seen at Pirate’s Cove at dusk, looking for the buried treasure that he lost. The ghost of his first mate is also sometimes seen, with a noose around his neck and a maniacal look on his face. Some hikers do not venture there alone after dusk, for fear of meeting one of these truly terrifying spectres.
So, dare you set foot in these haunted woods? Let Gray Line San Francisco be your ghoulish guides on this Muir Woods Tour! Alternatively, feel free to contact us for more information on our spectacular tours of San Francisco!