If you enjoy being in the great outdoors and hiking, I highly suggest you visit Muir Woods just north of San Francisco! Before you go, be sure you have properly prepared for your trip as you do have to make parking reservations. I’ve included a couple of tips below to help your trip go as smoothly as mine did!
When to Visit
A lot of visitors say the best times to visit are September and October. I went Labor Day Weekend (Sunday, September 2) and the weather was wonderful! Originally, Ben (my boyfriend) and I had planned to visit Muir Woods around 10 or 11 in the morning, however when we went to reserve a parking spot the only slot open before 2 p.m. was 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.
This actually worked out great, we checked out of our awful hotel and got to the park a little before 9 a.m. (The entrance fees to the park are $10 per adult, children 15 and under are free). The weather was great and after we got away from the front of the park, we rarely ran into people on the trails.
Parking at Muir Woods
If you plan on driving a rental or personal vehicle to Muir Woods, you will need to make a parking reservation. If you will be walking, taking a shuttle bus or biking in, no reservation is required. Print or screenshot your parking voucher. We didn’t have service while at the park and for a portion of the drive to it!
Travel Tip #19: Set Your GPS!
That being said, the drive to and from San Francisco is beautiful and on a windy road at some points. Be sure you have your GPS set up before you get too close to Muir Woods. The address we used that took us right to the line to park: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941
For more information on parking or taking a shuttle to the park, click here. Shuttle tickets are $3 per adult and for us, a $2 savings wasn’t worth riding a shuttle bus and taking extra time out of our vacation.
Travel Tip #20: Make Your Reservation 2 Weeks in Advance
As I said above, the parking options for our weekend trip to Muir Woods was limited when I went to book it. Granted this was about a week and a half out from a holiday weekend. I would play it safe and book at least two weeks out! You must book before you arrive as there are no options to pay for parking onsite.
It depends on how much you plan on hiking. We walked 5.2 miles from roughly 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I would highly suggest taking note of the trail maps before you head down one! We made that mistake and when we eventually came to a trail head, we had to turn around and go back the way we came, otherwise we would have had to walk an additional 2 miles!
I wore a long-sleeved shirt with a lightweight pullover and black leggings (and of course my Nikes). Ben wore a t-shirt, windbreaker pullover and shorts. We spent most of the day with our pullovers on, but towards the afternoon we did take them off. I wouldn’t have been comfortable without my pullover in the morning, though, it was chilly!
Also, Ben would like me to mention that he was not doing anything inappropriate in the picture, we were just being funny!
Things to remember:
- Parking reservations ($8) are required, if you are driving to the park
- You have a 30-minute window, from your reservation time, to enter the park, but can stay until close
- Screenshot or print your parking voucher
- Entrance fees are $10 per adult
- Shuttle seats are $3 per adult (if applicable)
- Address: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941
Last, but not least, check the park’s website to make sure they are open! The unfortunate wildfires in November 2018, have caused the park to temporarily close due to poor air quality.
Hi friends! This is one post of my blog series for San Francisco! Be sure to check out all the great blogs I will post for this spontaneous Labor Day trip to see San Francisco. Also, don’t be shy! Let me know if you’ve been to San Francisco and what you loved and *gasp* hated!