Muir Woods Tour

Old Jan 8, 18, 9:04 am
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Muir Woods Tour

I was thinking of taking one of the Muir Woods tours. Really, all I am after is transportation to the park, the ability to sightsee along the way without having to worry about driving, and not having to worry about all kinds of reservations, making sure I time my reservation right for the bus trip, etc. I'd like time to just walk around the woods, not a formal tour nor a rugged hike. And, I know this is almost heresy to say, but I am not allergic to tourists and crowds, so it is not like I am desperate to go at an unpopular hour or avoid crowds.
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Old Jan 8, 18, 9:53 am
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Not a bad idea, Cloudship. It has the virtue of simplicity. I'm not familiar with any private tour operators, but perhaps someone here is.
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Old Jan 10, 18, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
I was thinking of taking one of the Muir Woods tours. Really, all I am after is transportation to the park, the ability to sightsee along the way without having to worry about driving, and not having to worry about all kinds of reservations, making sure I time my reservation right for the bus trip, etc. I'd like time to just walk around the woods, not a formal tour nor a rugged hike. And, I know this is almost heresy to say, but I am not allergic to tourists and crowds, so it is not like I am desperate to go at an unpopular hour or avoid crowds.
Starting Jan 16, parking and shuttle reservations are required: https://www.nps.gov/muwo/planyourvisit/reservations.htm

I think if you were able to grab your preferred date/time to drive and park yourself, it should be worry-free.
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Old Jan 10, 18, 10:21 am
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For anyone interested in a more active approach to Muir Woods, I highly recommend this 4.4-mile loop hike that starts near the Mountain Home Inn: Mountain Home - Muir Woods in Mill Valley, CA, United States | MapMyHike
Parking is never a worry. Sometimes you can find a space in the small lot across from the Mountain Home Inn. If not, you can park on the dirt road just to the north: Gravity Car Road: https://www.google.com/maps/@37.9111...!5m1!1e1?hl=en

This is a single track trail with some steep sections. No special gear required, but it would be challenging for anyone with less than average mobility or stamina. Still, I've seen lots of young kids handle the hike just fine. Your reward for the workout is spectacular scenery the whole way. By the time you're done, you'll have seen >1000 redwoods. The middle portion of the hike is the main, flat walkway familiar to tourists. You can stop at the visitors' center to get a snack, souvenir or to use the restroom.
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Old Jan 10, 18, 11:35 am
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So before the 16th - is the shuttle first come first served? That would explain why I wasn't able to make a reservation. Or is it not running yet?
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Old Jan 10, 18, 11:43 am
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No guarantees, but I think the next week is likely to have low visitor numbers at Muir Woods. It's been relatively cold and rainy, so that will keep many locals away. And it's low season for tourism.
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Old Jan 11, 18, 4:20 am
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
So before the 16th - is the shuttle first come first served? That would explain why I wasn't able to make a reservation. Or is it not running yet?
The reservations system is, I believe, only for January 16, 2018, and later. (Ideally, it should tell you that rather than just failing to make a reservation, but.... )

Oh, and the shuttle doesn't run every day. It runs mainly on weekends and holidays, except for a two-month period during the summer.

https://gomuirwoods.com/muir/shuttleParkingInfo
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Old Jan 11, 18, 10:22 am
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Iíve taken tours with Extranomical Tours

Itís your basic bus tour that goes to Muir Woods as well as continuing on to Sonoma. Weekdays are specially in the winter tend to be pretty sparsely populated so it doesnít feel quite as tour bus eat. Thereís often coupons on Groupon for discounts as well as on Goldstar.

https://www.extranomical.com/HTML_PA...A_REDWOODS.htm

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Old Jan 29, 18, 11:09 pm
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Let us know how it went, where you boarded, etc. I'm not keen on reusing the many metered systems in the Peninsula, a single-reservation tour should be relaxing.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 6:19 am
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I didn't end up going to Muir Woods. Apparently the shuttle was not yet running when I was there. Instead I ended up renting a car and driving down to Henry Cowell Redwoods Park in Felton. About a 45 minute drive from the airport. The trees are really impressive. The main walk was a bit shorter there than I had anticipated, though there are lot of other trails which you could easily do a couple day hike. The parking lot also serves the Roaring camp railroad, which was a nice ride as well. From there it was also a short drive down to Santa Cruz. The drive was hilly and twisty, but it wasn't on a cliff so heights were no issue. Rented from SilverCar so had an A4, and that was a blast to drive those roads.
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Old Jan 30, 18, 10:39 am
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Thanks for reporting back, Cloudship. As you discovered, Muir Woods is far from the only place to see lots of coastal redwoods around here. In fact, there are a half-dozen about 100 feet behind me right now in the Berkeley Hills. Redwoods, giant sequoias and live oaks contribute so much to the natural beauty of Northern California.
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Old Jan 31, 18, 3:30 am
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Yes, around Santa Cruz are many tall and beautiful ranges. Back in the day, the steam train from Felton was a relaxing ride through woods dappled with sunlight, even with the switchback drama around midway. My then-toddler son really loved it.

Cloudship, Muir Woods valley and the nearby overlook are still great places to spend an idle day away from the city, especially with the nice Trading Co. coffee shop.
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Old Feb 12, 18, 1:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Cloudship View Post
I didn't end up going to Muir Woods. Apparently the shuttle was not yet running when I was there. I.
Appears to be a trend

Perhaps research into operating hours etc before heading out (as was suggested in the other thread)
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Old May 16, 18, 11:58 am
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I was recently in San Francisco with my wife who wanted to visit Muir Woods. She didn't want to go on a tour, so we rented a car for a day. The parking reservation system works okay, but it appears that the earlier reservation holders have the best chance of parking near the entrance (we had a noon reservation, and were parked about a quarter mile away).

Last edited by Maglev; May 16, 18 at 7:19 pm
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Old May 17, 18, 12:08 am
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Originally Posted by Maglev View Post

I was recently in San Francisco with my wife who wanted to visit Muir Woods. She didn't want to go on a tour, so we rented a car for a day. The parking reservation system works okay, but it appears that the earlier reservation holders have the best chance of parking near the entrance (we had a noon reservation, and were parked about a quarter mile away).
That is certainly true. It's quite a hike from the overflow parking lots to the entrance. (But in most cases, that's OK, you're just getting some extra exercise. It does chew up a bit of your precious time if you're on a tight schedule.)

I hope that, since you had a car, you also took the opportunity to drive up to the peak of Mount Tamalpais State Park (or Mt. Tam, as it's popularly known), and (at least) take the short loop trail around. Mt. Tam (and the views from it) is truly a must-see if you are visiting Muir Woods and have your own transportation.

Did you visit any other places nearby, such as Muir Beach, Stinson Beach? Or China Camp (a State Park that's on the Bay rather than the ocean, but well worth a visit if you have the time)?

A tip for visiting California State Parks: many of them charge a parking fee (often $10 per vehicle for day use only), but if you visit more than one on the same day, you can use the same parking permit for all. (Don't know if there are any exceptions. There are quite a few State Parks that are near each other. Muir Woods is a National Monument rather than a State Park, so there are separate fees for that, of course.)
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