Muir Woods & Area, CA
click here to create a parking reservation). The park entrance fee is separate from the parking fee, and obviously they are trying to avoid conflicts in the parking lot by requiring reservations to park. However, you do not need to drive a car there, as there are a number of Bus Tour Companies who will transport you to & from the park.
It is no doubt highly likely that everyone knows that Muir Woods is named after named after the naturalist John Muir. The story of how that came about is interesting and I would suggest that you read the Wikipedia Article about this story by clicking here. Saving these beautiful trees from greed & politics took some doing.
Muir Woods is but 49 miles from Santa Rosa via U.S. 101, and with the Pandemic in effect, we did not encounter much traffic. Although there is a gift shop at the park, which does have a limited amount of "snacks", if you plan to have coffee or a meal before entering the park, you should consider finding something in Manzanita, CA which is the U.S. 101 exit for the park.
Muir Woods Park is at the bottom of a canyon once known as "Redwood Canyon"; a long twisty road with numerous switchbacks as it descends to the parking lot area.
Muir Woods National Monument protects 554 acres of which 240 are old growth coast redwood trees. The majority of the trees (in this park) are between 600 and 800 years old and even though redwoods can grow up to 380 feet in height, the tallest tree in Muir Woods is 258 feet in height.
There are a small number of trails in the park, the trail that we walked is named the "Redwood Creek Trail". See the National Park Service website (above) for information on the other trails.
As we drove out of the park and headed back to the top of Redwood Canyon, we did some quick map research and saw that Muir Beach was only 3 miles down California route 1 and Stinson Beach was just 6 miles north of Muir Beach. Rather than driving back to U.S. 101 and returning to Santa Rosa that way, we decided to take a leisurely drive up the coast and then drive on California route 116 to Petaluma where we could rejoin U.S. 101.
We were aware that Muir Beach is a basic bedroom community without much in the way of commercialism, so our thoughts were that we would have lunch in Stinson Beach. The beach there is 3.5 miles in length and comprised of a fine white sand that is unusual in California - and it is considered to be one of the best beaches in Marin County. We were not able to find any place that looked like it offered lunches that wasn't crowded (and there weren't many !), so we picked up some snacks at the Stinson Beach Market and continued our drive north.
NOTE: Other than "The Siren Canteen", "The Sand Dollar Restaurant" and the "Stinson Beach Market" it does not appear to be anywhere else that offers food.
- California Road Trip Overview Page: This page will give you a view of the entire trip, including maps and other information regarding each of our destinations; click here to read more.
- San Francisco: our arrival airport as well as our first adventure in California - we explored it via walking, cable car as well as uBer. Click here to view our San Francisco page.
- Bonita Point & Sausalito: We visited this area as we drove north from San Francisco to wine country. Click here to view our Bonita Point & Sausalito page.
- Santa Rosa / Sonoma County: This is the heart of Sonoma Wine Country, and we explored this area with enthusiasm. Click here to view our Santa Rosa / Sonoma County page.
- Muir Woods National Monument: One of the few Coast Redwood Forests remaining, the trees are stunning. After hiking about, we headed north through Muir Beach & Stinson Beach. Click here to view our Muir Woods National Monument page.
- Rush Creek Lodge & Spa: . A beautiful place to stay, right on California Route 120 at the western edge of Yosemite National Park. Click here to view our Rush Creek Lodge & Spa page.
- Yosemite National Park: A large and beautiful park, with amazing geography. Click here to view our Yosemite National Park page.
- Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno, CA: We discovered this interesting place as we were searching for a good lunch spot in Fresno. The way it was built, and how the builder created such a fascinating home was well worth the time we spent there. Click here to view our Forestiere Underground Gardens page.
- Santa Barbara, CA: This was the start of our "coastal drive" through California, and this city is such a great place to start such a drive. Click here to view our Santa Barbara page.
- Coast Highway, CA: Even though we were looking forward to seeing Monterey, part of our enthusiasm was due to being able to drive north on this highway. Click here to view our Coast Highway page.
- Monterey, CA: Somewhat of a "living museum" but now adjusting to life as a "tourist destination", this is a neat town that has a split personality, ie; one part bayside beach tourist town and the other part a typical California beach town where residents live. Click here to view our Monterey page.
- Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA: This was a day trip drive we took to Carmel-by-the-Sea as we drove south to hike at Point Lobos. Click here to view our Carmel page.
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