Muir Woods National Monument is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area and is a unit of the National Park Service which protects 554 acres of Coastal Redwood forest. The coastal redwood is the tallest tree species in the world, reaching up to 379 feet. These trees only thrive in Northern California and southern Oregon due to the thick fog that blankets the west coast in the summer months.
Muir Woods contains one of the few remaining old-growth redwood stands in the San Francisco Bay Area, these trees are between 600-800 years old, but can live up to 2200 years! Back in the day, there were an estimated 2 million acres of old-growth forest, but by the early 1900’s, most of these forests had been cut down by the logging industry. Where Muir Woods stands today (known as Redwood Canyon then) was actually very hard to reach so it remained untouched.
In 1905, Senator William Kent bought 611 acres of this land with the goal of protecting these redwoods. When the land was threatened again, this time by a water company planning to dam Redwood Creek and flood the area, the Kents donated it to the federal government, and on January 9th, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a National Monument, protecting the land permanently. President Roosevelt wanted to name the Monument after Kent, but Kent insisted that it be named after John Muir, his good friend in the conservation movement who had helped establish the National Park System. And so, Muir Woods National Monument was born.
When the Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937, the number of visitors to the Woods tripled that year. Now it is one of the major tourist attractions of the San Francisco Bay Area with over a million visitors per year. It is located about 12 miles north of San Francisco in Marin County, down a fairly winding road skirting the edge of Mount Tamalpais.
While the redwood trees are what draw everyone into the Monument, there is more to the story of an old-growth forest. It is a home for numerous species of flora and fauna, unique to this ecosystem and it is part of what makes Northern California such a special place to visit.
See the amazing history stored in the rings of these Giant Redwoods
Learn about the history of Muir Woods before heading out to explore
Walk among the Giants at Muir Woods National Monument
Experience the serenity of Muir Woods’ secluded pathways
Stroll through the serene beauty of Muir Woods National Monument