The easiest ways to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco.
People come from all over the world to view the ancient coastal redwoods of Muir Woods. Some of these giant trees are over 2,000 years old and stand at over 300 feet tall! However, with over 19 million people visiting the Golden Gate National Recreation Area per year, Muir Woods has become limited in its parking options and can often become crowded on certain days of the year.
On January 15, 2018, Muir Woods moved to a reservation system for those who wish to park and visit the woods. You will not be able to park your car in the lot without a valid permit for a specific date and time, and these permits often are reserved several weeks and even months in advance.
This could pose a problem for folks trying to get to Muir Woods last minute, or who don’t have their own transportation. Getting there from San Francisco can often get complicated, but luckily we have a few solutions for you!
#1 – Rent a car
This solves the problem of getting to Muir Woods – but doesn’t solve the problem with the permit, which you absolutely need or you won’t be allowed to park in the lot adjacent to the woods. Another option is parking at Mt. Tamalpais and walking to the woods, but with thousands of people visiting the area every day, many of those spots will be taken as well. If you do happen to find a spot on Mt. Tamalpais, wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to travel a long way down to the woods, then up the steep hill coming back.
#2 – Uber/Lyft TO the Woods… but not back!
Technically, you can still take Uber to Muir Woods – although this may change in the future. The only problem is getting back. There is no cell signal or wifi in the woods, and thus ordering a car via your phone to return to San Francisco isn’t possible. There IS a pay phone at the woods (those still exist?!) so you can always order a cab… but then you’re looking at an over $100 fare for the round trip.
#3 – Bike across the Golden Gate Bridge
While we highly recommend biking across the Golden Gate bridge during your stay in San Francisco, getting to Muir Woods via the winding roads of Mt. Tamalpais can be a struggle. While it is possible, we only recommend this option for those who have lots of previous biking experience, or are training for the Tour de France.
#4 – Take the Muir Woods Shuttle
This option works if you are going to the woods on a weekend between May – October. You can either bike across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Sausalito Ferry Terminal, or take the ferry to Sausalito from the ferry building on Embarcadero. If you are taking the ferry over from San Francisco, make sure you double check the schedule of departures, or be prepared to wait an hour or so for the next one.
#5 – Take a Tour to Muir Woods via Biofuelled Van
Incredible Adventures offers a few different types of tours that give you direct, no hassle access to get to Muir Woods. We pick up at several central hotel locations, and drive you in a small group (never more than 13 people to a van) across the Golden Gate Bridge for a photo opportunity, before heading to Muir Woods.
There’s a couple pros to this option:
- Takes the hassle out of coordinating transportation.
- Costs less than what you’d pay to rent a car and deal with the permitting situation.
- It is kinder to the air – our vans run on biofuels that cause less harm to the environment. We do our part to keep beautiful areas like Muir Woods healthy for generations to come.
Our Muir Woods and Sausalito tour only takes a half day, and gives you the opportunity to not only explore the woods, but also explore charming Sausalito before you head back to San Francisco (either via ferry, or going back on the van). If you also want to explore another iconic part of Northern California, we also offer a tour that takes you to Muir Woods and Sonoma Wine Country, in which we visit two award-winning, family-owned wineries. Tastings are included in the price of your tour!
In addition to our easy access to get to Muir Woods, we can also combine either experience with guaranteed tickets to the famous Alcatraz, for either our day or night tour.