If you happen to find yourself in San Francisco looking for an inexpensive family adventure, I highly recommend Muir Woods National Monument!
I can often be heard complaining about my husband having to go away more often than I’d like – which, really, is anything more than one night at a time . Even I have to admit though, it’s not always a bad thing in that we’re often lucky to be able to go with him.
We were recently very lucky to be able to join him on a trip to SUNNY San Francisco. It’s been a heck of a winter here on the East Coast, so the idea of traveling anywhere snow free was very appealing to all of us. One perk of owning your own company is that he’s usually able to pick his travel dates as per what works for us and this was one of those times – we were able to book it around the kids’ March Break.
Our trip was fabulous, with glorious sunshine for 13 of the 14 days we were there. So much sun made it easy to work in several outdoor adventures, requiring no boots, hats, mitts, or coats! One of the best we had was our visit to Muir Woods National Monument. It’s a forest of redwood trees along the Pacific Coast, just 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The drive to get into the park was amazing in itself…for me, “petrifying” more aptly describes the narrow roads and heights along the drive, but I tend to scare easily. As long as I kept my eyes up, I was able to ignore the drops off the side of the road and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
When we arrived, we found parking to be a bit of a challenge. The lots are not very big and the park is super popular (people come from all over the world to see these enormous trees!), so I recommend aiming to arrive at the park early…like, before 10 am. We got lucky and snagged a spot on the side of the road then made our way to the start of the park.
Right from the beginning, before starting on any of the trails, we were awestruck at the size of the trees. It’s so funny to see everyone walking around looking up. Before we left the house, I heard all sorts of “why do we have to go look at a bunch of trees?”, but I heard nothing of the sort after we arrived. We picked the Ocean View Trail, hoping to get to the look-off over the Pacific Ocean. The scenery in the park is breathtaking and the redwood trees are HUGE! It’s really hard to imagine a tree could grow to be that big, let alone an entire forest of them. They grow in clusters and act almost like a family, protecting each other and making sure the “family” continues to flourish…so cool!
Our chosen trail started on a wooden boardwalk, but quickly turned into a narrow and sometimes very steep uphill climb. (Warning! If anyone in your group has trouble with heights, you may need to do some coaxing to get them to keep going!) For the most part, thankfully, the scenery was enough to keep our minds off how narrow and steep the path was. The only complaint I have about the trail was the lack of signage…we walked up and up for well over an hour in search of the trail for the look-off and saw only one sign indicating how much further we had to go and finally ended up having to turn around to head back before we found it. Back at the bottom of the trail, we promptly grabbed a map (don’t ask why we didn’t take one when we started!) to see how far we were from the look-off trail. Turns out we had walked right past it!
Aside from our disappointment at not getting to look out over the Pacific Ocean, we had an incredible day…exercise, education, nature, plenty of sunshine and NO SNOW! What more could someone from the East Coast hope for in March?! Next time you’re in San Francisco, be sure to plan a day trip to visit Muir Woods – it’s a great outing that’s fun for the whole family!