Walking Amongst Giants
Muir Woods National Monument is a small growth of Coastal Redwoods that lies at the bottom of a steep ravine that saved it from early logging allowing it to be preserved much as it was hundreds of years ago. The area used to be covered with similar groves and Muir Woods stands as one of the few groves left in a pristine state. The little park lies at the northern part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is a true gem of the Bay Area.
Often over crowded with visitors the best times to visit are early morning in the middle of winter. Here a recent but all to brief storm had blown though knocking down limbs and pine needles that covered the trials and kept visitors to a minimum. Still by mid morning the parking lot was full of tour buses and cars.
The hike though Muir Woods is an easy trail a little over a mile and quite flat though you do have the option of heading off the paved section of trail and up the sides of the hills to view the trees from above. Several small streams feed the larger creek at the bottom of the ravine which is a natural spawning ground of Pacific Salmon each fall. The creek flows on down to a small but beautiful Muir Beach. The beach has recently been landscaped to return it to an earlier state and facilitated the migration of the salmon up the creek. It will be a while before the area recovers. However the beach is still worth visiting and trails head south in to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with some stunning views from the cliffs above.