I spent Saturday afternoon at Muir Woods: one of the only remaining habitats of the Giant Redwood Tree.
Sequoia sempervirens is the sole living species of all the Sequoias. Common names include coast redwood, California redwood, and giant redwood. It is an evergreen tree that can live 1200–1800 years or more! This species includes the tallest trees on Earth, reaching up to 379 feet tall and up to 26 feet in diameter. Before commercial logging of the 1850s, this massive tree occurred naturally all along much of coastal California and Oregon (where it rains a lot!). They estimate that more than 95% of the original redwood forest has been cut down, and Muir Woods is one of the few places the tree grows today. (Source: wikipedia)
This park is beautiful! It’s very secluded and cut off from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s 15 miles up a windy road with gorgeous views during the drive. When you get to the park, you’ll notice that it’s colder, so bring a jacket!
The park is fenced off and protected by the National Park Service, so you know it’s nice! There is one main trail through the park with a creek in the middle (nothing beats the sound of a babbling brook!). The main trail is about a mile long; I did it in an hour, but you should plan to take your time and enjoy the forest around you. The park also includes a few off-shoot trails for those seeking more adventure. A total of 6 miles of hiking, all with great views of the redwoods – the tallest living things in the world.
I don’t think this picture needs much explanation, but I did want to mention that I am 5’6″. That means if you do some fancy calculations (with that software they use on CSI), you can find out that this tree was 46″ in diameter. Okay, I didn’t do any math… there was a plaque. The rings are labeled by year, and the distinct white ring closest to the edge is the Declaration of Independence.
Not only is this park a great retreat to nature, but it’s also a fun thing to do on a foggy day. This park is located in a valley, so the fog rolls right over. So if your bridge-gawking plans were thwarted by the fog, why not try Muir Woods?
I tried to capture people in some of my photos so you could get an idea of how big these trees are!
Muir Woods is located north of SF in Marin County. Just drive across the GG Bridge and take the Stinson Beach exit, then follow the signs. There is plenty of parking (if you don’t mind walking) and nice clean bathrooms. It’s $7 for adults, but on Sept 29 admission is free. Most of the paths are paved and very wheelchair accessible. And it’s pronounced meer. Apparently, the person who named this park didn’t understand how letters work. More info at www.nps.gov/muwo.