Entry fee: $3 per person (17 and older)
Muir Beach and Muir Woods are named after famed naturalist, John Muir, whose writing advocated for conservation as an environmental ethic. Muir Woods is located 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge on Highway 101, and, if you have time for a day trip during your stay in SF, it is a sight to behold and not to be missed.
Muir Woods is home to the Red Wood tree. The Red Woods are billed as "the tallest living things." The Bohemian and Cathedral groves have the biggest trees in Muir Woods, one 252 feet tall and one 14 feet wide. Some of the trees are at least 1,000 years old. Venturing through the woods, you are profoundly impressed by the beauty and ancient, pre-historic quality of the surroundings. It feels magical, mystical, and medieval.
Muir Woods has loop walks in Redwood Canyon, and most of them are paved. For more rugged adventurers, unpaved trails out of the canyon link to the trails in Mt. Tamalpais State Park. I lacked the enthusiasm for a daylong hike, but spent about 2 hours going on a loop walk with my friends. By the end of the walk, I was so struck by the sublimity of the Red Wood trees, I was convinced I could live as a hobbit and set up house in the trunk of a giant Red Wood tree.