If you decide to get away from the City, or take a break from Wine Country, then head to Muir Woods. It’s a short drive from San Francisco and over the Golden Gate Bridge. Enjoy 560 acres of an ancient redwood forest that is truly a gem. (Aren’t they all?) The winding drive to the forest through the Marin Headland’s hills is spectacular. Redwoods reach for the sun, and the forest floor is cool and damp.
There are 3 walks at Muir Woods, ranging from one-half hour to 1.5 hours. If you want a longer hike, go for it. The forest park itself is paved to make it easy for wheelchairs and moms with strollers. The longer hikes are unpaved.
In California, there are two different species of redwoods. Muir Woods has the coastal redwoods. Most of the old-growth redwoods have been logged, but some remain and are protected. You will find these redwoods in the Redwood National and State Parks throughout Oregon and California. The forest at Muir Woods was spared because it was difficult to reach.
The other species of redwood is the giant sequoia. These are bulkier and they’re not as tall as the coastal redwoods. The giant sequoias are in Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
The coastal redwoods, the type that are in Muir Woods, are the tallest living things on earth. The Bohemian and Cathedral groves contain the biggest trees in Muir Woods. One is 252 feet tall and one 14 feet wide. Most trees range in age from 800-1000 years old.
They are long-lived partly because their dense bark protects them from fires. Redwood bark, with its heavenly scent, is spongy, fibrous, and ranges in thickness anywhere from 6 to 12 inches. It’s good insulation against fire.
If the crowds are too large, Muir Woods is an easy escape. A place to reclaim your peace.