If you’re planning a trip to Muir Woods National Monument in California, you might wonder how to secure a reservation. As a Bay Area local, I used to go to Muir Woods before reservations were required.
Now, though, in order to protect the delicate ecosystem of the old-growth redwoods, the park requires visitors to reserve a parking spot, tour, or shuttle ride to the park in advance.
Here’s everything you need to know about Muir Woods reservations and visiting the woods.
Planning to visit Muir Woods? Check out our list of the top Muir Woods tours from San Francisco.
How do you make reservations for Muir Woods?
There are two ways to make reservations for Muir Woods National Monument:
- Online reservation through the park’s website: You can make a reservation online through the park’s website. Visit the Muir Woods National Monument website and click on “Reserve Now”. From there, you can choose your preferred date and time for your visit, select the number of people in your group, and make a reservation for either parking or shuttle ride. You will need to provide your personal information and pay the reservation fee with a credit card.
- Reservation through a tour operator: You can also make a reservation through a tour operator that offers Muir Woods tours. This is a good option if you want to combine your Muir Woods visit with other activities or attractions in the area, or avoid the hassle of driving and parking.
Here are a few of the most popular Muir Woods tours you can consider:
- Muir Woods & Sausalito Half-Day Tour (Return by Bus or Ferry from Sausalito)
- Muir Woods Tour of California Coastal Redwoods (Entrance fee included)
- Small Group Half Day Muir Woods and Sausalito Morning Tour
The Best Time of Day to Visit
The best time of day to visit Muir Woods National Monument is early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset every day, and it’s busiest during the midday hours.
You don’t want to wander among the majestic redwoods while shoving past throngs of tourists!
By arriving early in the morning or later in the afternoon, you can avoid the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful visit. Additionally, the lighting during these times can be particularly beautiful, especially when the sun is low in the sky and filters through the trees. (See the photo at the top of this post.)
If you’re planning to hike in the park, it’s also a good idea to start early to avoid the heat of the day and ensure that you have enough time to complete your hike before the park closes.
If possible, avoid visiting Muir Woods on the weekends. As a local, I love to visit during the week, when crowds are less intense.
How Long to Spend at Muir Woods
The amount of time you should spend at Muir Woods National Monument depends on your interests and what you want to see and do in the park. Here are some factors to consider:
- Hiking: Muir Woods has miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. If you plan to hike in the park, you should allow at least 2-3 hours to complete a moderate hike, or more if you plan to do a longer or more strenuous hike.
- Guided tours: Most Muir Woods tours allow for 90 minutes in the park. That’s plenty of time to see the trees, take some photos, and grab a tasty snack at the cafe, which is excellent.
I usually like to visit Muir Woods, walk down the flat trail through the main grove and Cathedral Grove, cross the bridge, and walk back on the other side of the stream. That whole route takes about 60 minutes, which leaves time to grab a snack or ice cream afterwards.
Can Muir Woods Sell Out?
Yes, Muir Woods National Monument can sell out, especially during peak season (June-August) and on weekends. Since the park implemented a reservation system, it’s a good idea to reserve your tour or shuttle tickets in advance.
Parking requires advanced reservations, too. I’ve seen people get into fights over Muir Woods parking before they implemented the reservation system–it’s not pretty!
If you want to be certain you can get in, booking a tour is the safest option.
The Cost of Muir Woods Parking
Here are the parking costs at Muir Woods as of 2023:
- Cars: $9
- Electric Vehicles: $12
- Accessible Parking: $9
- RVs and big vehicles: $30-45
You can grab parking here.
Are You Allowed to Drive Through Muir Woods?
Nope! Although driving through a hollowed-out redwood tree feels like a quintessential California activity, you’ll have to head up to Mendocino County and their giant sequoias to do that.
Muir Woods has old-growth redwoods that weren’t logged, so no one has cut holes through them, and you can’t drive among the trees.
Muir Woods National Monument is a beautiful and unique destination that is home to some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world. To protect the park’s delicate ecosystem and prevent overcrowding, the park has implemented a reservation system.
Grab your reservation tickets and parking, or book a tour to visit this amazing natural wonder. I love Muir Woods, and you will too!