Travel & Day Trips

Is Muir Woods Near San Francisco? Info for Travelers

Do you ever dream of escaping the hustle and bustle of city life and immersing yourself in the serenity of an ancient forest? If you’re in San Francisco, your wish can come true! Muir Woods National Monument, a magnificent redwood forest, is just a short distance away and offers the perfect retreat from urban chaos.

In this blog post, we’ll answer the question: Is Muir Woods near San Francisco? Additionally, we’ll discuss why, despite being close, driving there can be challenging due to limited parking, and why taking a tour bus might be the better option.

We’ll also share some essential information, tips, and recommendations to help you plan your visit.

Muir Woods: A Quick Overview

Muir Woods National Monument is a protected area covering approximately 554 acres of old-growth coast redwood forests, nestled in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, Muir Woods is named in honor of the renowned naturalist and conservationist John Muir, who played a crucial role in creating the U.S. national parks system.

The Proximity of Muir Woods to San Francisco

Yes, Muir Woods is indeed near San Francisco, located a mere 16 miles north of the city. While the drive typically takes around 30 to 90 minutes, depending on traffic, the experience of getting there can be quite challenging due to limited parking.

The Parking Challenge and the Tour Bus Solution

Parking at Muir Woods is notoriously difficult, as spaces are limited and require reservations. You can book a parking space online in advance, but it’s often challenging to secure a spot, especially during peak season.

A better option for visiting Muir Woods is to take a tour bus. Several companies offer guided tours from San Francisco that include round-trip transportation, making the journey to Muir Woods hassle-free. This way, you won’t have to worry about parking, and you’ll have the added benefit of expert guidance through the forest.

Taking a tour bus also allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the stunning scenery along the way, without the stress of navigating unfamiliar roads. Moreover, many tour operators also include stops at other nearby attractions, like Sausalito, which makes for an even more enjoyable and comprehensive experience.

Here’s our list of the best Muir Woods tours.


Muir Woods National Monument is a must-visit destination for anyone in San Francisco seeking a peaceful escape into nature. While it is indeed close to the city, the challenges of limited parking make driving a less-than-ideal option for reaching this beautiful redwood forest.

Instead, consider taking a tour bus, which offers a stress-free, informative, and enjoyable way to explore Muir Woods and its surroundings. Happy exploring!

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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