Nov 15, 2018 – The price to visit the Muir Woods National Monument — which was once free — will climb.
On January 9, 1908, with just the stroke of a pen, President Theodore Roosevelt used the powers of the Antiquities Act to create Muir Woods National Monument. William Kent, who donated the land for the monument, requested that it be named for noted conservationist John Muir.
Courtesy of Marin History Museum From left, John Muir, William Kent and the U.S. Forest Service’s Gifford Pinchot at Muir Woods Inn, circa 1909
In April 2018, the National Park Service (NPS) announced that Muir Woods National Monument (MUWO) would be one of the 115 fee-charging national parks to modestly increase entrance fees.
Effective January 1, 2019, the entrance fees to the park will be $15 per person (an increase from $10) and an annual park pass will cost $45. These changes come in response to public comments on a fee proposal released in October 2017.
Parking has always been a pain at Muir Woods. But, if you’re planning on driving up to Muir Woods, you won’t get very far if you haven’t reserved a parking spot first. Parking is limited, back on January 16th, 2018 you will need to make an reservation to secure a parking pass for one of the whopping 232 parking spaces.
Superintendent Laura E. Joss stated “In recent years the National Park Service has seen an impressive jump in visitation. The additional funds from entrance fees will provide much needed upgrades to Muir Woods and other parks across the country, as we welcome visitors from around the world and from our local communities.”
National parks have experienced record-breaking visitation, with more than 1.5 billion visitors in the last five years. Throughout the country, the combination of an aging infrastructure and increased visitation have put a strain on park roads, bridges, campgrounds, waterlines, bathrooms, and other visitor services. The increased entrance fees will raise additional revenue to address the $11.6 billion in maintenance backlog across the system of 418 parks, historic and cultural sites, and monuments.
All of the entrance fees collected will remain with the NPS. At least 80 percent of the revenue is designated for Muir Woods and the remaining 20 percent will be returned to a national fee revenue sharing program for use by parks that do not collect entrance fees.
Entrance fee funds will be utilized to update park water treatment systems, rehabilitate the visitor center, and upgrade trails and bridges through the iconic old growth redwood grove. The revenue from entrance fees will remain within the NPS and helps ensure a quality experience for all visitors. The NPS estimates that once fully implemented, the new fee structure will increase annual entrance fee revenue by about $60 million.
The price of the annual America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass and Lifetime Senior Pass will remain $80. Entrance fees are not charged to visitors under 16 years of age or holders of Senior, Military, Access, Volunteer, or Every Kid in a Park passes.
In January 2017 it was announced “Visiting Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley is about to get a little harder.”
Large crowds and overwhelming traffic have led officials to start capping visitors in January, 2017. Anyone hoping to visit the popular destination will now be required to have a reservation to park a vehicle or ride a shuttle bus into the park.
The only way to avoid having to make a reservation in advance is by hiking your way in.
The new system, managed by Ace Parking Management Inc, expects the daily parking reservations to vary based on the season – approximately 500 spaces in the low season and 900 in the peak. The reservation system will be open year-round on a website and a call center starting Jan. 1.
A bus tour to the park cost about $69.
Reviewed July 19, 2018
Way too short… Spent more time in traffic than at the park.
I was royally disappointed in this tour. The tour guide was very friendly and nice, gave LOTS of information about San Fran and everything leading up to Muir woods. We were told the tour would be 3 hours. I figured 3 hours IN Muir woods. The reality was that it took almost an hour to get there, and a little under an hour to get back.
We were allocated less than 1 hour in the woods. It was a huge disappointment considering that’s all I wanted to see, and it felt EXTREMELY rushed. We had to stick on the main path and could not go on the side trails because we would have missed the bus ride back.
They should tell you that in all reality that 3-hour tour is only an hour, and the rest is travel time.
Shame on me for not doing more researching. You can get a parking pass for $8 at the park (must reserve), then it’s only $10 per person. I feel ripped off that we spent close to $200 for 3 people to spend an hour at most in the actual Muir Woods site.
Bike Bus Tour
Bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, then catch our minibus for a round-trip ride up to Muir Woods & back to San Francisco!
All-inclusive tour including bike rental, shuttle bus tour to Muir Woods National Monument, and back to San Francisco!
Pick up bike from Dylan’s Tours bike shop & take a self-guided tour across the World-Famous Golden Gate Bridge; it’s a beautiful ride!
After dropping-off your bike in the waterfront town of Sausalito, enjoy your lunch along with spectacular views of the skyline.
In the afternoon, our guided shuttle bus tour departs for Muir Woods National Monument.
Spend over an hour walking around the majestic redwood trees, then enjoy a shuttle bus ride back to San Francisco, returning between 4-5PM.
Please note this tour has 2 hills and may be difficult for beginner bicycle riders.
What to expect
Pick-up your bike in the morning (between 9:15AM-10:30AM) from The Bike Shop (782 Columbus Ave). Before you hit the road, we’ll go through some basic safety precautions, ensuring you’re familiar with the bike, our suggested route, helmet and bike lock.
You will then begin your journey over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, with plenty of opportunities for photos. After making your way across the bridge, enjoy a leisurely downhill ride to the charming town of Sausalito, where you will drop-off your bike and can enjoy lunch on the beautiful waterfront.
The guided shuttle will depart Sausalito for Muir Woods Redwood National Park in the afternoon, at approximately 2PM. Upon arrival, we will suggest plenty of trails for you to follow as you spend over an hour with some of the oldest and tallest living things in the world. After exploring the beautiful redwoods, the shuttle will depart Muir Woods and will drop you right back in Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to complete your day.
Origin of Muir Woods
Muir Woods, one of the last stands of old growth redwoods along the Pacific Coast, has become a national treasure. Its preservation is because of one of Marin County’s first families, William and Elizabeth Kent, who purchased the land in 1905 from the Tamalpais Land & Water Co.
The Kents wanted to preserve the trees for posterity and in 1907, as a Sausalito water company threatened to take the land by imminent domain, the Kents donated the area around Redwood Canyon to the federal government.
In January 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt created the Muir Woods National Monument, writing to Kent, “All Americans … must feel that you have conferred a great and lasting benefit upon the whole country.” Roosevelt originally wanted to name the monument after its benefactor, but Kent would not allow it, writing “that to stencil one’s own name on a benefaction, seems to carry with it an implication … as being something purchasable.”
Kent insisted that the monument bear Muir’s name as he was the leading conservationist of his day.
Muir responded by writing to Kent, “This is the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
Dear Mr. Kent:
Seeing my name in the tender & deed of the Tamalpais Sequoias was a surprise of the pleasantest kind. This is the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world. You have done me great honor, & I am proud of it. Schools here & there have planted “Muir trees” in their playground, & long ago Asa Gray named several plants for me; the most interesting of which is a sturdy frost-enduring daisy that I discovered on the shore of the Arctic Ocean near Icy Cape; a Sierra peak also & one of the Alaska glaciers bears my name, but these aboriginal woods, barring human action, will outlast them all, even the mountain & glacier. Compared with Sequoia glaciers are young fleeting things, & since the first Sequoia forests lifted their domes and spires to the sky, mountains great and small, thousands of them, have been weathered, ground down, washed away & cast into the sea; while two of the many species of Sequoia have come safely through all the geological changed & storms that have fallen upon them since Cretaceous times, surviving even the crushing destroying ice sheets of the glacial period.
Saving these woods from the axe & saw, from money-changers and water- changers & giving them to our country & the world is in many ways the most notable service to God & man I’ve heard of since my forest wanderings began. A much needed lesson & blessing to saint & sinner alike & credit t& encouragement to God. That so fine divine a thing should have come out of money mad Chicago! Wha was’a’ thocht it [sic]! Immortal Sequoia life to you.
Kent was also a philanthropist and budding Liberal Progressive. Together with his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, he purchased 611 acres (2500 ha) of one of the last remaining stands of coast redwoods along Redwood Creek north of San Francisco Bay. To protect the redwood grove from development, he donated 295 acres (119 ha) to the federal government. President Theodore Roosevelt declared the area a national monument in 1908. He suggested naming the monument after Kent, who demurred and suggested the name Muir Woods National Monument, after naturalist John Muir.
Scottish-born American naturalist, writer, and advocate of U.S. forest conservation John Muir standing by a tree in Muir Woods National Monument, California, U.S. (c. 1902).