Muir Woods is the home of the towering trees that date back more than a century. These trees once covered the continent over a million years ago and now, due to logging, are found only in pockets of protected lands in the West Coast. President Theodore Roosevelt himself declared Muir Woods a national monument in 1908.
This piece of history is only a little over an hour’s drive away. The drive into the park itself is thrilling, graced by winding turns that sweep through precarious slopes. If you plan to visit on the weekend, arrive before 9 a.m. to find a good parking space and get free admission ($5 for adults; no charge for kids under 13).
The park offers trails ranging from easy strolls that are wheel-chair accessible to steep canyon trails. For something between, follow the main trail to Cathedral Grove and you’ll feel like you’re descending through time. The narrow path features series of steps that curve upward between the colossal trees. Step carefully over the tree roots that snake across the narrow path carved along the side of a steep slope.
Take a moment and stop. The scent is magnificent. Fragrant bay laurel leaves cascade in the cool breeze. You can also catch mint, basil and sweet vanilla grass. The rich essence of the redwood is pungent, wet and spicy. Redwoods towering above are covered in thick red bark embossed with textures carved by centuries of time. Across your path is the twisted trunk of a bigleaf maple covered in bright green moss. Sunlight filters between the shadows of the forest and stops to glisten on the large crisp leaves.