Muir Woods National Monument

The first day of our Memorial Day weekend getaway, my hubby and I planned to spend the afternoon exploring the Muir Woods National Park, then head towards our hotel in Napa.

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In the morning, we dropped Harley off at the kennel – which was slightly traumatic because it’s the first time we’ve taken her to a new kennel since moving. Our last kennel was pretty fancy schmancy and was called a ”pet resort” rather than a kennel. In contrast, this kennel is more like a ranch style kind of place where the dogs are allowed to run around together more freely. We were a little worried that Harley would display her typical only child syndrome and snap at another dog for taking a ball or something… but my excitement for our weekend plans overpowered my worry about my pup, and we quickly dropped her off and were on our way towards San Francisco!

From what I’ve heard and seen online, I knew that Muir Woods is a popular redwood forest destination, but I did not expect it to be quite so crowded. Unbeknownst to me until we got there, it was the first day of the popular season at the park, and the tourists certainly came out. When we got into the vicinity of the park, we saw signs saying that the parking lots were full and that we needed to park in an overflow area and take a shuttle to the park.

Once we got to the park, we hiked around for a couple of hours while snapping photos and enjoying the wonder that is redwood trees.

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I thought that the fallen trees around the park were pretty cool. We read that the park monitors tilting trees, and when they think a tree is going to fall soon, they rope the area off and just let it fall on its own.

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A few facts:

  • Redwoods can grow to 379 feet tall 
  • The trees live up to 2,000 years old
  • The forest land was bought in 1905 by a wealthy couple who wanted to protect one of the last stands of uncut redwoods
  • In 1908 President Roosevelt proclaimed the area a national monument

Though there were a ton of people visiting, the park is so massive that it’s pretty easy to get away from the crowds once you get past the entrance – especially once you get on trails that have some elevation. Lucky for us, a lot of people avoid a workout so we were able to wander off and hike to a quiet spot to just sit and enjoy the scenery. 🙂

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Once we had had our fill of Muir Woods, we waited on a long line for the shuttle back. A note about transportation: Even though we were there on a bustling holiday weekend, if we go back to the park again, I definitely think that we’d just try to drive up there and find parking ourselves. I get motion sickness on buses, and it’s a very twisty drive to get to the park. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling so hot getting to and from our car. You also spend a good amount of time waiting for the shuttle and driving only about 5 MPH up hills in it.

We munched on protein bars and lots and lots of sweet cherries during our afternoon (my current obsession!), but were starving for some dinner by the time we got to my car. We decided to try a Greek restaurant we passed nearby called Dipsea Cafe. I ordered falafel with tzatziki for an appetizer, and spanakopita (a spinach and feta filo pie) with Greek potatoes and salad:

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I love Greek food! It was a perfect pit stop before our drive to Napa to fill our bellies.

It’s not surprising that Muir Woods is a popular destination for both American and international tourists alike. I think the park is gorgeous and definitely worth seeing. Visiting Muir Woods was a great start to our little mini weekend vacay!

2 thoughts on “Muir Woods National Monument

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