On a recent visit to California I made a quick run to (John) Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley. What should have been about a 2 hour drive quickly turned into a 3 hour + crawl in stand still traffic, but the delay was worth it. The drive down the California 1 and Panoramic Hwy into the grove of giant redwoods making the Muir Woods National Monument was absolutely gorgeous and it only got better. The crowd at the entrance and opening area of the park were a bit overwhelming, but quickly and easily evaded.
Once in the park we quickly separated ourselves from the pack by taking the direct climb up the Ocean View Trail. Though we were not entirely alone on this trail, there were probably only 3 or 4 other groups on that section of trail at the time. The giant redwoods not only provided marvels to gaze upon but also a cool shade protecting us from the sun and heat. After a couple of miles of climbing very well maintained trail the forest opens to a beautiful small window overlooking a section of the Pacific. The downhill from here is a very easy hike with trail stretched out nicely making no section to steep, no matter which trail you take.
Throughout the park we saw minimal trash, but it was sad to see a few beer cans stashed in the hollow of a tree. On a positive side to that, as soon as I picked up the can I saw a young lady seemed to miraculously appear out of thin air holding other cans and asked if she could take the mine. It was very nice to see someone there taking pride in the trails. Overall the entirety of the park is very clean and well maintained. Another nice layout to the park is the handicap accessible trails. The groves at the bottom of the park on the forest floor are weaved with deck flooring for wheel chairs, fencing and railing both to keep people on the set paths and protect the fragile ecosystem.
The Muir Woods National Monument is a true treasure to all. If you happen to be in the area or can make the trip you should absolutely put this stop on your list. It’s one anyone in the family is capable of participating in.
Confession: I did a little photo enhancing on some of these images, but it really doesn’t matter much. There is nothing you can do to an image that will give it the same feel and overall beauty of actually visiting the real place. Get out there!!!