Thursday, September 19, 2013

Muir Woods National Monument

Reaching Skyward
Clustered in a small canyon at the base of Mount Tamalpais, North of San Francisco is a group of old-growth Coastal Redwoods known as Muir Woods; officially in Mill Valley, California; it is a world apart. This small forest makes up for its limited area by reaching skyward to unbelievable heights.  Some resident trees boast incredible altitudes, the tallest of which is 280 feet and though most are 500 to 800 years old, the oldest is 1,200 years old.

Getting to Muir Woods is as easy as crossing the Golden Gate from the South, or travelling down Highway 101 through Marin County from the North.  Once there, however, it can be difficult parking since spaces are limited and it may be a hike to the entrance. Admission costs $7.00 and once in, the first portion is wheelchair accessible.  Boardwalks, and paved paths encourage a pleasant stroll.

Knobby Wood

The trees are magnificent with awe inspiring canopies the same way a cathedral vault is grandiose, allowing ephemeral glimpses of half-perceived secrets.

Burly Growth Face

Each tree is in itself a monument if for no other reason than sheer size.  Some trees have massive knobby wood growths near the top, while other feature face-like burls on their trunks as if forced to put on a face for the curious onlookers.

Redwood Grove

Some of the most splendid trees are found here imperceptibly sipping from Redwood Creek, which winds down the slope collecting into small pools and spreading out into tiny arteries. A palpable life force extends from the stream to the trees, out their needles, and into the air; unmistakably flowing even on dryer days.

Hollowed Redwoods

Redwoods group into natural groves, sometimes bunching together invisibly bolstering each other on the long climb up to the sun.  Their bases form porous walls making temporary shelters and wild fires have hollowed redwood trunks for fauna seeking more substantial protection.

50 Shades of Green

Dappled sunlight filters it's way from above, highlighting over fifty shades of green: from verdant mosses to reddish olive to leafy emeralds.

Mystic Log
Dead stumps give new life to symbiotic growths taking on a mystic, furry quality in the shimmering light.

Fairy Forest

Dancing sun rays transform trees and ferns a fairy forest.

Hiking further afield; taking the Ben Johnson trail up from the visitor center, leads to the Pantol ranger station and campsite, which can also be reached by car.  With the forest below and the rest of Mount Tam above, comes the realization that parking at the station and hiking down an excellent option.  Up, or down, the trail is not easy but it is manageable and the exertion is full of nature's rewards.

Taking the Redwood Creek trail in the opposite direction away from the visitor center leads out of the forest, through meadows and gentle foothills down to Muir Beach where the creek empties itself in the sand and joins the Pacific Ocean.

Muir Beach


  1. Muy interesante...!! Te sigo en este blog....Un cálido saludo.

    1. Hola Idolidia!! Un millon de gracias y muy calido saludo de mi parte :)