Insiders Tip: If you want to visit Muir Woods, be sure to buy your parking or shuttle tickets early. We anticipate that during the summer travel season both kinds of tickets will sell out many weeks (yes, MANY weeks) in advance. You cannot go to a Muir Woods Shuttle bus stop and get a reservation on the spot — they can only be purchased online in advance — we have links below.
Insiders Tip: There is no cell service or WiFi service at Muir Woods itself — it’s in a mountain “dead zone.” If you need to download your parking pass, call anyone, arrange a ride or anything that you do on a cell phone, do so before taking the Muir Woods shuttle or leaving home.
The Muir Woods Shuttle
As of January 1, 2018, access to Muir Woods is controlled by a reservation system, similar to the one used at the National Park Service’s Alcatraz Island. The old Muir Woods Shuttle has now been replaced with dedicated service operated by a parks concessionaire.
Here are the bullet points you need to know about the new Muir Woods Shuttle for 2018:
- Service now runs every weekend all year round, where before it operated during the late spring, summer and on holidays
- Weekday service will operate during the peak travel season from June 18 to August 10 and on holidays, though the precise schedule has not yet been released
- There will be no parking outside the Muir Woods lots. The old shoulder areas along the narrow roadside are now “No Parking” zones, and if you don’t ride the shuttle you’ll need to make and pay (well in advance) for a (scarce) parking reservation
- You need to make an online reservation to get a shuttle seat, and there is no support for walk-ups at the shuttle bus stops
- Your shuttle round trip will cost just $3.00, instead of $5.00 (there’s some good news for you!)
- There are three bus stops for Muir Woods shuttle riders instead of two, and their schedules are similar to each other. This is far better than the confusing different days and times in the old system
- When you make a reservation for the shuttle you have to pick which parking lot you’ll travel from and what time you want to go — when a time slot is sold out in a location no more reservations are sold for that bus stop and/or that time
- You still get to choose when you take the return bus back down the mountain to your bus stop, and you can stay all the way to when they close the park if you wish BUT…
- They still warn visitors that the last buses of the day could fill up — we need to see if the new shuttle service leaves people stranded in the parking lot with no cell service and no WiFi, as did the old Muir Woods Shuttle, or if they have fixed this irresponsible part of the old system
- You can cancel a shuttle reservation and get a full refund up to 72 hours ahead of your scheduled trip
- All Muir Woods shuttles can board passengers in wheelchairs
- Service animals for disabled passengers are permitted on the Muir Woods Shuttle and in Muir Woods. All other animals are not permitted. This article answers many questions about service animals and the ADA.
- Lots of people who want to go to Muir Woods won’t get to go because shuttle and parking reservations sell out, and the Park Service expects the visitor count to drop by 200,000 people or more from last year. That means that 200,000 people who wanted to go to Muir Woods may be turned away and disappointed because all the parking spots and shuttle seats have already been sold.
Making Muir Woods Shuttle Reservations
Visitors can make Muir Woods shuttle reservations up to 90 days in advance of your visit. We recommend that you reserve as far in advance as possible in order to secure the ideal dates and times for your visit. Click here to go to the Muir Woods reservations website.
Insiders Tip: The new website has some flaws that can make you think that no reservations are available on a given day when there are lots of free seats and parking places. We give you step by step instructions on how to avoid these problems under the heading “Using the New Muir Woods Reservations System” on our Muir Woods Tickets and Reservations page.
On the Muir Woods reservations system home page, look at the upper right hand corner of the screen. Click on the date there to display a calendar so you can choose the date you want to visit, then click on the “Reserve Now” button to go to the order page. On the order page you’ll need to:
- Choose which of the three Muir Woods bus stops in Sausalito you’ll start from, then…
- Choose what time you’ll want to take a bus from that stop
- Enter how many tickets you want to buy (it defaults to zero), and you have to enter a number before you’ll be allowed to…
- Go to the check-out page and use your credit card to pay the $3.00 per seat reservation fee
You can reserve up to ten seats on the same bus on a single transaction.
When you arrive at the shuttle stop of your choice be sure to bring a printed copy of your reservation, which will have a bar code and the date and time you’ve selected — it’s very similar to the ticket systems used for concerts and Giants games. You’ll buy your Muir Woods ticket once you get to the front gate.