You can drive to Muir Woods with a parking reservation, ride a bus there with a shuttle reservation, or hike to Muir Woods with no reservations. The one thing you can’t do is drive through Muir Woods. Once you arrive here, there is no road through the canyon itself, and the old-growth redwoods are not visible from any road. Regardless of how you reach the park, the only way to see the redwoods is to walk, travel by wheelchair etc. The major park areas along the canyon floor are all accessible to the disabled.
This video shows the drive up the mountain to Muri Woods from Mill Valley. Scroll down for a video of the ride from Muir Woods down to Muir Beach.
Muir Woods access and parking are now controlled by a reservations system. You can read our page about Muir Woods tickets and reservations here.
Insiders Tip: There is little no to cell phone or Wi-fi service at Muir Woods and in the Muir Woods parking lots. Don’t make any plans that require you to call someone from there, to check your email or messages, or to use a website like Uber or Lyft. If you bought a parking pass, be sure to download it BEFORE you leave. With no wi-fi or cell access up there you can’t just download the pass at the parking entrance, and without a code to scan the attendants can’t admit you to the parking lot (a sad story I see with frustrated folks almost every time I go).
Riding The Shuttle
The Muir Woods Shuttle operates only on weekends during the winter, and runs seven days a week during the busy summer travel season. If you’re visiting on a weekend and don’t have a car, it’s a convenient way to get there. Click here for our page about the shuttle buses.
Driving to Muir Woods
You can read about the new parking reservations system here. You must have a parking reservation before coming up the mountain to the park, since there’s (almost) no wi-fi or cell service here and therefore you can’t buy a pass once you’re here. Parking passes also sell out well in advance most times of year.
Insiders Tip: If you’re driving to Muir Woods, be sure you’re not running low on gas. Once you leave it will take around 15 to 20 minutes to reach the closest gas station, and even the trip down the mountain has some uphill segments that burn gas faster.
Insiders Tip: is there someone in your group who gets carsick easily? The narrow road up to Muir Woods is not that long, but it does have lots of twists and turns. If you do drive your car and someone is especially susceptible to motion sickness (like one of the editors of OurSausalito, and please don’t ask about the gory details) we recommend providing them with Dramamine, letting them ride shotgun, and/or doing whatever else will make the trip more pleasant. The video above will make this point better than any words we can write.
Although the map at the bottom of this page may look complicated, getting to Muir Woods is simple: exit 101 at the Highway 1 exit in Mill Valley and follow the signs for Highway 1 to Stinson Beach and Muir Woods. Go up the hill until the sign tells you to turn right on Panoramic Highway for Muir Woods. Take Panoramic Highway until you see the sign to turn left on Muir Woods Road, which takes you to the park. The signs along the route are large and clear.
Hike to Muir Woods
Several “back door” hiking trail routes allow you to enter Muir Woods without parking an entrance fee. Why do they allow this? Because all the routes are at least strenuous (and often long and steep), and there is almost no parking for the closer trail access points on the mountain.
If you enjoy long, steep hikes then the hike to Muir Woods is the way to go for you. With that settled, an online search for hiking routes to Muir Woods will give you options. The most beautiful choice — and one of the toughest — is to hike up the Dipsea Trail from Stinson Beach.
Insiders Tip: Beware of websites that promise short walks from nearby narrow residential streets as an easy hike. Those streets are tiny and have almost no non-resident parking. Mill Valley earns 17.6% of its annual city budget (I just made up that number) from tickets the police give cars that try to park in the hills near Muir Woods. The two small parking lots near the Mountain Home Inn on Panoramic Highway usually fill up early in the morning.