Visiting Muir Woods with Kids – Ultimate Guide

Visiting Muir Woods with Kids – Ultimate Guide

When we headed to San Francisco there was one day trip that we knew we just had to do, a must when visiting San Francisco with kids , and that was visit Muir Woods National Monument! We love a National park and Muir Woods are so familiar to us having been seen on so many films and television programmes. I had really high expectations of the place and I can safely say neither me or the toddler were disappointed with our visit. Here we round up all the essential information you need to have a successful visit to Muir Woods with kids or toddlers in tow!

Visiting Muir Woods with Kids Tips and Tricks 

Organise your Muir Woods Car Parking and Shuttle in Advance

Visiting Muir Woods with Kids Tips and Tricks

Visiting Muir Woods with Kids Tips and Tricks

When we visited Muir Woods the new reservations systems for Muir Woods Car Parking and Shuttle had only just been introduced. The new system had been put in place to try to counter act the business of the park.

Now there is a whole parking reservation system and also a Muir Woods Shuttle Bus for those that get parking further away from the park. To book your reservation visit or call 1-800-410-2419.

It is essential to book your parking in advance as you can’t park without a reservation and also because there is no wifi or service at the park. If you arrive at the park without a reservation you will find yourself driving back into the nearest town to get signal to make your reservations and then have to drive back to the park. This is such a waste of your day so be sure to do this in advance.  

We were lucky to be visiting early in the day and in the off season so we got parking right near the entrance to the park but I have since heard that the shuttle is very well organized and ok to use with kids!

If you had needed to use the Muir Woods Shuttle it would take about 30 minutes. 

When to Visit Muir Woods National Monument 

We visited on an early Wednesday morning in February when there were no school holidays. If you can visit during the week in an off peak season this would be advisable as you can get the park pretty much all to yourself. The benefit of this was also our parking space was literally right night to the park which meant we didn’t have to use the shuttle service. 

Tips For Visiting Muir Woods With Toddler in Tow – Is Muir Woods Stroller Friendly? 

When we visited Muir Woods we visited with our two year old toddler. Our little girl is a pretty good hiker and what I loved about visiting Muir Woods with toddler in tow is that the boardwalks around the park meant that it was very easy for her to walk around the park on her own. 

And in answer to the question “is Muir Woods Stroller Friendly?” – it absolutely is again because of the boardwalks so you could even come to Muir Woods with a baby. 

What to Wear at Muir Woods

If traveling to Muir Woods with kids in a morning make sure you bring layers as it can get quite cool and foggy in the park.

If you are travelling during the summer don’t forget to bring the sun screen. Even though the magnificent trees provide great shade you will still want sun screen with you. 

What to see at Muir Woods National Monument

Visiting Muir Woods with Kids

The main attraction of the Muir Woods National Monument are the Sequoia Sempervirens aka the enormous Redwoods! They are the largest living things on earth and they are simply breathtaking! They look like they go on together and you will find yourself looking at the sky the whole walk round!

Near the entrance of the park there is a cut through tree which is a great thing to show kids to show the circles and dating method of the trees!

There are several paths within the woods and the site has about 6 miles of trails. As we were traveling with a toddler we decided to take some of the easier boardwalk paths! This was perfect as there were several bridges that meant you could do an easy loop of the park! The boardwalks also meant that it would have been possible to do with a stroller!

What is at Muir Woods for Kids?

If you are wondering what is at Muir Woods for Kids the answer is LOTS! 

Hiking Muir Woods With Kids 

Muir Woods has over 6 miles of hiking trails which are actually easy to do with kids for the most park. Most people only tackle one trail at Muir Woods – The Main Loop Trail and this is a great length to do with kids and is very flat. The length of the hike on this trail can be altered for your families needs – you just need to cross one of the four bridges to head back and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half to walk depending on which length you want to tackle. 

One of my favourite places in Muir Woods in Cathedral Grove which is a beautiful and tranquil place.

Get Your Junior Ranger Badge at Muir Woods With Kids 

One of my favourite things about visiting National Parks with Kids is the Junior Ranger programme. Although classified as a National Monument rather than a National Park you can still take part in the Junior Ranger Programme at Muir Woods. 

To take part collect an activity book from the Visitor Centre and complete the hands on activities as you go round. If you complete it all your kids will be rewarded with a badge. 

Next Read: Visiting San Francisco with a Baby or Toddler !

Visiting Muir Woods with Kids - Visiting Muir Woods with toddler


Facilities at Muir Woods National Monument

Near the entrance to Muir Woods there is a visitors centre and cafe. We liked the fact that the food at the cafe seemed to have a lot of organic credentials! While the gift shop had lots of great souvenirs and gifts!

Overall: Muir Woods should be on any San Francisco itinerary when traveling with kids!

Looking for more outdoor adventure in California? Then why not road trip to Yosemite?

FAQs about Visiting Muir Woods with Kids 

How to get to muir woods from San Francisco?

If you are wondering how to get to Muir Woods from San francisco I would personally recommend hiring a car and driving to the park. But be sure to reserve your parking in advance. 

To get to Muir Woods from San Francisco it takes about 40 minutes. 

How long does it take to walk through Muir Woods? How long does it take to visit muir woods?

How long it takes to walk through Muir Woods really depends on you, how much you would like to walk and how much you will let your children walk. I would recommend putting aside at least a few hours or half a day to Muir Woods in your San Francisco itinerary.

If you want to do some of the longer trails you could spend up to 5 hours on site. 

Can you go to Muir Woods without a reservation?

Nope going to Muir Woods without a reservation will just mean you have to drive straight back into town and make one. 

Have you been to Muir Woods? What are your top tips?


  1. August 22, 2018 / 11:01 am

    Great pictures! I didn’t know about the new reservation system, thanks for the info.

    • August 22, 2018 / 11:06 am

      You are welcome – any questions happily answered

  2. September 1, 2018 / 8:58 am

    San Francisco is very much on my bucket list – but this was a side to it I wasn’t expecting! Those redwoods look amazing! I’ll definitely save it for later! #fearlessfamtrav

  3. September 1, 2018 / 10:24 am

    Hi, this is such a nice poste. I will ensure we will visit this place next year. Thank you for sharing .

  4. September 1, 2018 / 11:12 am

    We have good friends who moved from London to San Fran and we need to visit soon – thanks for putting Muir Woods on our radar! #fearlessfamtrav

  5. September 1, 2018 / 2:25 pm

    A stroller-friendly hike in the woods…what could be more perfect!! #fearlessfamtrav

  6. September 1, 2018 / 9:35 pm

    This looks like a good place to get out of the city and for little ones to have a run around #fearlessfamtrav

  7. September 2, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    we just went to san fran last year and skipped this… I know! So much to do. need to get back obviously! i love this part of California. I spent 3 summers out this way and always long to get back.

  8. September 3, 2018 / 10:34 pm

    Ive not heard of Muir Woods. It looks lovely. Redwoods are amazing, I’ll definitely bear this is mind next tine I’m in California. #Fearlessfamtrav

  9. September 5, 2018 / 6:46 am

    I am a huge fan of John Muir but didn’t know he had some woods named after him!!! You learn something every day. #fearlessfamtrav

  10. September 6, 2018 / 7:52 am

    We visited San Francisco last year but ran out of time to get to Muir Woods – it looks fantastic! We were lucky to see the redwoods south of San Fran at Big Basin State Park near San Jose. They are such beautiful trees. #fearlessfamtrav

  11. Maggie
    September 6, 2018 / 8:23 pm

    So beautiful! We haven’t been to Muir Woods in ages, but this post makes me want to return ASAP. The trees just make it seem like a magical place for kids. #fearlessfamtrav

  12. September 7, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    We’re hoping to get to San Francisco this October half term so this post is very timely! #fearlessfamtrav

  13. September 8, 2018 / 11:29 am

    We’ve been to Muir Woods, but it’s been years. I had no idea about the parking reservations. That’s good to know. Our kids loved all the paths and my hubby and I loved the serenity and beauty of the park. It can be so peaceful and magical, until the kids come running by, of course ?

  14. September 8, 2018 / 4:28 pm

    I’m so embarrassed to admit that I’ve never heard of this place! But woodlands are always a winner with my boys! #fearlessfamtrav

  15. September 30, 2018 / 9:54 am

    It sounds like a fab wood to visit. I’d love to go and see the Redwoods one day. I bet they need to be seen to be believed! #fearlessfamtrav

  16. October 2, 2018 / 8:46 am

    So gorgeous! Would you believe that I’ve lived in California half my life and never been?

    • October 2, 2018 / 8:54 am

      Gosh you should definitely rectify that it is so lovely

  17. October 3, 2018 / 8:16 pm

    These woods look beautiful and I do love a board walk path! Really handy practical tips too, thank you!

  18. January 9, 2019 / 10:58 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing. How far outside San Francisco is Muir Woods? Do you need to rent a car or are there also busses running from SF? Am heading over in March and would love to do a day trip to one of the Nationals Parks, so for sure will check this one out.

    • January 12, 2019 / 5:57 pm

      It’s a car ride but I think there are public transport options too! If you do drive yourself you need to make sure you prebook your parking!

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