In this guide we round up what to wear to Muir Woods National Monument, from if you need hiking shoes for Muir Woods, to what to wear for every season as well as telling you other things to put in your Muir Woods day bag.
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What to Wear to Muir Woods
Muir Woods is an absolute must for any visitor to San Francisco however Muir Woods has its own micro climate that means you have to change what you wear. In this section of the guide we will cover what to wear to Muir Woods no matter the time of year you go before we go onto some more seasonal specific items.
For more information on why Muir Woods is worth visiting check out this post.
Hoodies and Layers
For me the key to any San Francisco or Muir Woods dress code is Layers and lots of them. San Francisco is an odd place weather wise. You can wake up to a cold and foggy morning only to have it blown through and have sunshine before lunch.
Therefore the key, especially if you plan to arrive at Muir Woods early in the morning is to have some layers such as a hoodie with you.
Or even better some lightweight hiking fleeces to reduce the amount of space they take up in your day pack if you remove it later in the day. Click here to shop Lightweight fleeces.
Due to the shade and for I would also suggest you taking this top layer even in the summer at Muir Woods.
T Shirts make the perfect base layer for Muir Woods.
Hiking trousers for me are perfect for Muir Woods whatever season you visit. They will keep you warm in the winter, but if you get a zippable pair with a detachable leg you can easily convert them into shorts on a hot day in the middle of summer.
Please note: some trails do have ticks present so if you can I recommend keeping your legs and arms covered on these trails.
Best Shoes for Muir Woods
Do I need hiking shoes for Muir Woods?
Whether or not you need hiking shoes for Muir Woods will largely depend on whether or not you plan to do some of the more strenuous walks.
As we visited Muir Woods with kids and with a stroller in tow, we stuck to the Boardwalk trails. For these trails we found that sneakers were perfectly acceptable (although if it had rained we would have needed something with more grip and waterproofing).
However if you are visiting in Winter or are planning to do one of the longer hikes I think hiking shoes or boots would be most appropriate. Click here to shop hiking boots.
If you are visiting in Summer then I would recommend having some hiking sneakers over hiking sandals due to the presence of ticks on some trails.
What to Wear to Muir Woods in Summer
Wide Brimmed Hat
It is important to stay sun safe in Muir Woods even with the shade of the redwoods therefore we recommend packing a wide brimmed hat for those visiting in the summer months of June, July and August in Muir Woods.
What to Wear to Muir Woods in Winter
I love visiting Muir Woods in Winter. In fact in my opinion it is the best time to visit Muir Woods to avoid the crowds. However visiting in Winter does mean you need to prepare for the weather a little more.
If you want to know how to dress for Muir Woods in winter the below should be added to your list.
Rain in California in Winter is a reality. Even if rain is not forecast for the day of your trip I would always play it safe and pack a lightweight waterproof with you.
I don’t know about you but I hate blisters and also hate having wet feet so I recommend packing more socks than you actually require for days you are there.
Muir Woods in Winter can get cold, be sure you have a jacket or coat with you on top of the hoodie or fleece to be sure you don’t get too cold especially in the early morning.
What to Wear to Muir Woods in Spring and Fall
Spring can still be pretty rainy if you are visiting Muir Woods in March or April.
Always check your forecast before visiting Muir Woods and pack a water proof if there is rain forecast.
However you can expect rain to be a more likely occurrence if you are visiting Muir Woods between November through March / April.
It is worth noting that September and October can be some of the warmer months in Muir Woods but I would always recommend taking a top layer as it can be chilly and foggy any time of year among the redwood trees.
Muir Woods Packing List (non Clothing)
So now we have discussed what to wear in the park it is worth spending some time thinking about the non clothing things you need to take to Muir Woods.
Reusable water bottle
One of the things you need to remember when visiting Muir Woods is that once you are away from the visitors centre there is little in the way of facilities.
On top of that, if you plan on doing some of the more strenuous Muir Woods hikes you will need to have a lot of water with you.
When seeing such amazing natural experiences, it always reminds me how important it is to try and reduce plastic when we travel. Be sure to have a large enough bottle with you and make sure you refill at the visitors centre.
Click here to shop Reusable water bottle
Coffee Thermos and Mugs
As I mentioned above there is only one cafe on-site at Muir Woods and its opening hours are more limited than the National Monument opening hours.
If you are heading off on an early hike or plan on staying until after the cafe shuts it is worthwhile taking a coffee thermos and some mugs with you so you can get your caffeine on the go.
Click here to shop Coffee Thermos and Mugs
Insulated Lunch Box
If you plan on having your lunch away from the visitors centre then you will need to carry your food in an insulated lunch box to keep your food cool.
Although there is lots of shade under the giant redwood trees of Muir Woods it is still possible to get burnt, especially if you plan on doing one of the longer hikes. Don’t get caught out and make sure you have sun screen with you.
Click here to shop Sun Screen
We also recommend having some Lip Balm with sun protection with you also.
As you are near to water throughout Muir Woods it is important to remember insect repellant or mosquito repellant especially if you are visiting in summer or salmon spawning season.
Click here to shop Insect Repellant
You will need this to carry all of the stuff you will need at Muir Woods. And remember your car is likely to be parked a shuttle ride away from the entrance to the National Monument so if you think you may need something it is best to take it with you as it is a long way back to your car.
Click here to shop Back Packs
Camera lens and spare batteries
Trust me, your camera will be out all the time whatever national park you visit. Be sure you have a good camera and appropriate lens with you and of course some back up batteries.
Click here to shop Camera, lens and spare batteries
Phone and spare battery pack
Phone and spare battery packs are an essential at any national park, even ones where there is no cell service.
I love spotting wildlife in national parks and binoculars are an essential for wildlife and bird watchers.
A small travel first aid kit is an essential whenever you are going on a hike.
Click here to shop travel first Kits
Always pick up a map from the visitors centre on arrival.
FAQS About What to Wear to Muir Woods
Can you bring a backpack to Muir Woods?
Yes you absolutely can bring a backpack to Muir Woods and we recommend it because you will likely be parked a long way from your car so you will need to carry everything with you.
Does it get cold in Muir Woods?
One thing you should know about visiting the Redwoods at Muir Woods is that it does get cold and it is cool for most of the year. In fact even if you are visiting Muir Woods in summer the temperatures are unlikely to exceed 70 degrees F or 21 degrees C.
Also you can get heavy fog whatever month you are traveling to Muir Woods.
Therefore it is really important to have some layers with you even if you are visiting Muir Woods in summer.