In Search of the Tallest Trees on Earth
Right after landing in San Francisco coming from Las Vegas, and after checking in to our apartment, we drove towards Sausalito and then Muir Woods, in order to free the remaining last three days of our coast to coast tour around the USA for the jewel city on the Pacific coast. If you have the choice and can, definitely get a rental car. It will save you lots of time and will allow you the possibility to stop wherever you like to make incredible pictures, and also have a great circle drive as I will explain here later on.
Sausalito is just on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge if leaving San Francisco. Obviously, this is your perfect chance to get off at the viewing points and visitor centre and enjoy some of the best views of the bridge. Afterwards, simply follow the signs to Sausalito and you would have arrived in matter of no time. It is a small yet beautiful village on the shores of the Golden Gate Bay and the mountains, and from the small promenade and little pier there are splendid views of San Francisco skyline and the whole bay.
There is not much more in here, apart from the beautiful wooden houses, nice nature and the famous floating houses. Therefore it should not take too much of your time. Continue driving farther north, and you will get to see the signs for Muir Woods. Follow these until the end and you will have arrived at the entrance gates of this National Monument Park, here official website.
So why are these woods so special? They are one of the few remaining old growth redwood forest in California and the Pacific coast overall. A redwood is a type of sequoia, which stands as the tallest trees in the world. Not to be mistaken with the giant sequoia, which are the largest threes on earth in diameter. At Muir Woods the predominant tree are the redwoods, but you get to see also some giant sequoias, making this place really a great trip out of San Francisco truly worth to visit. This was the first and only one time in my life I’ve seen a real living giant sequoia and redwoods, and believe me, they are huge!
It costs $7 to enter the park, and it’s been taken well care with nice paths to walk all along it. Easily you can walk to the very end and back. Does not matter which side you walk first, if left of right hand side, but keep it in the way to make a full circle in total.
As for the way back to San Francisco, you have two options. One, coming back the same way you arrived, via the Golden Gate Bridge, or via Richmond and Oakland, and the Bay Bridge. This second option is the one you should really aim for, as it offers the most incredible views of the bay and the skyline.
Leaving San Francisco, does not matter which bridge you use, it’s toll free. But any road bound for San Francisco has a toll. From the Muir Woods, follow the road direction Richmond. Here you will find the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (Route 580), the toll is $5. Then from Oakland follow signs for the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, this is another $4 for the toll (or $6 depending on the time of the day). Now you are back in the city after a great and not long drive after all.
For more information about Muir Woods check the Wikipedia site. The United States of America currency is the Dollar (USD, $). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.