My friend Alex and I recently embarked on a day trip we had been dying to check off our West Coast living to-do list. Thankful for one of the first sunny days we've had in awhile, we decided to experience a bit more than just Muir Woods so we took an Uber (not ideal but the only way we could really swing this) to Muir Beach Overlook. Beyond the serious wind chill and blustery conditions was the most beautiful sweeping vista of the Marin coastline and the Pacific. We actually sprinted down the steps of the outlook for the base of the cliff side in our excitement for this panorama.
Planning poorly (per usual) we didn't really take into account the proximity of the different places we wanted to go in relation to each other. We ended up walking from Muir Beach Overlook down to the Pelican Inn, which wasn't a bad walk except for looking like total Marin noobs on the side of the road. We ordered ciders (and unfortunately only a loaf of bread, #InternLife) and sprawled out on the front lawn for a pre-hike rest. Don't miss ducking into this picturesque English-cottage style restaurant and inn on your way to Muir Woods or Muir Beach Overlook -- a total gem with a fantastic menu!
I would definitely say that unless you are setting out to HIKE --a serious, muddy, uphill hike-- you should drive between the Pelican Inn and Muir Woods. We set off on a seemingly easy trail only to run into stretches of mud pits and swampy trails -- I complained dramatically enough about getting trench foot that we ended up walking along the side of the road for the remainder of the way. Also, there's no service in Muir Woods or any of the surrounding areas. Don't expect to be able to post Snapchats or call yourself an Uber to get down the mountain once you get there. Attempt to hitchhike (by startling strangers and asking them point blank for a ride) and when that inevitably fails -- walk.
It's hard not to feel at peace while walking through Muir Woods. Northern California topography is so different than what I'm used to. With the damp coastal air, lush vegetation, and a little babbling creek running through the trail, Muir Woods is the perfect place to experience some of the charm of the Pacific Northwest terrain. The woods are easy to navigate, with smaller trails branching off and points of interest scattered throughout and even though there was a good amount of people present when we went, there's a certain quietness that encapsulates the woods. We felt such a sense of awe when we were dwarfed by these redwoods that have been standing in this exact spot for 500-800 years (!!). Hard to believe that a setting such as Muir Woods is only 40 minutes outside of SF.
Despite the unprecedented amount of walking we did, we checked off three amazing spots in Marin County (just across the Golden Gate) and we were able to spend the entire day outdoors. Be sure to plan transportation in advance (or get your hitchhikin' thumb ready).