Come walk the Redwoods of Muir Woods
Tom's Muir Woods & Sausalito Tours
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   | For Information or Reservations Phone: (415) 264-6235 Call (415) 264-6235 for Reservations | Click Here To Send An Email
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Tom loves questions about Muir Woods. He's answered some hum-dingers over the years. See if your question is answered below.

Where exactly is Muir Woods National Monument?
Monument? Aren't we going to a Redwood forest?
Are Tom's excursions suitable for children under 12?
How do we get to the Muir Woods?
How do we get back?
What's included in the $75.00 price?
What are acceptable methods of payment?
When does the Muir Woods/Sausalito excursion begin?
Does the tour operate rain or shine?
How long is the Muir Woods/Sausalito excursion?
How do I book an outing with Tom?
How tall is the tallest tree in the Muir Woods?
How wide is the widest tree in Muir Woods?
How old is the oldest tree in the Muir Woods?
Will we see any wildlife in the Muir Woods?
Are there dangerous plants or animals in Muir Woods?
Are there many mosquitoes in the Muir Woods?
Will I be eaten by a bear in Muir Woods?
Can we bring our pet to the Muir Woods?
Is the Muir Woods wheelchair accessible?
Can you accommodate more than 6 people?
Which is cooler? The Muir Woods or San Francisco?
Do we need special footwear for the Muir Woods?
Are the trails in the Muir Woods muddy?
Who was John Muir anyway?
Can we just meet you at the park gates?
Can we ride our rental bikes to Muir Woods?
What is not allowed in Muir Woods Park?
Is smoking allowed in Muir Woods National Monument?
What is the best season to visit Muir Woods?
Are there adequate washroom facilities?
Will my smartphone work in the Muir Woods?
Are we allowed to take pictures at Muir Woods?
Can we camp at Muir Woods National Monument?
How many times did Tom guide tourists through the Muir Woods before NPS ruled that tour guides are not allowed to guide in the park?

Where exactly is Muir Woods National Monument?
The Muir Woods National Monument is located West of Mill Valley across the Golden Gate Bridge. See our Map.

Monument? Aren't we going to a Redwood forest?
You are! The United States Government refers to sites of national historic interest as monuments. Here is the official definition:
"national monument n. A natural landmark or structure or site of historic interest set aside by a national government and maintained for public use."
So, in this case, a forest is a monument - a monument to one heck of a swell guy! No, I don't mean Tom, and certainly not the Don. No, I mean John, John Muir. Who was he? Scroll down...

Are Tom's excursions suitable for children under 12?
Simply put, no. And because we leave so early in the morning, (7:15AM) this trip is suitable for anyone who likes tranquility and being able to commune with nature.

How do we get to the Muir Woods?
You can drive up (or down for you Oregonians & Washingtonians) Oregoniashingtonians? But the NPS advises against it. Traffic has become too much for the area. Parking is completely unavailable sometimes. Take a small group excusion like, oh I don't know, Tom's! It's like car-pooling and you get to leave the parking worries to Tom. See map here.

How do we get back?
The Tour ends in Sausalito and a most enjoyable way back is the Sausalito Ferry. Tom does provide a lunch snack but some visitors like lunch and perhaps some wine in scenic Sausalito before heading back on the Ferry.

What's included in the $75.00 price?
The $75.00 price includes a 4 hour chauffeured tour from your SF lodging, several stops along the way, including the Muir Woods (we stop there for up to 3 hours) and ends in Sausalito where you canpurchase ferry tickets for a lovely boat ride back to San Fran.

What are acceptable methods of payment?
The $75.00US cash price can be paid using US cash, check, twice as much Canadian cash, a case of decent red wine or 1 goat.

When does the Muir Woods/Sausalito excursion begin?
Tom picks you up from your hotel, motel, AirB&B or tent at 7:15a.m. Tom is punctual. You want to get to the Muir woods early to miss the crowds.

Does the tour operate rain or shine?
The tour will proceed rain or shine. Tom won't shrink in the wet, although he wishes he might!

How long is the Muir Woods/Sausalito excursion?
The tour lasts about 4 hours. After your stop at the Muir Woods, you will be delivered to Sausalito by 1:00PM.

How do I book an outing with Tom?
We're not as high tech as we look! Please call us at (415) 264-6235 and a real, live person (Tom) will be pleased to make arrangements for your booking and transportation.

How tall is the tallest tree in the Muir Woods?
The tallest tree in Muir Woods is over 260 feet high and can be found in the Bohemian Grove.

How wide is the widest tree in Muir Woods?
The widest tree is about 14 feet in diameter! It is near Bohemian Grove but Tom won't tell you exactly where until you're in the van.

How old is the oldest tree in the Muir Woods?
See if you can find the tree that's over 1,000 years old. In Northern California, there is a 2,200 year old Redwood that is the oldest Redwood we know of. Many coastal redwoods are over 1,000 years old, but generally, trees in the Muir Woods range between 400 and 800 years of age.

Now, for a really dazzling experience, arrange for Tom to conduct an Avenue of the Giants walking tour where he walks with you through the grove. It's even more magical than the Muir Woods and in Humboldt Redwoods State Park you can see 4 of the top 10 trees in the world. Just 200 miles north!

Will we see any wildlife in the Muir Woods?
Because it's quiet when we arrive in the early morning, you might spot coyote, deer, raccoon, Sonoma chipmunks, squirrels, gray fox, gophers, and the occasional skunk. Bobcat sightings are rare but if you manage to photograph one, we'll post it on the website with a photo credit! Look up and you might see owls or bats. Closer to the ground there are banana slugs, moles, otters... just like the otter one of our clients photographed. (See our Testimonials & Reviews page for additional photos.)

Are there dangerous plants or animals in Muir Woods?
Yes there are. We can't know all the dangers that lurk in the Muir Woods, but here are some that you should be are aware of.

There are stinging nettles and poison oak. You may know the rhyme, "Leaves of three, let them be." As for animals, always be aware that, even domesticated, animals could be dangerous if they are sick, injured, frightened or hungry. Don't spook wildlife, don't feed wildlife, don't try to pet the wildlife, no matter how tiny and cute. If you see an animal, quietly enjoy it and maybe take some photos. Don't get any closer than common sense dictates.

Sure, there have been reports of mountain lions nearby, but they haven't been sighted in Muir Woods lately. The most dangerous animal you're likely to encounter is the Yellowjacket. And yes, rodent droppings may contain hantavirus and ticks sometimes carry lyme disease... It's the outdoors people, use common sense. (Bring allergy medication if you need it in case of a sting.)

Are there many mosquitoes in the Muir Woods?
One of the fascinating features of the valley Muir Woods is located in is general lack of pests. (insects, mosquitoes, politicians, telemarketers, hackers...) But, for those worried about West Nile Virus: True, it has been detected in the San Francisco Bay Area but Mosquitoes are rare in Muir Woods. Tom will tell you why on the ride over.

Will I be eaten by a bear in Muir Woods?
There is no chance that you will be harmed by or even see a bear in the Muir Woods.

Can we bring our pet to the Muir Woods?
Pets are not permitted in Muir Woods by the National Park Service. (NPS) The only exception is for service dogs. The rules are in place to protect the wildlife, other visitors, and your pet.

Is the Muir Woods park wheelchair accessible?
The park does have a few loaner wheelchairs that will allow you to visit part of the park independently and enjoy the park's paved paths if you wish to visit on your own.

Can you accommodate more than 6 people?
No, I'm sorry, 6 passengers is our limit.

Which is cooler? Muir Woods or San Francisco?
Muir Woods by far... oh, you meant temperature... The Muir Woods forest is slightly cooler in the morning than San Francisco - and very serene if you get there early by traveling with Tom. Getting to the Muir Woods early improves your chances of seeing wildlife - but no promises.

Do we need special footwear for the Muir Woods?
Nope, just comfortable walking shoes should be all the average person will need on fair weather days. On or after rain, see below...

Are the trails in the Muir Woods muddy?
Some of the more adventurous trails in the woods can get muddy after a rain but the main trails rarely become unpassable - unless a dozen trees fall, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's certainly a good thing for the life of the forest and Tom will tell you why.

Who was John Muir anyway?
See that photo on the right? (No, not the NO SMOKING sign, the one above it.) Ask Tom to tell you more when you arrive at the Muir Woods!

Can we just meet you at the park gates?
Sure, Tom will meet you at the park but try not to be late as there may be others joining.

Can we ride our rental bikes to Muir Woods?
Are you using what Lance Armstrong was using? No? Then we strongly recommend against it. The roads are narrow and winding and there are some steep hills and much traffic along the way. Sometimes road construction makes it downright unsafe for cyclists. It looks like a short distance as the crow flies on a map, but the distance is deceiving because of the winding roads and switchbacks. Most of the people we talked to, who tried cycling from San Francisco, were completely harried and worn out when they arrived - not the condition you want to be in to start a trek. And you sure won't want to ride back!

What is not allowed in Muir Woods Park?
Pets, smoking and camping are not permitted at Muir Woods National Monument. And for your safety NPS asks that you remain on established trails while visiting the Park. Poison oak and stinging nettles are common. By staying on the trails you will not only prevent exposure to poison oak and stinging nettles but you also help NPS preserve an old growth forest ecosystem that these coastal redwood trees need to survive.

Is smoking allowed in Muir Woods National Monument?
There is no smoking allowed anywhere at Muir Woods National Monument or in Tom's spiffy minivan. Occasionally, smoke can be seen coming from Tom's ears - but that's different...

What is the best season to visit Muir Woods?
Every season is great but January and February can be a tad rainy. But that's okay, Tom even provides rain gear if you need!

Are there adequate washroom facilities?
We think so. They are located at a couple of spots along the trail. And, they are all flush toilets!

Will my smartphone work in the Muir Woods?
Gosh we hope not - we want you to enjoy your serene surroundings - but it depends on your phone. Some people get good reception, some not.

Are we allowed to take pictures at Muir Woods?
Absolutely! And encouraged.

Can we camp at Muir Woods National Monument?
Camping and overnight parking is not permitted.

How many times did Tom guide tourists through the Muir Woods before NPS ruled that tour guides are not allowed to guide in the park?
Oh, gee... It's in the thousands. Afterall, Tom was the original Muir Woods tour guide and he did it for over a quarter century! And yet, he never tires of taking people to Muir Woods. It must be all the nice people he gets to meet... No, it's the trees.

 
 
The Only Muir Woods Walking Tour
 

Map to Muir Woods National Monument
Click on the image above to see the big picture...

 

 

 

 

 

 

redwoods go a long way up
Bring your wide angle lens for this walk through the redwoods - Photograph by Mark Gilchrist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Mark Gilchrist - websavvyit.com
What a magical, primeval place - Photograph by Mark Gilchrist

 

 

 

 

 

 

the trunks of the redwoods seem to extend up forever
Redwoods trunks seem to go up forever

 

 

 

 

 

 

the trunks of the redwoods seem to extend up forever
Morning light shining through the trees in the Muir Woods - Photo by Karen Force

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spot an owl in the Muir Woods (Pun intended)
This Spotted Owl was... well... spotted by John & Rosemary D. who were kind enough to send in the photo. Another of their Owl photos appears elsewhere on our site. Can you, you know, spot it? Okay, that's enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the trunks of the redwoods seem to extend up forever
An otter swims through the stream looking for scarce fish- Photo by Sara Runesten

 

 

 

 

 

 

the trunks of the redwoods seem to extend up forever
Caught in the shadows! Visitor Petra took this photo of a coyote while on her Muir Woods tour.
- Thanks Petra!

 

 

 

 

 

 

the trunks of the redwoods seem to extend up forever
The tall slender trunks reach up to the sky.
- Photo by Sara Runesten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

very old trees in Muir Woods National Monument
John Muir
One of the first modern preservationists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We'd let ya smoke, if it weren't against the law.
NPS Rules

CPUC# 34752 - expires 01-05-2018

 
 
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