Best Way to Get to Muir Woods From San Francisco & Top Tips!

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Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore a serene coastal redwood forest? If so, Muir Woods National Monument is the perfect day trip from San Francisco, and I promise it is worth the trip! Discover the best way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco and top tips for planning your visit.

Don’t have time to read the whole article?
Booking a tour is the best way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco.
⭐️The Muir Woods & Sausalito Half Day Tour is a top rated tour with over
3,000 raving reviews, so you can’t go wrong!

How Far is Muir Woods From San Francisco

The distance between Muir Woods from San Francisco is approximately 16 miles, which is about a 40-minute drive without traffic. Traffic is extremely common in the San Francisco Bay Area, so be sure to give yourself extra time and avoid rush hour.

Muir Woods National Monument Address:
1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

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    Best Way to Get to Muir Woods From San Francisco

    Muir Woods is an incredible location to visit. If you are spending a couple of days in San Francisco, I highly recommend taking the time to see these unbelievable and historic redwood trees.

    best way to get to muir woods from san francisco

    If you are visiting San Francisco from another state or country, you will most likely not have a car, which can make getting to Muir Woods a little tricky. However, the good news is that there are plenty of other ways of getting there.

    Follow this guide, and I will provide you with all of the tips you need before visiting Muir Woods. Plus, you will learn the best way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco for your itinerary and the group you are traveling with.

    Drive to Muir Woods

    First up, and the most obvious, is to drive to Muir Woods. If you have access to a car, then driving yourself is the best way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco.

    🚗 Or if you are thinking about renting a car for the day, you can find one here. Having a car is pretty nice if you want your independence and the opportunity to see more of the Bay Area at your own speed. 

    The drive to Muir Woods from San Francisco is remarkable. You will drive along the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to make time to stop and walk the bridge. Even on a cloudy day, the views from the bridge are gorgeous!

    drive along the iconic golden gate bridge to muir woods from san francisco

    💡Local Tip: The toll for the Golden Gate is fully-automated. So you will need a Fastrak for your payment. Or if you do not have Fastrak, a photo will be taken of your license plate, and they will send you a bill for the toll.

    It is a serpentine two-lane road to Muir Woods. To get to the entrance, you will have to drive up the mountain along a narrow and windy road. It is a beautiful drive as slowly reach the top. If you are one to get car sick, as I do, pack some nondrowsy Dramamine (this is the one I use & like) or water to help you get through the journey.

    Does Muir Woods Have a Parking Lot?

    A parking lot is available at Muir Woods within walking distance of the entrance. However, you must make a parking reservation in advance before your visit. Do not make the same mistake I have made in the past and show up without a reservation, because they will turn you away.

    Also, there is no service at Muir Woods, so you would have to drive back down the mountain to look up the next open parking reservation. To reserve your parking at Muir Woods you can visit here.

    How Do I Get to Muir Woods without a Car

    If you do not have a car, don’t worry, there are numerous ways to get to Muir Woods without one. Such as by tour, shuttle, ferry, bus, and even hiking. Continue reading, and I will provide the details on your different options for getting to Muir Woods without a car.

    • Drive to Muir Woods: If you have access to a car, this is the cheapest & easiest way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco
    • Ride Share: Least reliable way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco (find out why below)
    • Muir Woods Shuttle
    • ⭐️ Book a Tour: If you don’t have a car this is the best way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco.
    • Bike along the Golden Gate and Shuttle
    • Ferry & Shuttle to Muir Woods
    • Bus & Shuttle to Muir Woods

    Ride Sharing: Can You Get an Uber to Muir Woods?

    Yes, you technically can get an Uber to Muir Woods. However, if you are planning on requesting a shared car, read this first. Once you arrive at Muir Woods, you will not have any service or wifi to connect to. So getting back to the city and ordering an Uber or Lyft can be challenging.

    can you get an uber to muir woods from san francisco

    What you can do instead is plan your pick-up in advance. Lyft and Uber allow you to schedule rides up to 30 days in advance. The downside is you will not have any service to be in touch with your driver. It could get canceled, and you would have no idea.

    It is not the most reliable option of transportation to and from Muir Woods from San Francisco. I would not recommend it. I think too many things could go wrong, and personally, I would want a more secure plan to get back to the city.

    Muir Woods Shuttle

    Marin Transit offers a shuttle bus to the Muir Woods National Monument from off-site locations. It is a great option because public transportation allows you to access the shuttle stop locations.

    Is the Muir Woods Shuttle Operating? 

    The Muir Woods Shuttle is open and operating on the weekends, holidays, and select days during the summer months. The only drawback of the Muir Woods Shuttle would be if you were planning to visit midweek outside of the summer months. Check the schedule before your visit and book your shuttle ticket in advance.

    There are two bus stop locations: Larkspur Landing and Sausalito. Larkspur is the temporary location from the Pohono Parking Lot 

    Larkspur Landing
    101 E Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Larkspur, CA 94939

    • Only available on the weekends
    • $3.50 per adult. 15 and younger ride free
    • Free parking is available on site, reservation is not needed
    • Reachable by ferry, bus, SMART (the Marin rail transit)

    Bay & Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965

    • Available during the week on select days in the summer
    • $3.50 per adult. 15 and younger ride free
    • No parking available
    • Reachable by ferry and bus.

    Guided Muir Woods Tour

    Booking a guided tour is my recommendation for the best way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco. A tour will help you avoid the hassle and stress of booking parking reservations and figuring out public transportation.

    Also, a tour will allow you to fully experience Muir Woods and provide you the opportunity to see more of the bay area outside of San Francisco. I have recommended two amazing Muir Woods guided tours below.

    Muir Woods & Sausalito Half Day Tour

    ⭐️ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars |⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 5 hours | BOOK NOW

    The Muir Woods & Sausalito Half Day Tour is the perfect way to spend your morning and afternoon away from the city! Book this tour that leaves from San Francisco and will shuttle you to the coastal redwood forests and the seaside town of Sausalito.

    Everything from the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the drivers helpful narration, the breathtaking hike in Muir Woods, lunch in Sausalito, and the exhilarating ferry ride back was perfection.” – Rebecca S. (read more reviews)

    Experience Muir Woods with your professional tour guide and then wander the streets of downtown Sausalito.

    hillside in Sausalito, California.

    Downtown Sausalito is perfect for grabbing lunch and admiring the gorgeous views of the Bay and San Francisco’s cityscape. Our favorite restaurant is Barrel House Tavern for some delicious seafood and drinks, and they have the best views from their outdoor deck. Or for some quick service and a cheaper option, Venice Pizzeria serves great pies across from the waterfront.

    This is an awesome option for a combo tour, especially if you are limited on time because it is only 4 hours long. You get 90 minutes with an informative guide touring the redwood forest but also get independent time to relax and explore Sausalito.

    Book the Muir Woods & Sausalito Half Day Tour here

    Muir Woods & Wine Country

    ⭐️ RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars |⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 10 hours | BOOK NOW

    To maximize your time in San Francisco book a tour to Muir Woods and Wine Country. What is great about this tour is that you have the opportunity to visit two very popular Bay Area locations in one day.

    And an additional perk is that the tour company will pick you up from your hotel in San Francisco. So no time wasted using public transportation to get to your meeting spot.

    book a tour to Muir woods and beautiful wine country

    The Muir Woods & Wine Country tour includes a morning walk among the massive redwoods at Muir Woods. Afterward, your shuttle will whisk you away to the beautiful wine country. With your expert guide, you will visit and wine taste at 3 different wineries in Sonoma & Napa Valley.

    Kimmy was an awesome driver & guide, she made a wonderful trip to Muir Woods and Vineyards even better. We had the best day, tasted so beautiful wines, saw some great redwoods and enjoyed every minute. Definitely recommend” – Allison R. (read more reviews)

    For an additional fee, you can add on a 3-course gourmet lunch with your wine tasting. I suggest adding on the lunch because most wineries do not serve food. And that’s a lot of tastings to do with an empty stomach.

    🍷 Book your tour to Muir Woods and Wine Country here

    Small Group Tour: San Francisco, Muir Woods, Sausalito with Optional Alcatraz

    ⭐️ RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars |⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 9 hours | BOOK NOW

    This tour offers the best of the Bay Area with a small group tour of San Francisco, Muir Woods, Sausalito, and Alcatraz.

    Start your tour at the infamous Fisherman’s Wharf. From there, you will explore San Francisco’s best neighborhoods with your tour guide.

    Views of san francisco from sausalito

    After your time in the city, you will cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and begin your journey to Muir Woods. Experience and admire the tallest tree on earth, the Sequoia sempervirens, also known as California redwoods. Entering Muir Woods feels like you are strolling through a woodland cathedral

    Next, you will stroll the charming coastal town of Sausalito. Downtown Sausalito has multiple shops and restaurants along the waterfront. Enjoy lunch with views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline.

    If you choose to add on Alcatraz, which I highly recommend you do, you will be dropped off at the Alcatraz terminal where you will catch the ferry to Alcatraz Island.

    This was an excellent tour! Our tour guide Ro was very very informative! All the stops were wonderful it’s hard to pick one! Sausalito was such a cute little town. Would love to explore it more. And Alcatraz…wow! Super cool! We thoroughly enjoyed everything about this tour!” -Cindy W. (read more reviews)

    The audio-guided tour will take you back into history as you learn about notorious criminals like Al “Scarface” Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly to ’70s Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger who was incarcerated here.

    ✅  Book the Small Group Tour: San Francisco, Muir Woods, Sausalito with Optional Alcatraz here

    Ferry & Shuttle to Muir Woods

    For the scenic route, you can enjoy a ferry across the bay and shuttle your way to Muir Woods. Catching a ferry and cruising along the bay is actually a really fun experience. I live in Oakland, and often when I have friends visiting, we take the ferry to San Francisco. It’s affordable and a unique way to see the bay area.

    the ferry from san francisco to sausalito

    From San Francisco, you will need to depart from the Ferry Building. The Ferry Building is located off Market Street on Embarcadero Street. It is a 30-minute ferry to Sausalito, an adorable and quaint town across the bay from San Francisco. 

    Once you reach Sausalito, you will catch the Marin Shuttle to Muir Woods. The shuttle location is only one block from the ferry drop-off. You must make your reservations for the Muir Woods Shuttle in advance.

    the San Francisco Ferry building
    San Francisco Ferry Building

    Side Note: If you haven’t been to the Ferry Building before, it is definitely worth checking out. Arrive early before your departure and explore the historic building and the artisan marketplace. It’s the perfect spot to grab a pastry and coffee and check out the small shops.

    💡 Local Tip: If you plan on using public transportation in San Francisco, aka the BART system, I highly suggest you get a clipper card.  You can easily load cash onto your Clipper card and get discounts for all bus, rail, ferry, and train rides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Important Note: Check the Marin Shuttle schedule to Muir Woods before planning your trip. It is only available on the weekends, holidays, and some weekdays during the summer months.

    Bus & Shuttle to Muir Woods

    Another option to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco would be by bus and shuttle. You can catch the bus from either the Salesforce Transit Center or the SF Civic Center to Sausalito.

    The bus stop is the same as the ferry drop-off in Sausalito. From there, it would be a short walk to the Marin Shuttle location in Muir Woods. You must make your reservations for the Muir Woods Shuttle in advance.

    This bus route also stops at the Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza. So either on your way back or to Muir Woods, you can take some time to walk the bridge and get some Golden Gate Bridge pictures.

    Important Note: Check the Marin Shuttle schedule to Muir Woods before planning your trip. It is only available on the weekends, holidays, and some weekdays during the summer months.

    Is Muir Woods Worth Visiting

    Exploring the incredible redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument is one of the best things to do near San Francisco. Walking among the soaring and historic coastal redwoods is a memorable experience.

    the beautiful redwood forest at muir woods national monument

    Besides the stunning redwood forest, Muir Woods is also worth visiting because of its unique and amazing coastal views. Some of the hiking trails go up the canyon and feature views of Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco, and the Pacific Ocean.

    Additional Tips for Visiting Muir Woods

    Muir Woods is typically open 365 days of the year from 8 am to 8 pm. Remember, you will not have any service of wifi when visiting the national monument. Be sure to have your transportation and reservations planned in advance.

    How Much is The Muir Woods Entrance Fee

    The entrance fee at Muir Woods is $15 per person 16 and older. Children 15 and below are free to visit. If you have an America the Beautiful or other national parks pass, it will include yourself and three adults free entry into Muir Woods.

    On certain holidays throughout the year, it is free entry. However, I am sure those days are also extremely busy, so plan way in advance. You can purchase your tickets online or buy them at the park entrance.

    How Much Time Do You Need at Muir Woods

    How much time you need at Muir Woods varies on the amount of hiking that you plan to do. The first time I was there, we did a fair amount of hiking and spent about 5 hours there.

    hiking in muir woods

    The next time I visited, we did no hiking and only stuck to the main paved trail. You can easily walk that in under an hour, but if you want to take your time to explore and visit the Muir Woods amenities I would give yourself 1.5 hours to 2 hours.

    Muir Woods Amenities

    After you are done visiting the majestic redwoods and the miles of trails, take some time and enjoy the Muir Woods Cafe and gift shop. The cafe has a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, baked goods, grab-and-go snacks, and coffee. Other amenities include restrooms, a visitor center, and parking.

    What to Wear Visiting Muir Woods

    When planning your trip to Muir Woods, you will want to be comfortable and wear layers. Under the canopy of the redwood trees, the temperature will be cool, ranging from 40 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit also, there could be some wind.

    For shoes, I suggest something sturdy and comfortable. If you do not plan on hiking on the canyon walls and will just be walking the main paved trail, then flat and sturdy shoes should be fine. You do not need to wear hiking shoes because the trails in Muir Woods are asphalted or on a boardwalk.

    Other Things To Do Near Muir Woods

    Looking for more to explore after your time at Muir Woods? There are some serious hidden gems located right next to Muir Woods that are an absolute must-visit! Especially if you have rented a car for the trip, you are going to want to see as much as you can of this gorgeous area.

    Muir Beach

    Muir Beach is one of my favorite local beaches to visit in Marin County. Tucked away in a secluded cove, Muir Beach’s picturesque landscape of rock formations, crashing waves, and sandy beach are some of the many reasons why this beach is a hidden gem.

    dog friendly muir Beach

    Muir Beach Overlook

    Another unique find is Muir Beach Overlook. Just a two-minute drive from Muir Beach is the jaw-dropping views at Muir Beach Overlook. This vista provides panoramic views of the Pacific Coast and the Point Reyes Peninsula. 

    dog friendly muir beach overlook


    There is so much to do and see in this adorable city. I love Sausalito for its small-town charm, beautiful views of the bay, and delicious seafood at the waterfront.

    Battery Spencer Trail Sausalito

    Our favorite spot for a great meal, awesome drinks, and the best view is Barrel House Tavern. And don’t forget dessert! Lappert’s Ice Cream serves the best ice cream in town with its fun Hawaiin-inspired flavors.

    If you want to see Sausalito, but do not have a car, you can book a tour and see Muir Woods with a stop in Sausalito.

    Mt. Tamalpais State Park

    If you are interested in doing some hiking in the area, Mt. Tamalpais offers miles and miles of trails among the redwood groves featuring some of the best views in the area. On a clear day, you will experience views of San Francisco and the Bay, Marin County hills, and Mount Diablo.

    Stinson Beach

    Stinson Beach is a small local beach town located in Marin County about a 20-minute drive from Muir Woods. A visit to Stinson is great for lounging on the beach or walking along the water.

    parkside cafe stinson beach

    Right next store to the beach is Parkside Cafe, they have a huge selection of food. For quick service, they have a snack bar. The snack bar serves burgers, sandwiches, shakes, fries, and ice cream. Or order a wood-fired pizza, espresso, and some baked goods to go. It is also a great spot to sit down for lunch on their outdoor (dog-friendly) patio.

    Does Muir Woods Allow Dogs

    Unfortunately, no Muir Woods National Monument does not allow dogs. However, if you are looking for other dog-friendly locations nearby, I’ve got you covered with some awesome spots.

    dog friendly stinson beach
    Stinson Beach
    • Muir Beach: Gorgeous cove and dog friendly beach located a 8-minute drive from Muir Woods
    • Muir Beach Overlook: Stunning views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
    • Stinson Beach: Has a dog friendly section of the beach.
    • Sausalito: A quaint and charming town in Marin. Perfect for grabbing lunch outside with spectacular views of the Bay and San Francisco Skyline.

    You can find a full dog friendly guide for Stinson Beach, Muir Beach, and Muir Beach Overlook here.

    Other Days Trips From San Francisco

    Looking for other ways to get out of the city or for things to do near San Franciso? Some of my favorites are:

    🌙 Half Moon Bay: Enjoy gorgeous coastal views at Half Moon Bay. Only 45 minutes outside of the city is this charming town of white sandy beaches, delicious seafood restaurants, unique tide-pooling, and a downtown full of cafes and shopping.
    Jack London Square: You can easily take the Ferry from San Francisco to Jack London Square, Oaklands waterfront. Jack London has numerous waterfront restaurants, festivals, the oldest bar in Oakland, and more.
    🍷 Napa Valley: Beautiful wine country is only an hour or so outside of the city! Book a tour or plan a day trip of wine tasting at some the best wineries around the globe.
    🍷 Thinking about wine tasting in Sonoma? Here are the best ways to get from San Francisco to Sonoma

    Alcatraz Island

    Visit the iconic Alcatraz Island! Alcatraz use to be a federal prison that was home to some of the most dangerous prisoners of that time. Today you can book a tour and explore the empty prison cells and learn about the interesting history of Alcatraz and the various attempted escapes by the prisoners.

    You can add Alcatraz Island to your visit of Muir Woods by doing a combo tour of Muir Woods, Sausalito, Alcatraz in the same day. ✅ Book the One Day in San Francisco Tour with Alcatraz. Or to view other top tours to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco you can go here.

    In Conclusion: Best Way to Get to Muir Woods From San Francisco

    The best way to get to Muir Woods from San Francisco varies on your budget, time frame, and the time of year you are planning on visiting. However, if you do not have a car, I think the all-around best way to get to Muir Woods would be by booking a tour.

    A tour will allow you to fully experience Muir Woods without the stress of relying on public transportation. It will also provide you the opportunity to see more of the bay area outside of San Francisco.

    I hope this post has provided you with all of the information you need on planning your visit to Muir Woods. Muir Woods is truly a special place in northern California. I promise you will not regret getting outside of the city for the day and experiencing all of the natural beauty of this magical redwood forest.