Muir Woods gets very busy on weekends, so try to come midweek and, better yet, early in the morning.
Muir Woods can be found just 12 km to the north of San Francisco, but the ancient nature of the woods could hardly be further from the digital hub of that city. Muir Woods contains 554 acres of protected forestland, of which 240 acres are old growth coast redwood forests, one of the only remaining such spots in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Before the logging industry arrived in California, there were an estimated 2 million acres of old growth forest. By the early 20th century, almost all that was reasonably accessible had been cut down. The US Congressman William Kent saw the tragedy they were hurtling towards and bought up some land to protect it, much to the chagrin of industrial companies. He then donated it to the federal government and, in 1908, Theodore Roosevelt declared it a National Monument.
And thus some of America’s most remarkable trees were saved. Many of them range in age from 400 to 1000 years and some are a staggering 250 feet tall. The solitude and the scale of the place is absolutely awe-inspiring, and very humbling. The remarkable ecosystem here is supported by the regular coastal marine layer fogs that drift over from the Pacific Ocean. This creates a wet environment that, coupled with the California sun, drives extraordinary plant growth.
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