The first hike you should take if you’re a first-time visitor is the Main Trail Loop (1 mi, easy). Leading right from the visitors center on an easy and flat walk through the beautiful Muir Woods, this trail has its own leaflet (pick one up at the visitors center) and numbers along the trail to help describe the forest-dwellers that visitors can see. You’ll cross from one side to the other of the Redwood Creek on cute pedestrian bridges. This trail is wheelchair- and stroller-accessible.
The Fern Creek Trail (3 mi, moderate) follows—you guessed it—Fern Creek down into the depths of the redwood forest. Along the way you’ll see the much-lauded Kent Tree, a 220-foot Douglas fir. (William Kent donated the whole of Muir Woods to the government for a park, and all he got was this lousy fir tree.) At the Alice Eastwood Camp, you can get a nice drink of water, use the restrooms, and even have a picnic in this developed area. You’ll follow the old railroad grade back to your starting place.
The Ocean View Trail (5.2 mi, difficult) is a bit of a misnomer—you can’t see too much of the ocean from this trail anymore. Once upon a time, a big fire cleared the view to the Pacific from this path, but the trees have since grown back and blocked the view again. But if you take Ocean View out to the Redwood Trail, you’ll get one or two quick peaks of the ocean before you reach the Tourist Club for a rest and some pretty views. At the Tourist Club, ignore the sign pointing back to Muir Woods and instead take the much safer Sun Trail back to catch the Dipsea Trail which leads you into central Muir Woods.
Muir Woods boasts many lovely trails that crisscross the gorgeous redwood forests. Check the websites for more trails and loop hikes.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition