15 miles north of San Francisco is Muir Woods, a majestic grove of ancient coastal Redwood Trees. This forest is of such unparalleled peace and beauty that it was declared a national monument in 1908 by Theodore Roosevelt, and named after the conservationist John Muir.
The coastal valleys in Northern California used to be blanketed in magnificent giant Redwood trees like the ones in Muir Woods National Monument. Many of these forests were lost to logging, but Muir Woods is hard to get to, and was spared as a result. Luckily, these are some of the most impressive uncut stands of old growth trees.
John Muir has made his mark on the California wilderness, hiking and documenting some of the most scenic areas in the state. You can take a 211-mile hike known as the John Muir trail, which takes you through the most scenic parts of the High Sierra from Yosemite to Mount Whitney. It is also part of the Pacific Crest trail, which is even larger, and goes through famous California State Parks like Kings Canyon National Park, the Devils Postpile National Monument, and yet another grove of impressive giant Sequoia trees at the Sequoia National Park.
You don't have to be an avid outdoorsmen or an experienced hiker to enjoy an ancient forest. While its not a rugged backcountry trail, you will feel like you're miles from anywhere when you visit the Muir Woods National Monument. The terrain is flat and easy to navigate, and there is a visitor center and a map of Muir Woods to help guide you. A short 15 minute drive from San Francisco, you will get an appreciation for the distinct ecology of Nothern California, where the biggest attractions are those that are outdoors, like the Avenue of the Giants on the Northern California Coast, which is another famous grove of coastal Redwood trees.
The next time you visit the Bay Area, rent a car and prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience. You will experience the inner peace when you visit one of the best California hiking trails, and take in the experience of being among these ancient coastal redwoods, whose moss covered trunks and deep red hue will seem all the more vivid in the quiet stillness of the forest. You can get the feeling that inspired John Muir to dedicate his life to conservation once you've enjoyed this leisurely, enriching outdoors experience at Muir Woods National Monument.