12 miles north of San Francisco is the Muir Woods National Monument, one of the few surviving stands of old growth Coastal Redwoods. We visited on an unusually beautiful, sunshiney July afternoon and I’d like to say we had the place to ourselves but it was overrun with visitors.
This is not getting out into nature. This sanitised nature with a visitors centre, gift shop, cafe and restrooms. There is also a wooden boardwalk, to protect the plants and ground from the stupidity and lack of care of the visitors. For which a number of them apparently the rules don’t apply, and had stepped off the boardwalk (or gone over the railing) to get a better photo. These people should be shot by park rangers…
The boardwalk itself is essentially a circular track with a cut through so when you have had enough, you can take a turn and end up back at the visitors centre. We only had about an hour to walk, but I suspect the further you get from the visitors centre, the less people would be hanging about.
In terms of wildlife, we did see deer through the trees and chipmunks scavenging for food near the visitors centre.
Worth a stop if you are in the area, it’s very pretty and likely at other times of year (out of the summer holidays), it would be a lovely, serene experience. The trees themselves are amazing, the photos do not do them justice.
Also for the Star Wars geeks, Muir Woods is very likely the inspiration for the forest moon of Endor, as Lucas film is based in San Francisco. I certainly had no difficulty imagining speeder bikes whizzing between the trees.