Hiking Muir Woods

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

To kick off the new year, I suggested to everyone visiting CA for the holiday weekend that we get out and do something outdoors. I thought a hike through Muir Woods would be the perfect way to get some exercise and do some family bonding. We packed up two carloads of people and drove the windy road through Mill Valley to get to the ocean side of the hills, and in we went to the redwood forest. I do have to give a shout out to Jake and Tio for generously dropping the rest of us at the park entrance. They apparently had to park a mile away, hoof it back and forth for the rest of us, and they didn’t complain once…at least not to “management” (aka, me and Auntie). Thank you gentlemen!

So, for those of you who have never been to Muir Woods, it will be difficult to explain how magical and humbling this forest is. Even with all the other visitors walking through and taking pictures, you almost feel as if you’re stuck in a different time, perhaps even walking through a real life “Lord of the Rings” forest. The forest is filled with redwood trees, which according to the brochure, can grow up to over 300 feet tall. How amazing! The land was donated by the Kent family in the early 1900s as an effort to protect the forest from the booming logging industry. President Roosevelt declared it a national monument in 1908.

Muir Woods was very busy on Sunday, with nearly 50,000 visitors according to the park rangers. Nearby attractions were also very crowded, likely due to the beautiful weather we had in the bay area on New Year’s Day. Even the Alcatraz tours were sold out! Of course, that will be something we do when our little brother comes out to visit us in a few months. Oh, the things to see in California!

When I walk through these amazing places, I am reminded that humans are a fairly new species in the history of the world. Redwood trees, for example, live to be hundreds or even several thousand years old. It is a humbling experience to walk among them, and to realize how close we came to wiping them out in the logging of the early 1900s. It is a reminder that people need to be careful of the resources they abuse and to be cautious of our growing impact on the balance of nature.

The hike was indeed a wonderful way to begin the new year.

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