The towering redwood trees in the 558-acre preserve, set aside for protection in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt and named after naturalist John Muir, have drawn hikers for more than 100 years, including more than 900,000 in 2019.
Park officials said they planned to limit crowds to no more than 50 percent of normal using a reservation system as a way to promote social distancing. The move fits with Muir Woods’ existing reservation system, which went into effect in 2018 and requires reservations year-round for all vehicles entering the park as a way to reduce overcrowding on the narrow, winding roads near the park. However, the popular Muir Woods shuttle service, which allows visitors to avoid the drive over windy roads to get to the park, has been suspended indefinitely “to minimize visitor exposure in confined spaces.”
Muir Woods’ hours are 9am-6pm daily. MAKE A RESERVATION HERE.
While Muir Woods’ visitor center remains closed, restrooms, trails, the cafe and gift shop will be open. People who walk or bike into the park do not need reservations.
According to the Mercury News, Muir Woods has played a high-profile role since 1905, when William Kent, a businessman and later congressman, purchased it to prevent the old-growth forests from being logged. Actors Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak visited Muir Woods in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo, even though the scene was actually shot in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. In May, 1945, delegates from all over the world who met in San Francisco to draft the United Nations charter paused to visit Muir Woods for a ceremony honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died a month earlier.
Muir Woods is one of the last areas within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to reopen. Parking lots at Crissy Field in San Francisco, along with Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, the Marin headlands, the Phleger Estate, the Presidio and other areas are open.
“Muir Woods is a special place, unlike any other within the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Laura Joss, superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes Muir Woods. “We are delighted to welcome visitors back.”