Photos by Hans Roenau & Kirke Wrench.

At the beginning of 2018, nearly two years after National Park Service officials installed hundreds of posts along a key road to restrict parking outside of the Muir Woods National Monument because of safety and gridlock concerns, a reservation system for parking spaces and seats on a shuttle bus to the hugely popular park went live. It was a massive change at the time, as the new system required Muir Woods visitors to either reserve a parking space if they drive or buy a ticket for the shuttle bus that leaves from the Pohono Drive bus stop near the Glassdoor building at Mill Valley’s southern edge or the Sausalito Ferry Terminal.

Reservations could be made up to 90 days in advance for $8 per vehicle or for $3 per seat on a shuttle for anyone 16 years or older.

Muir Woods parking and reservations were adjusted precisely because of the nearly 800,000 people who visited in 2022Muir Woods National Monument — the official name of the park — is even getting a $20 million restoration to restore the creek and fix up the parking lot. (But, don’t worry, the park won’t be closed during the work.)

With all the people and the need to plan ahead, is it worth visiting Muir Woods? YES, writes Kelly O’Mara in a special to SFGATE.

Keep reading for everything you need to know to plan your trip to Muir Woods and to avoid the worst of the crowds and make the most of your visit to the redwood trees.