Main Trail at Muir Woods National Monument
Length: 1.5 miles round trip
Width: 90 inches at the visitor center, 72 inches past Cathedral Grove
Surface type: asphalt and boardwalk
Typical grade: <3%
Maximum grade: 11%
Typical cross slope: 2%
Maximum cross slope: 8%
Obstacles: One steep section of uplifted asphalt
Use Fee required?: $15 per adult
Accessible features: assistive listening devices, Braille Brochure and Trail Map, audio described brochures and waysides
The Main Trail at Muir Woods National Monument, just north of San Francisco, is one of the most visited trails in the country because of the splendor of the redwoods and proximity to San Francisco. Don’t let that deter you from going there. It is a meaningful place to visit.
The Main Trail is a combination of boardwalk and asphalt surface along the east side of Redwood Creek. The trail is considered by the National Park Service as “accessible” as far as bridge 4. The boardwalk section is nearest the visitor center near the entrance with 12 inch boards and one-half in gaps. Where the boardwalk transitions to asphalt there is a ramp with 10% grade.
Across bridge 4 the trail becomes the Ben Johnson Trail with a step and steep inclines.
Typical grades are low from the visitor center to bridge 3 and increase a little between bridges 3 and 4. Leaf litter consistently covers the trail.
Bridges 1, 2 and 3 provide access to a parallel Bohemian Forest Trail on the west side of the creek. A good round-trip path is to take the Main Trail to bridge 4. On the return, cross over to the west side of Redwood Creek at bridge 3 and return to the park entrance through the Bohemian Forest.
There is a potential obstacle on the return on the west side trail where the asphalt has been uplifted between two giant trees for a very short section. Here grade is up to 16% and cross slope reaches 11% for a few feet.
Even with high visitation, Muir Woods National Monument still provides a quiet walk among giant redwoods.
From Panoramic Highway, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods National Monument can be accessed from the winding Muir Woods Road. Fees are $15 per adult. Parking and shuttle reservations are now required and can be purchased at gomuirwoods.com. The best time to visit to avoid crowds is early in the day.
The National Park website can be found at https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm
Last visited May, 2016
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