Reviews of Muir Woods Tours

This post compares and reviews tours to and of Muir Woods, including how to visit on your own. There are many companies to choose from with many options and departure locations.  Muir Woods is a beautiful part of California that boasts some of the most impressive coastal redwoods in the country. We hope that this post encourages you to visit and helps you decide how best to get there! 


Combo Passes / Discounts

Free San Francisco Tours

Wine Tours and Other Day Trips

 

Why Visit Muir Woods

Getting There on Your Own

Tours from San Francisco


 


WHY VISIT MUIR WOODS

The Muir Woods National Monument is an area just north of San Francisco in Marin County, California. The Muir Woods is famous for it’s beautiful coast redwood trees, which can reach a staggering height of more than 300 feet (92 meters) and live for over 1,000 years! The tallest tree in Muir Woods 258 feet (79 meters) tall and an astonishing 1,200 years old. There are 6 miles (10 km) of trails throughout Muir Woods National Monument, allowing visitors to choose from several different hiking routes. 

Muir Woods or Redwood National Forest?

Both the Muir Woods and the Redwood National Forest are beautiful national parks in the state of California. The two are often confused as both feature old growth coastal redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens). However, Muir Woods is much closer to San Francisco and receives a greater number of annual visitors, Redwood National Forest is more than 300 miles north of San Francisco, much larger, and much less visited. So, which should you choose to visit during your trip to California? It depends on how much time you have… 

Redwoods National Forest – 300 miles north of San Francisco, so best for those who have the time to dedicate a full day to traveling to and from the forest. Much larger and quieter, thus ideal for those truly looking for an escape. 

Muir Woods – Beautiful forest that is just a 40 minute drive from San Francisco. Smaller than Redwoods National Forest, but features the same type of trees.

 


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HOW TO GET TO MUIR WOODS

Muir Woods National Monument is open 365 days a year and does not require reservations. The forest opens every morning at 8 am and then closes between 5-8 pm depending on the time of year. For the most up-to-date information, check the National Park Service website. There is a $10 entrance fee to Muir Woods for those 16 and older.  Under 16 years old are free.  

Located just 12 miles north of San Francisco, the address for Muir Woods National Monument is: 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (map).  

 

There are several different ways to get there: 


Via Muir Woods Shuttle:

This is the most common way people get to Muir Woods without a car (outside of taking a guided tour from San Francisco). This is a seasonal shuttle that services Muir Woods National Moment. The round-trip fare for adults is just $5 and free for guests aged 15 and under. There are 3 different shuttle stop locations from which visitors can take the shuttle, none of which are in San Francisco proper.  Most visitors to San Francisco will take the ferry to Sausalito, which costs $11.50 each way for passengers aged 5 to 64 (free otherwise). 

Simply use Google Maps to determine the best route for you to get to any of the 3 shuttle stops via public transportation, then take the Muir Woods Shuttle right into the forest! 


Via Public Transportation (without Muir Woods Shuttle): 

As the Muir Woods Shuttle only operates seasonally, guests who hope to visit the forest via public transportation might find the trip to be rather long and confusing during the winter months. The trip takes roughly 2 hours on public transportation from downtown San Francisco to Muir Woods National Monument. Click here to see precise routes and timetables. 


By Car: 

Visitors can also opt to rent a car and drive to Muir Woods National Monument. It is only about a 40 minute drive, however can take much longer if traveling during heavy traffic. Though rental cars allow guests to have greater freedom to explore, it is important to note that parking is limited and no RVs are allowed.  The National Park Service suggests arriving no later than 9:30 am to obtain parking in the morning or to come 2 hours before closing, when the parking lot is less likely to be full.


Via Guided Tour: Finally, guests can also visit the Muir Woods with a guided tour company that brings visitors directly into the heart of the park. For more information about guided tours of the Muir Woods, please see the following section. 

Important: Pets, bicycles, smoking, horseback riding and camping are not permitted within the park. Food is not permitted in the forest.

 


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GUIDED TOURS OF MUIR WOODS

Each of the following companies offer tours to Muir Woods. CitySightseeing, Gray Line, and Tower Tours lead combination tours that include tours of Sausalito, Sonoma, and/or San Francisco. San Francisco Shuttle Tours, on the other hand, exclusively visits Muir Woods and is the only company that offers to take guests to the highest peak in the park, thus allowing visitors to hike downhill rather than up. Most tour companies spend between 1-1.5 hours in the forest, though San Francisco Shuttle Tours allows guests to spend up to 2 hours in the forest. As noted below, some companies (such as CitySightseeing and Gray Line) are more so transportation services rather than tours, as there is limited guided commentary off the coach. Prices range from $50 to over $100 per adult, depending on what other activities are combined with the trip to Muir Woods. Generally, guests should expect to spend 1-2 hours in the forest. 

 


Dylan’s Tours

Dylan’s Tours offer intimate, guided bus tours of San Francisco and the surrounding area. The Ultimate Day in the Bay Tour is one of their most popular, as it includes a tour of the city, as well as a visit to the famous Muir Woods. The day begins at Fisherman’s Wharf and then continues on through North Beach, Haight-Ashbury, Pacific Heights, and other popular neighborhoods, before heading to the Muir Woods. 

Dylan’s Tours is perhaps most well known for their small group sizes and knowledgeable guides. Their fleet of minibusses allows for a much more intimate experience than most of the other tour companies included on this list. As this is a combination tour, you will only have 1 hour to explore Muir Woods on your own. However, this is a great way to really maximize your time in San Francisco if you are otherwise limited. This is a premium service with the prices to match. 

Reviews: 

A vast majority of guests give this tour a full 5 out of 5 stars on both TripAdvisor and Get Your Guide (read the reviews), praising the company for packing so much into a brief 6 hour period. Unlike some of the others, Dylan’s Tours is reported to be very well organized and always on time. Guides are also complimented for their impressive knowledge and likability. In fact, some guests liken the experience to a close friend driving them around for the day. Negative reviews are rare and usually the result of extenuating circumstances. 

  • The Ultimate Day in the Bay – Includes Muir Woods 

 


CitySightseeing Tours

CitySightseeing Tours are classic hop-off, hop-on bus tours that take visitors to several different tourist destinations.  They offer several options that include Muir Woods.  This outfit offers complimentary hotel pick-up. Read more about their hop-on, hop-off city and Alcatraz tours.  This company’s Muir Woods Tours are also a part of their Mega Pass Tourist Discount Pass, which allows you to combine a trip to Muir Woods with 17 other possible tours and attractions.  No matter how you purchase, this is certainly the most affordable option on this list.

Reviews: 

Tours to Muir Woods National Monument with CitySightseeing receive generally positive reviews, with many guests praising the ease of transportation. The quality of the guided commentary varies depending on the driver, though most visitors find it informative and enjoyable. Some guests found the tour pick-up/drop-off schedule to be somewhat restrictive, however, this is a common complaint among all organized tours to Muir Woods. Overall, visitors who traveled with CitySightseeing found the experience very enjoyable and straightforward.

  • Muir Woods and Sausalito  
    • $55 – Adults | $42 – Children 
    • Departs daily at 9 am from San Francisco with multiple departures from Sausalito daily
    • Duration: 4-6 hours
    • More info and to book.

Muir Woods and Wine Country Tour

This is a 9-hour tour that combines some of Sonoma’s best wineries with a stop at Muir Woods.   It operates daily at 9 am year round.  Be sure to read our post on Sonoma and Napa Valley wine tours.

This tour is included for free with the purchase of Smart Destination’s All-Inclusive and Build-Your-Own tourist discount cards.

 


Gray Line Tours

There are 3 different tours to Muir Woods National Monument offered by Gray Line Tours: (1) Muir Woods and Sausalito Tour, (2) San Francisco City Tour & Muir Woods, and (3) Muir Woods and Bay Cruise.  As each of these tours to Muir Woods include a visit to a second location, time is inevitably limited at each stop. All tours include admission to Muir Woods and hotel pick-up/drop-off during the morning tour.  Prices on Gray Line’s own website seem to be more expensive than purchasing ticket on Viator.  So, whenever it is relevant, we list the links to purchase on Viator.  

Reviews: 

The Gray Line Tour reviews are very positive, as many compliment the quality of the guides and the ease of transportation. Some guests complain about confusion regarding the hotel pick-up location, so be sure to check your confirmation email ahead of time. Others comment that there wasn’t enough time at Muir Woods, but the length of time depends on the tour that you select. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 

 

Muir Woods and Sausalito Tour 

The first tour brings guests to Muir Woods for 1.25 hours and then to Sausalito for another hour. Guests can choose to extend their stay and pay for their own ferry ride back, if they wish.  (4 hour tour).  This ticket includes the $10 adult admission fee to the park, so as it stands, it’s a better value than City Sightseeing’s similar tour.

  • $64 – Adult | $60 Senior (65+) | $35 Child (5-11) | Free for under 5
  • Departs daily at various times (5.5 hour tour)
  • More info or to book

 


San Francisco City Tour & Muir Woods 

This tour spends a large majority of the tour in the city rather than in Muir Woods. In some instances, guests who chose to depart in the late afternoon were not able to visit the Muir Woods because of its early seasonal closure.  

  • $84 – Adult | $64 Child (5-11) | Free for under 5
  • Departs daily at 9 am
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • More info or to book

 


Muir Woods and Bay Cruise

Finally, guests may take the Muir Woods and Bay Cruise, which allows visitors to spend significant time in the Muir Woods forest before taking a cruise across the bay.

  • $91 – Adult | $81 Senior (65+) | $57 Child (5-11) | Free for under 5
  • Departs daily at various times (5.5 hour tour)
  • More info or to book

 


Tower Tours

In addition to their many other tours, Tower Tours also offers a tour of Muir Woods, which departs  3x daily and can be combined with other attractions: (1) Muir Woods Tour, (2) Muir Woods Tour + Sausalito Ferry, (3) Muir Woods Tours + Aquarium of the Bay, (4) and Muir Woods Tour + Golden Gate Bay Cruise.  Like the CitySightseeing tour to Muir Woods, this tour is more of a transportation service than a guided tour. Guests are allowed “up to 1.5 hours” in the forest, though traffic may affect the allotted time.  They too offer complimentary hotel pick up from most hotels.

Reviews: 

The Muir Woods Tour by Tower Tours is a highly rated tour with excellent reviews. Though this company maintains a 4 star rating on TripAdvisor, most of the reviews for their Muir Woods Tour are 5 stars. Commentators describe Muir Woods as “beautiful” and the guides as “excellent” and “entertaining.” There are other complaints about the size of the crowds at Muir Woods, however this is a common concern among all visitors. TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 

  • Muir Woods Tour
    • $63 – Adults | $61 – Seniors | $33 – Child
    • Departs daily at 9 am, 11 am, and 2 pm
    • Durantion: 3.5 hours
    • More info and to book.
  • Muir Woods Tour + Sausalito Ferry  
    • $74 – Adults | $72 – Seniors | $44 – Child
    • Departs daily at 9 am, 11 am, and 2 pm
    • More info and to book.
  •  Muir Woods Tours + Aquarium of the Bay
    • $78 – Adults | $72 – Seniors | $40 – Child
    • Departs daily at 9 am, 11 am, and 2 pm
    • Duration: 5 hours
    • More info and to book.
  • Muir Woods Tour + Golden Gate Bay Cruise
    • $85 – Adults | $83 – Seniors | $50 – Child
    • Departs daily at 9 am, 11 am, and 2 pm
    • Duration: 5 hours
    • More info and to book.

 


Extranomical Tours

Extranomical has perhaps the largest selection of tours of any bus company in the Bay Area. They offer several trips to Muir Woods, most of which are combined with other tourist destinations such as Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Sausalito, and Alcatraz. Guests are allowed up to 2 hours to explore Muir Woods on their own, during which time they can also buy lunch or hike a particular trail. Their tours include free pick-up and drop-off at almost any hotel in San Francisco, making the door to door service very convenient. 

Reviews: With a 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor and a 4-star rating on Yelp, it’s safe to say that most guests of Extranomical Tours have a great time. Most of the negative reviews seem to be centered around scheduling conflicts, but sometimes it’s impossible to foresee issues such as these. If the only issues with this service are a few random, unforeseen problems with their schedule, that’s a pretty good sign. Almost every other similar service has received complaints about the bus either being late or broken, so it’s worth noting that Extranomical does not appear to have these problems.

Muir Woods Expedition 

Muir Woods, Sausalito, & San Francisco Ferry 

Muir Woods and Wine Country (Sonoma and Napa Valley) 

  • $125 – Adult | $100 – Child (10 and under)
  • Visit Muir Woods and 3 wineries. 
  • 9 hours
  • Departing daily @7 am and @8 am.
  • More info to book.

Muir Woods, Sausalito, and Alcatraz

  • $92 – Adult | $76 – Child (10 and under)
  • 7 hours
  • Departing daily @ 8 am. 
  • More info to book.

 


San Francisco Shuttle Tours

San Francisco Shuttle Tours lead several different bus tours in the city and nearby locations. They offer 2 tours to Muir Woods: (1) Premium Muir Woods Hiking Tour, which brings guests to the highest point in Muir Woods and then leads a 2 hour downhill hike; and (2) Muir Woods Tour which takes guests to the Muir Wood Monument Tour and allows guests 90 minutes in the forest. Of all the other tours, the Premium Muir Woods Hiking Tour allows guests to spend the longest amount of time in Muir Woods and is the only tour that brings guests to the highest point of the forest, thus allowing guests to hike downhill instead of up. As neither of these tour are ever offered in combination with other sites, this company is the best option for those hoping to dedicate the entire tour to Muir Woods. 

Cost + Hours:

      • Premium Muir Woods Hiking Tour – $79 for adults; $76 for seniors; $71 for children 
        • Daily at 12:45pm (5 hour tour)
      • Muir Woods Tour – $65 adults; $62 for seniors; $57 for children
        • Daily at 12:45pm (5 hour tour) 

Reviews: Though this company comes highly reviewed for most of their tours, guests appear to have a mixed opinion regarding the Premium Muir Woods Hiking Tour. For many, the downhill hike felt too rushed and left several guests wishing they had more time for photo ops. However, those who are seasoned hikers are unlikely to take issue with the short time allowance. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.

 


Tom Martell’s Famous Muir Woods Tours

Tom Martell’s Famous Muir Woods Tours is a small company owned and run by Tom Martell, a naturist and experienced Muir Woods guide. Tom’s tours are fully escorted and aim to inform guests about the flora and fauna of the area, the Redwoods themselves, Indian customs, park and local history, and folklore. Tom promises that he is “here to give you a glimpse into the life of the forest, not to steer you to the gift shop or hurry you along.” The tour covers 2-4 miles, includes water, snacks, and fruit juice, as well as complimentary pick-up at your San Francisco hotel and drop-off at the Sausalito Ferry. NOTE: Tom is currently running tours on a very limited basis

More information

 


Viator

Viator is a third-party company that sells handpicked tours on behalf of other companies. Viator has curated a list of several different tours of Muir Woods, most of which are hosted by one of the companies listed above. Some of their most popular tours include: (1) Alcatraz Tour + Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, and Sausalito Day Trip, (2) San Francisco Super Saver: Muir Woods & Wine Country, (3) Muir Woods Tour of California Coastal Redwoods. 

Cost + Hours:

      • Alcatraz Tour + Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods, and Sausalito Day Trip – $145 for adults
        • Departs daily at 9am 
      • San Francisco Super Saver: Muir Woods & Wine Country – $105 for adults
        • Check website for tour dates/times
      • Muir Woods Tour of California Coastal Redwoods – $63 for adults
        • Departs daily at 9 am and 2 pm

Check out all Muir Tours listed on Viator.

 


SELF-GUIDED TOURS OF MUIR WOODS

Guests who prefer to hike around Muir Woods on their own or who choose not to use a tour company to travel there can follow several different self-guided walks around the park. Each ranges immensely in terms of distance and time/difficulty level. 

View the Most Popular Muir Woods Day Hikes and the NPS Map of Muir Woods to plan your visit. 

 


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COMBO PASSES / DISCOUNTS

Smart Destinations 

Smart Destinations sells 2 different discount passes that feature visits to Muir Woods: (1) Build Your Own Own San Francisco Attraction Pass and (2) All Inclusive Pass.  The Build Your Own Pass allows guests to choose from 32 different attractions when putting together a pass that will allow them discounted entry at the selected places. The All Inclusive Pass is valid for a 7 day period during which guests are allowed to visit ALL attractions included on their list. The latter option is more expensive, but does give guests access to many more sites.  Click on the links for prices and attraction details.

 


CitySightseeing 

City Sightseeing recently did away with their Freestyle and GoPass, and introduced the San Francisco Mega Pass. This new pass allows you to select between different options: Mega Pass 1 Day City Tour + 2 attractions, Mega Pass 2 Day City Tour + 3 attractions, or the Mega Pass 3 Day City Tour + 4 attractions. With each, you can choose from 25 different attractions, including a San Francisco Bay Cruise, Escape the Rock boat tour of Alcatraz, or a tour to the Muir Woods, amongst many other options. 

All Mega Passes also include the Official City Tour (Blue Line) for the validity period of the pass plus choose from a list of 25 attractions.

25 Attractions to Choose From: 

  • San Francisco Bay Cruise
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • San Francisco Night Tour
  • Muir Woods Tour
  • SF Museum Of Modern Art
  • 3hr Bike Rental
  • 30 minute Go Car Tour *
  • see the full list.

Groupon, Living Social, and GoldStar 

Additionally, there are several other discount websites such as Groupon and LivingSocial, that periodically offer discounted tours to Muir Woods. These companies update their deals on a regular basis, so be sure to check each website to learn more about what special discounts are on offer. 

 


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Wine Tours and Other Day Trips from San Francisco

Guide to Visiting Sausalito 

Reviews of the Best Tours of Yosemite from San Francisco

Reviews of the Best Wine Tours of Sonoma

Reviews of the Best Wine Tours of Napa


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