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Muir Woods - February via public transport

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Southwest
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Muir Woods - February via public transport

I'd love to visit Muir Woods the first week in February and I understand the best time to go is very early in the morning. I really would like to spend several hours in the woods so I don't think a tour would be much fun - they only seem to spend an hour or so there. Is there an easy way to get there via public transport that time of year? I definitely do not want to rent a car.

San Francisco, Ca
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1. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

The short version is that in February, I don't think there is any easy public transit to Muir Woods. There may be a bus run by the West Marin Stagecoach Line, but they don't stop at the valley, only along a ridgeline. You'll have to hike down the mountain about a mile on a trail to get to the visitors center (and hike back up to get the bus back). And if it's raining and muddy, that would not be a pleasant hike. (This was the case several years ago; hopefully someone will have more current info if this is outdated.)

San Francisco
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2. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

Here is a link to the West Marin Stage line that SFSusan refers to. You can see the stops on the map and how far they are from Muir: http://www.marintransit.org/routes/61.html

Another option is to take the West Marin bus up the hill to Mountain Home Inn or Pantoll (or somewhere in between) and use the superb Mt. Tam trails to hike down to Mill Valley. We do it almost every year from Mountain Play and there are sections with great views and others with redwoods. If you're truly ambitious you could hike the Dipsea Trail from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach.

Weather in February is "iffy" however.

Southwest
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3. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

Thanks for the info. I've been looking at tours and see that Extranomical has one which allows 2 hours in the woods. Not quite as much time as I had wanted, but easy.

Two questions - on this tour, are you free to wander alone at your own pace? Also, It costs about $75 including admission to the woods - is it customary to tip on top of that fee?

San Francisco, Ca
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4. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

Yes, it is customary to tip on top of the cost of tours... I'd probably tip $5 (for 2 people) unless the guide does something special for you.

I've not done this tour, but I believe you are free to wander at your own pace, provided you're back at the rendezvous point at the appointed time. Tour guides will NOT wait for you!

Southwest
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5. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

Extranomical also has a tour that goes on to Sonoma, visiting a couple of wineries. I'm thinking that wine country might be a little drab in February - do you think it would still be an interesting way to finish the afternoon? I've never been.

San Francisco
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6. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

I don't know which wineries this tour goes to but I love wine country in winter. It's much less crowded in the first place. And some wineries have quite snug tasting rooms and wine tasting makes for a great "indoor" activity if the weather is lousy. If it's a brilliant sunny winter's day then all the better.

Southwest
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7. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

I'll be sure and set aside 1 day for a tour. Based on reviews, Best Bay sounds like a good bet.

San Francisco...
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8. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

Why don't you rent a car for the day go early to Muir and then you can drive to Sonoma and visit a winery or two for a tour and tasting and not drinking and drive back.

Southwest
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9. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

Normally I would consider renting a car, but don't want to mess with one in San Francisco this trip - hills, traffic and this being a solo trip. I love to use public transport there - I think it's great for most destinations. Just not Muir Woods.

Berkeley, California
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10. Re: Muir Woods - February via public transport

Hiking in February is weather dependent. I would not book any tours or rental cars until you arrive and know for certain if it will be raining. I would not go hiking if it has rained within the past 3 days either. It'll be way too muddy.

Muir Woods is a popular spot to go hiking, but unless you specifically want to hike in that environment, it's a real hassle to get to in February without a car. Are you open to other hiking spots? You can see websites like http://www.bahiker.com for a comprehensive list of options.

If you are open to other options, here are 3 convenient-to-public-transit options:

Marin Headlands - Muni Line 76 (from SF) on Sundays and holidays only.

Tilden Regional Park - AC Transit Route 67 (from Berkeley BART) on weekends and holidays only.

Joaquin Miller Park/Redwood Regional Park - AC Transit Routes 39 or 339 (from Fruitvale BART) on weekdays only.

Another interesting hiking spot is Angel Island, which is accessible by ferry.

If you are interested in a Muir Woods-style experience and have plans to head to Santa Cruz, I recommend Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. The park is accessible by Santa Cruz Metro. It's possible but impractical as a day trip, but it's a great option otherwise.