15 Fun Facts and a Bit of History About Muir Woods National Monument
John Muir said it best; “The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” The well-known environmental philosopher recognized this spell-binding national monument as a definite must-visit for anyone traveling to California.
People from all around the world visit this sprawling slice of heaven in Marin Country and pay their respect to nature in the cathedral of redwoods that is Muir Woods National Monument. We will walk you through some surprisingly fun facts and a bit of the history of this magical place.
A Bit of History About Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument has a rich and varied history, unlike many other monuments in the US. This national park is many things; home to the Coast Miwok, a hot tourist spot, and most importantly, a beacon of conservation.
Why Was the National Monument Founded?
Previously known as Redwood Canyon, Muir Woods National Monument was once home to the Coast Miwok people. To fulfill their food needs, these resourceful people started controlled fires in an effort to open up the forest and conjure food for the deer, which in turn provided optimal hunting opportunities.
With the increase in human population, there was a subsequent need for timber, meat, and crops. Many animals including deer, bears, cougars, and coyotes, started to disappear from the area as a result. Soon, the timber, including massive redwood stands, underwent extensive logging.
The local conservationist and well-known politician at the time, William Kent, observed that due to the population of Redwood Canyon, the area was getting intensely vulnerable, and he was charged with protecting it.
How Was the National Monument Founded?
In 1905, Willian Kent bought 600 acres of Redwood Canyon for a hefty amount of $45,000. In 1907, North Coast Water Company was planning for a reservoir in Redwood Canyon. In opposition to this, John Muir asked Kent and his wife for help, and in turn, they donated 295 acres of Redwood Canyon to the Federal Government.
On January 9, 1908, the government announced Muir Woods as the National Monument and the water company project was quickly scrapped.
The Monument’s Development Over Time
Soon after the announcement of its National Monument status, Muir Woods became a hot tourism spot. Thousands of people trampling through the woods on a daily basis harmed the vegetation.
As a protection measure, cars were banned, and designated trails were marked. After some time, the management also banned picnicking and the collection of plants and rocks in the area.
Even today, there is a continuous effort to rebuild the soil, revegetate the land, revitalize the streams, and rebuild the population of salmon and trout.
15 Fun Facts About Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Museum has gathered some fantastic fun facts. Below are 16 of those facts about Muir Woods National Monument that will make you want to visit as soon as possible.
3-D Bronze Topographical Map
The monument features a beautiful 3-D bronze topographical map of the Redwood Creek watershed at the plaza entrance. The map will give you a complete idea of what to expect. Before you start walking, study the map, decide where you want to go, then start your journey for an amazing experience.
Cathedral Grove is the first permanent quiet zone in the entire U.S. national park system. The rangers strongly encourage every visitor to switch off their mobile phones and maintain silence throughout the forest.
500 Delegates from 46 Nations
In 1945, some 500 delegates from 46 nations gathered in San Francisco and Cathedral Glove for the formation of the United Nations, and to honor President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had recently died.
The Truth is in the Name
Originally, President Theodore Roosevelt wanted to name this National Monument after Congressmen William Kent, as he was the one who donated to the Monument and protected it. However, after Kent’s suggestion, the President named it after John Muir because Muir was the one who called upon congress members to protect the area.
It’s Teeming with Life
Here you will get to see wonderful aquatic life. A great number of silver salmon and steelhead trout come here to spawn during their season. The park is also the home of red-legged frogs, along with recently introduced western pound turtles.
Home to Various Bird Species
Birds prefer living in quiet places. This is the reason Muir Woods is home to a great number of bird species. You will be surprised to know that Wilson’s Warbler, a tiny bright yellow bird, travels all the way from South America to nest in this forest!
Muir Woods — A Haven for Tree Lovers
Covered with coastal redwoods, a species known for their fragrant red bark and towering heights, Muir Woods is heaven for tree lovers. The tallest tree here is 258 feet. The average age is 600 to 800 years, while the oldest tree in this forest is over 1,200 years old!
Once This Monument Was Black Bear Territory
Grizzly and black bears used to roam here in great numbers. Unfortunately, with the extensive logging of timber, the bears largely disappeared for more habitable environs.
The Return of River Otters
Among many things that have improved due to conservation efforts, one is the return of river otters. You will find these adorable animals hunting and playing around Redwood Creek. If you want to spot them, visit in the early morning as the otters are more active around this time.
Women’s Dipsea Hike
Women’s Dipsea Hike was a hiking event for women held in Muir Woods. Organized on April 21st, 1918, it was the only women’s hiking event at that time.
The Crookedest Railroad in the World
Until 1930, tourists frequently used the Crookedest Railroad to reach the redwoods of Muir Woods. Today, people still use Crookedest as it is now an exceptional hiking trail with breathtaking views.
A True Woods Experience
This fact might excite all the nature lovers out there: Muir Woods is an exceptionally dense, dark, and quiet forest that promises to calm and soothe your soul.
Some Of Your Favorite Movies Were Filmed Here
You might be surprised to know that some of the big blockbuster movies, including The Lost World, Jurassic Park, Outbreak, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, were filmed here.
Mild and Comfortable Weather
Due to its mild climate all year round, Muir Woods is one of the best spots to visit. Whether you come in the summer or winter, you will find a very comfortable environment here. Dense fog covers the woods in the morning, evaporating by the afternoon into crisp beauty.
Perfect for Hiking
Even if you are a pro hiker, Muir’s hiking trails will thrill and challenge you. The park has trails for hikers of every level. One of the most famous of these trails is the Bohemian Grove Trail, which has a two-mile loop of wooden walking paths.
We can guarantee that visiting this place will be one of the most amazing experiences you have ever had. So, don’t just confine yourself to reading this blog. Visit this fantastic natural monument, as there is so much for you to discover.
For the most memorable experience, keep the adventure flowing and try our half day Giant Redwoods Private Jeep tour with a stop in the Bayside Town of Sausalito, or a glorious full-day combination San Francisco City tour and Muir Woods Tour on board our convertible jeep!