First time here
By Austin Explorer on 7/6/2020
Distance: 7.24 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 53 minutes
Coppertone and I have lived in the Bay Area for years now, but have never managed to make it out to Muir Woods for a hike. The fear of large crowds always had us putting off a visit. COVID-19 provided a window of opportunity because the park was further limiting visitors in an effort to ensure people on the trails were able to maintain proper social distancing. We also had the Monday after the 4th off from work, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. We purchased our reservation ahead of time and snagged a parking spot not too far from the entrance gate.
We started off down the main path, Redwood Creek Trail along the east bank of the creek of the same name. Much of the trail is well maintained boardwalk, which prevents damage to the Redwoods root structure which generally does not run as deep as you would expect of it given their height. Numerous informative kiosks along the way tell some of the history of the park and the old growth trees the park is meant to protect.
When Redwood Creek Trail ended and crossed the creek we took Hillside Trail south, climbing high above the creekbed. The trail is rougher single track here. It eventually descends and joins up with the Bohemian Grove Trail, an easy path that parallels the creek like its sibling Redwood Creek Trail on the other side. A couple of bridges join the two together to allow visitors to make small loops of their own choosing though some of the bridges were either closed or limited to one way traffic to encourage social distancing.
After crossing the creek not terribly far from the visitor center we went back up Redwood Creek Trail to tackle the tougher Canopy View Trail and make a loop out of it, Lost Trail and Fern Creek Trail. After getting back down to Redwood Creek Trail we felt we had done enough for the day and headed to car and home.
Though we had never been here before, we suspect that the number of people here was far less than normal. Mostly, that allowed for ample space to give everyone safe distance. A couple of the paths were even converted to one way trails cut down on the possibility of congestion. For the most part, people did the right thing and most had masks on. But of course, there are always exceptions. Along the Canopy View Trail a large family group, none of whom were wearing masks, was about to overtake us on the trail. We found a wide section of trail in which it was possible for all of them to pass on the lower segment several feet from us. Two young boys dashed in front of the rest of the group right at us. I called out to them and asked they keep their distance if they were unmasked. To their credit, they did. The parents and the rest of the group passed right by and didn't say a work. This is why we cannot have nice things.
We'd love to come back some day when fear of getting too close to others on the trail is not an issue. But we loved being able to enjoy much of the trails with very few people. I think we'll take advantage of the reservation system and choose days in the middle of the week during non-vacation parts of the calendar on our next trip. When might that be? Who knows?