Muir Woods is part of the Golden Gate National Recreational area and is roughly 12 miles from San Francisco. We stopped by the woods for a little picnic-lunch while on our way to Napa…
The forest was declared a national monument by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 from land donated by a private individual (William Kent). The monument was eventually named after the naturalist John Muir, famous for his extensive environmental campaigns to establish the national park system.
Muir Woods National Monument is part of the coastal redwood forest dating back to a hundred and fifty million years ago (yep, that’s a while back) when the great ancestors of the redwood and Sequoia trees grew throughout the west coast. Excessive logging and chopping of these trees through the 20th century has now reduced them to just the coastal area from Monterey (California) to Oregon.
Muir Woods is famous for the seriously old and tall coastal redwood trees and is considered a prime example of an old growth forest.
Older than 800 years and reaching an incredible height upwards of 380 feet, the forest takes you into a lost world of giant Sequoia trees and perhaps the Planet of the Apes…
The oldest tree in the Muir Woods is at least 1,200 years old – whoa! 🙂 Picture an Ape flying through the trees right about here…
One of the features of an “old-growth forest” is that the forest tends to have large and standing trees as well as dead trees, to form multi-layered canopies across the floor. This results in a rich bio-diversity of flora from the deaths of individual trees and other debris such as this one below.
Can you imagine the sound of one of these enormous trees hitting the floor!
The undergrowth of the redwood canopy shows other species growing in the deep shadow under the trees. The clearing in the background shows even more trees growing in the streams of light.
Another cool feature of this forest is the relative lack of insects; making this MY kinda forest! Of course, this naturally leads to a very low number of birds (sorry bird-watchers)!
This is due to the tannin in the trees that repels the insects and protects the trees. The shade of the redwoods (and less birds) does not allow for a large volume of flowers or fruits further limiting the number of insects.
And this meant that we could walk around freely without the fear of creepy crawly bugs!
The monument has a number of paved walking trails, so you can get up and close to admire the trees. But alas! it does not offer a “picnic-spot”, and no food is allowed in the forest…
And so we must continue onwards to Napa to find a nice lunch spot! 🙂
(sneak peek of Napa)
Hope you enjoyed reading!