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Muir Woods East Loop Hike





by Transit & Trails


Wildlife Sightings

by iNaturalist


Length: 5.08 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Duration: Halfday
Created by Dan Rademacher

Dan was editor of Bay Nature from 2004 until 2013, when he left to work for SF-based Stamen Design. A onetime professional cabinetmaker, he considers himself a lifelong maker of things and teller of stories. Dan has been working at the intersection of journalism and technology since, at age 16, he began learning reporting, page layout, and database design. His enduring interest in environmental issues crystallized into a career path in 1998 when he assisted former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass in a cross-disciplinary nature writing and ecology course at UC Berkeley, from which Dan received a Masters in English literature. In 1999, he became Associate Editor of Terrain, the erstwhile quarterly magazine of Berkeley's Ecology Center. In addition to editing and art-directing Bay Nature magazine, he was also Bay Nature’s chief technology strategist, fixer of broken things, and designer of databases and fancy spreadsheets. And he was even known to leave the office and actually hike outdoors.

  • Accessible Parking


Leaving from the immensely popular Muir Woods National Monument, this hike is a good example of the hikers “rule-of-halves”.  This rule states that the number of hikers on trail decreases by half every half mile. While the math may not be exact, the corollary that the density decreases dramatically as the incline increases moderately can not be argued! Lovely soft sunshine filtering through the magnificent old growth redwoods, pools of water reflecting shimmering light in Redwood Creek, morning fog rolling over the ridges and fine vistas along the Sun Trail make a camera and a leisurely pace a must. This is one hike that will leave every hiker amazed at this natural wonder and grateful the environmental activists of the past stood up against the powerful forces of unchecked urbanization. The route is hiker-only and it is unimaginable any other way. As of August 2013 the Bootjack Trail is closed funneling more traffic to this area. It is suggested hikers go mid week or during the Fall season for a more serene experience.

This is especially transit friendly on the weekends with shuttles running from Marin City bus terminal and Sausalito Ferry terminal. Pass through the  Muir Woods National Monument entrance gate to the left of the Visitor Center and proceed on the left side of Redwood Creek. At the Hillside Trail junction turn right and then immediately left on the paved trail over the bridge. Visit the Cathedral Grove and walk on boardwalk over sensitive redwood habitat. At the Fern Creek Trail junction stay left. Drinking water is available at this point. Soon take the Eastwood Trail, named after Alice Eastwood an early 20th century botanist. An informational sign explains the Civilian Conservation Corps. 1930’s era camp you will visit ahead originated the  work done on the trails, roads and buildings of Muir Woods and Mt. Tamalpais.

Pass the closed Bootjack Trail junction and continue right, on the Camp Eastwood Trail. At a “Y” go left on the Plevin Cut Trail to the Eastwood Camp. Water, picnic tables and restrooms are available for a break. On the left side of the picnic area find the Fern Creek Trail sign, take it and then stay left at an immediate junction. Cross a footbridge and pick up the Lost Trail, heading left from the junction. Climb up a long stretch of wooden reinforced staircase to the Ocean View Trail and again go left. Soon you’ll enter sunny chaparral covered slopes and reach a “T” in the trail. Stay right this time. At the Panoramic and Redwood Trail junction, go right on the Redwood and pass the European alps inspired Tourist Club building. The trail quickly joins a road leading left to the Sun Trail.  Enjoy the views on the Sun Trail and upon reaching the Dipsea Trail, go right to begin the steep descent back to Muir Woods. The Dipsea reaches the Muir Woods Road at the lower parking lot. The National Park Service website has a link to a document entitled “Muir Woods Historic Resource Study”. The first 30 or so pages has detailed information on the history, habitat and trails contained on this hike and is highly recommended pre-hike homework. Find it at:


Special thanks to Sue Elliott, Contra Costa Hills Hiking Club leader for sharing this route.


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