“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir
The Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco in Marin County contain one of the few remaining old-growth stands of Redwood in the Bay Area. The woods are interlaced with multiple trails looping back and forth, providing an excellent chance to see this once abundant ecosystem in detail so close to the city.
While exploring the area, one notices that the woods are often shrouded in a thick layer of marine fog, which drifts in from the nearby Pacific. The delicate ecosystem relies upon this fog once the drier summer arrives and the trees make good use of the water droplets that collect on their needles.
The dense growth and intense fogs also produce a spooky aura not often felt in the forests further south. As you hike along the meandering paths and climb up and down the ridges, at times you seem to be engulfed by the intense moisture.
The great multitude of trails available in the park open up many options. If you wish to extend your hike a bit, you can easily head west towards the coast for some breathtaking views and a change in landscape. As the ocean starts to appear, the trees begin to thin and eventually a scrubby coastal plain dominates, which provides extensive viewing of the surrounding area, including San Francisco in the distance.