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Dipsea, Ben Johnson Trail to Muir Woods- Redwood forest of California

Hike in the Muir Woods National Monument which is part of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It’s known for its towering old-growth redwood trees.

While the tribe has been to the magnificent redwoods along the California coast a number of times on various occasions, this one was extra special. Two of my buddies were visiting from India and Peru, and this was their first visit to San Francisco, California - I wanted to give them a taste of some of the most beautiful places on the coast. I thought, what better than spending a day experiencing the giant redwoods!

Parking permits are required to use the parking lots that have access to Muir Woods and its best to grab it online. The process was streamlined in the last about a year and a half and really helps control the crowds at the park in addition to easy access to parking. Reservations are available at Our plan was to start at the Dipsea trail. To access this you have to cross the redwood creek a short distance from the overflow parking lot, without going through the main entrance of Muir Woods which otherwise would leads to the visitor centre.

There is a bit of a incline at this part to start with, but certainly moderate. The tribe was enjoying the wonderful forest and the chit chatting about how things were for the three of us in different continents of the world. The freshness of the forest, the thick fern cover and some spotting of banana slugs quickly caught our attention. The route that the tribe decided was to follow the Dipsea trail onto Ben Johnson and back to the main trail in a loop. Dipsea trail itself spreads wide into the park, and interestingly we also learned that the Dipsea trail is one of the oldest cross country trail race routes. Typically very popular, you are sure to encounter some trail runners along the way.

As you approach the visitor centre towards the main trail, the size of the redwoods and the smell of these trees surrounds you. It's amazing to learn how the redwoods live in three or four different climate zones, given their size. Tribe members were enamored by this experience. Exactly what I had hoped for!

The trail is well maintained and marked, which makes for easy navigation. Along the way there are some bridges to cross over creeks and a steps that lead back into towards the visitor centre at Muir Woods. The bonus being as we finished we stopped over at the gift shop to pick up souvenirs that would make for wonderful memories for my dear friends.

This is a quick 5 mile loop that gives a great glimpse of the forest and allows for some great soaking in nature. It is very doable for all skill levels. Highly recommend this short hike for a stunning glimpse of these magnificent trees.

Learning's from the tribe - Like John Muir said 'In every walk with nature, one receives more than he seeks', just like that this experience meant so much more with great company.

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