Canopy View Trail at Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument, just north of the Marin Headlands portion of Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California, was set aside in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt via the Antiquities Act. The landscape had been preserved by William Kent and his wife, who had purchased it three years earlier to prevent the old growth forest from being turned into a reservoir. They then donated the tract to the federal government and asked that it be named in honor of John Muir.

Though the national monument covers only 560 acres, there are six miles of trails that weave through it, a modest trail system but one that can be expanded greatly if you tie into the trails in Mount Tamalpais State Park that surrounds the national monument.

The Canopy View Trail (aka the Ocean View Trail) lies a short distance down the main path from the monument’s visitor center, just beyond Founders Grove with the Pinchot Tree. This redwood was dedicated in May 1910 to Gifford Pinchot, then head of the U.S. Forest Service, for his efforts in seeing the national monument designated.

Though the steep grade that takes the trail towards the roof of the national monument might seem formidable if you’re not used to hiking, the grade quickly levels out as the trail winds through the towering forest near the top of the monument. The trail actually takes you slightly outside Muir Woods and into the state park.

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