The Muir Woods are honestly one of my favorite places. Less than 30 minutes from the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, you can be standing in one of the last remaining giant redwood forests on Earth. Surrounded by these magnificent towering creatures, many over 600 years old, it provides a peaceful place to sit and contemplate both the insignificance of what it is to be human, and the impact that we as a species can have on our planet.
Once the northwest was covered by ancient growth forests with trees as old as 3,200, whose bark alone measured up to 2 feet thick. But throughout the 19th century, American logging all but decimated these creatures. Now, the only giant redwoods and sequoias that remain survive in national and state parks. Thank God for small wonders of government intervention.
The history behind the Muir Woods:
Until the 1800s, many northern California coastal valleys were covered with coast redwood trees similar to those now found in Muir Woods National Monument. The forest along Redwood Creek in today’s Muir Woods was spared from logging because it was hard to get to. Redwood Creek contained one of the Bay Area’s last uncut stands of old-growth redwood, Congressman William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, bought 611 acres here for $45,000 in 1905. To protect the redwoods the Kents donated 295 of the land to the Federal Government and, in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument. Roosevelt suggested naming the area after Kent, but Kent wanted it named for conservationist John Muir.
John Muir’s reaction to William Kent
This is the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world. You have done me great honor, and I am proud of it.
In addition to my photos below, there is a nice little virtual tour you can take here. Enjoy!
These photos were taken with a Canon 5D Mark II, mainly with a Canon f2.8 15mm Fisheye lens. Some were also taken with a Canon 18-125mm IS lens. Almost all were taken handheld without the use of a tripod while walking through the forest.