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Northern California Hikes

Canopy View Trail (Muir Woods)

  • 3 miles - Moderate Effort
  • 1.5-2 Hours (Total)
  • Expect to See Some Other Hikers
  • 600 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 720 feet
  • No Dogs Allowed

what does this mean?

This hike is for you if you want to get away from the crowds and into the Redwood canopy. We'll climb the Canopy View Trail, then make a picturesque descent on the Fern Creek Trail, maybe the prettiest in Muir Woods National Monument. It's moderately challenging with some climbing, but I've seen kids, seniors, and casual folks enjoy it.

In this Guide:
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions & Video
  • Muir Woods Trail Maps
  • How to Get to Muir Woods
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations

When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

Where is Canopy View Trail?

Muir Woods Map
Although Muir Woods National Monument is only 12 miles away from downtown San Francisco is only 12 miles, getting there can be a challenge.

The trailhead for the Canopy View Trail is: Muir Woods Visitor Center, 1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941

Muir Woods is not an easy place to visit.

If you have a car, I'd recommend first visiting the parking and public transportation website at Try to get a permit as early as possible. They also have information on the shuttle that runs from the ferry terminal with a limited schedule.

Your other option is to ride-share there, and then taxi back. The problem is that there is no cellular service at the park. But you'll find a payphone at the visitor center (bring coins). I'd write down the number of a taxi company, or even try to book one before-hand.

Muir Woods Park Entrance
In addition to the parking or transportation costs, there's also an entry fee for Muir Woods. I recommend the America the Beautiful Pass which gets you into any park or federal land.

Gear Recommendations

Fitness clothing and trail runners are your best bet. If you have trekking poles with you, they'll help on the climb and descent. I'd bring 1-2L of water. There's a spot along the way to refill. And don't forget, there's no cellular service here, so having a satellite communicator will come in handy if there's an emergency.

My Latest Gear Picks

Featured Gear 2023 08 11

Garmin inReach Mini 2 ( Amazon | REI )
HOKA Speedgoat 5
( Men | Women )
Zpacks Sub-Nero Ultra ( Zpacks | Review )
Alpine Carbon Cork Poles ( REI | Amazon )

As a hiking guide, I test lots of hiking gear. On my picks page, I'll show you all of the gear that I actually use. I don't accept paid promotions or talk about the stuff that doesn't make the cut. It's just the gear that works best, so you don't have to waste your money.

All My December 2023 Top Gear Picks

A big thank you to Overwatch x Rescue for covering the travel expenses for this trip.

Canopy View Trail Map

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

Best Smartphone Apps to Navigate: AllTrails | GaiaGPS | OnX

There's also a map from the Parks Service you can download here.

Canopy View Trail Directions

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Canopy View Trail Directions 01
Start the hike at the main entrance at the Visitor Center.
Canopy View Trail Directions 02
Make the right onto the Canopy View Trail and climb the stairs.
Canopy View Trail Directions 03
You'll have about a mile of climbing. Pace yourself.
Canopy View Trail Directions 04
At the top of the climb, make the hard left onto the Lost Trail and start going downhill.
Canopy View Trail Directions 05
At the end of the Lost Coast Trail, make the left onto the Fern Creek Trail.
Canopy View Trail Directions 06
At the end of Fern Creek, make the left and continue on the Main Trail back to the start. That's the hike!

Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.

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This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).

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