• Visitors from all over the world come to explore the tranquility, beauty, and nature sounds of Muir Woods National Monument.

    Muir Woods

    National Monument California

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  • The Dipsea Footbridge is Out!

    The Dipsea Footbridge is out until further notice. Take the Deer Park Fire Road to connect with the Dipsea Trail at Muir Woods. See map of Muir Woods and Vicinity. Taking the extra steps protects you and endangered coho salmon. Do not cross Redwood Creek. More »

  • Muir Beach is OPEN

    Muir Beach is open to the public every day, including holidays at 9 AM and closes one hour after sunset. More »

Butterflies

Monarch Butterfly

Photo by Marty N. Davis

Monarch butterflies add color to the forest and magic to the air. Each fall, they arrive by the thousands to a select few locations in coastal California, completing and annual migration that is unique among insects.

In the fall, Monarch butterflies throughout North American migrate to over-wintering sites in coast California or central Mexico. This migration is unique among insects. In fact, the North American Monarch butterfly is the only insect in the world known to make the same kind of annual, back-and-forth long distance migration as birds or whales.

We begin seeing monarchs in coastal California during late August and September. They are arriving from the states and Canadian provinces west of the Rockies, and each year to the same over-wintering sites, frequently even the same trees. First they gather in "bivouac sites" for a few days to a few months (depending on the weather). Some of these temporary sites are in Fort Mason, the Marin Headlands, Tennessee Valley, Muir Beach, and Stinson Beach -- all of which are within Golden Gate National Recreation Area. As the weather gets chilly (approximately October to February) they move to the over-wintering sites. Then in spring they depart, flying north and east in search of milkweed plants on which the females lay their eggs. Successive generations produce millions of Monarchs to repopulate the western states and provinces.

Monarch butterfly migration and over-wintering behavior is classified as a "Threatened Phenomenon" by the International Union for Conservation and Natural Resources due to habitat loss or degradation.

Did You Know?

Planting native plants in Muir Woods National Monument.

Between October 2006 to September 2007, volunteers put in 2,223 hours restoring the plant communities of Muir Woods and Redwood Creek. That’s an average of approximately 43 hours/ week of volunteer service! More...