• Visitors appear very small amongst the redwood trees.

    Muir Woods

    National Monument California

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  • Ranger's tips on how to find parking

    Parking is limited. Often visitors find shoulder parking and walk on the narrow road to the Visitor Center. Read the ranger's tips on the Best Times to Visit Muir Woods. Take the Muir Woods Shuttle weekends & holidays through October. More »

  • Trail closures: Middle Green Gulch Trail and Hillside Trails access limited.

    Hillside Trail closed 10/6-8 and after 10/14 for construction and rehab. Middle Green Gulch trail is accessible from the farm, starting at the office end of the farm. Access to Middle Green Gulch is closed from the Kaasai direction during the week. More »

Ferns

Horsetail Fern

Horsetail ferns popping up amongst the redwood sorrel are just one example of the many ferns found in this old-growth forest.

NPS Photo

The bright green fronds you see peeking out of the forest floor at Muir Woods are most likely ferns. The plants referred to as “ferns and fern allies” are plants that have vascular tissue (xylem and phloem for conducting water and sugars), but do not produce fruits and seeds. Muir Woods is host to 13 species of ferns from six different fern families. Other seedless vascular plants include horsetails and club mosses.

The reason that ferns do not produce seeds like most of the plants we know is that they are actually much older. Their reproductive strategy of producing spores instead of fruits has served them just fine since before the time of the dinosaurs! Ferns have been around for more than 300 million years, and have a worldwide distribution on all continents except Antarctica and most islands. Here at Muir Woods watch for lady, sword, maiden hair, and gold back ferns to name a few. These ancient plants have something to tell us about permanence and adaptations that perhaps even the old growth redwood trees cannot.

Did You Know?

Plants being grown in nursery at Muir Woods.

Since it was started in the 1980s, the Redwood Creek Nursery has propagated 96 different species of native plants for 3 different plant communities: alder riparian, coast scrub/grassland, and Redwood/ Douglas fir understory. More...