• 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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  • All Trails at Muir Woods are Open. Middle Green Gulch Trail at Muir Beach access limited.

    Middle Green Gulch trail is accessible at all times 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. All trails open after 4:30 M -- F, and all day Saturday/Sunday. More »

  • Ranger's Tips on How to Experience Muir Woods Safely and 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 »

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?

A burl can grow high up on the side of a Redwood tree.

A burl is a mass of dormant buds grown on the redwood’s trunk. In the event of a fire or flood disturbance a burl will vigorously sprout shoots each with the potential to become a mature tree.