• 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 »

Mushrooms and Other Fungi

Turkey Tail

Turkey tail is one example of the 200 varieties of mushrooms and fungus that can be found in this old growth redwood forest.

NPS Photo

You may think of mushrooms as strange and slimy objects that are neither plant nor animal. Or you may be one of the lucky hikers out after an early winter rain that can experience mushrooms in the myriad fascinating forms these fungi take. Appearing seemingly overnight, they come in a vast array of fantastic colors and shapes, from brilliant red, to purple, to golden orange, with caps ranging from the size of a pinhead, to as large as a dinner plate. A slow walk through almost any landscape in Golden Gate National Recreation Area during the rainy season can produce a world of wonder at your feet, but Muir Woods National Monument highlights some of the showiest. Over 200 different species of fungi live in the old-growth Coast Redwood forest and the surrounding hillsides.

Mushrooms are short-lived, spore-producing structures. These fruiting bodies are designed to release spores for the next generation, and then decay. The “body” or hyphae of a mushroom is actually hidden from our eyes underground. This underground matt is composed of a branching network of elongated cells that join together into threads. These hyphal threads grow through and break down dead wood, providing a vital recycling service to our forests. Fungal hyphae also live in the ground, and connect up with the rootlets of trees, shrubs and almost all other green plants, forming a symbiotic relationship. This partnership greatly increases the ability of trees and plants to take up water, and absorb essential minerals. In return, the fungus is provided with photosynthetic nutrients. Neither organism is able to function fully without the other. Mushrooms are not only vital to the health of the Muir Woods eco-system, but they also add charm and magic to the landscape.

Did You Know?

Volunteer planting native vegetation along Redwood Creek.

Volunteers and staff of Redwood Creek Nursery and Muir Woods National Monument have planted approximately 20,000 plants along Redwood Creek since 2003. More...