Muir Woods and Redwood Creek Watershed Planning

Sunlight filters through the fog at Muir Woods.
Early morning fog at Muir Woods National Monument.

Photo Credit: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy


Since hikers and tourists began visiting Muir Woods National Monument in the late 19th century, it has become renowned for its old-growth forest of coast redwoods. Muir Woods is located within the Redwood Creek watershed, just 8 miles north of San Francisco, in an area of less than 9 square miles, and harbors an incredibly diverse ecosystem of plant and animal species.

The Planning Division's efforts are focused on upholding Muir Wood's contemplative setting where visitors come to discover the primeval redwood forest. More specifically, our projects support trail network improvements, enhance transportation alternatives to improve visitors arrival experience and better protect park resources, and through the Tamalpais Land Collaborative, ensure a coordinated planning effort with our agency watershed partners, including California State Parks, the County of Marin and the Marin Municipal Water District.

See below for summaries on some of our project planning efforts. Click on the project title to view details for each plan. Titles that are marked with an asterisk * are open for public comment.


Muir Woods Access Reservation System

This project will create a parking and shuttle reservation system to support management of visitation to levels that meet park goals for safety, natural resource preservation, visitor experience, and public access. The reservation system is intended to be a long-term measure that will allow the park to work with visitors in advance of their arrival so that congestion, and its related impacts, can be minimized and the quality of the experience enhanced.

Project Status: NPS completed environmental compliance for this project with a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) issued on December 2015 . Parking and shuttle reservations will be required in early 2018.

Muir Woods Salmon Habitat Enhancement & Bridge Replacement Project

The Muir Woods Salmon Habitat Enhancement and Bridge Replacement Project would restore habitat in Redwood Creek for aquatic life, including the federally threatened Coho salmon, and replace aging pedestrian bridges in Muir Woods National Monument.

This project calls for the removal of selected large boulders called riprap that were placed on the banks of Redwood Creek over 80 years ago to stabilize the stream banks. Following the riprap removal, large woody debris would be installed in the creek. These two actions will significantly improve the conditions needed to help young fish survive.

Four aging pedestrian bridges on Redwood Creek that are reaching the end of their lifespan would then be replaced. The new bridges would provide accessible creek crossings and be designed with a longer span and more durable materials to improve both public safety and enhance the way water flows in the creek to support ongoing habitat restoration efforts.

Project Status: A Draft Environmental Assessment for this project was available for comment from April 3 to May 18, 2017.

Muir Woods Sustainable Access Project

This project will preserve resources and enhance safety by improving parking and pedestrian access at Muir Woods. The monument's current parking, transit and pedestrian access facilities are antiquated and do not include the best techniques to manage stormwater and protect water quality and other natural resources. The memorandum of understanding between the County of Marin and National Park Service (June 2015), as well as the Reservation System Finding of No Significant Impact (December 2015), established the parameters for future visitation and access to the monument. In those decisions, NPS and the County of Marin have committed to a phased elimination of parking outside of the monument's boundaries.

Project Status: NPS completed environmental compliance for this project with the issuance of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in June 2017. Project construction is anticipated to begin in 2019 with project completion in 2020.

Muir Woods Water/Wastewater Service Lines Replacement Project

This project will rehabilitate the Muir Woods National Monument water and wastewater system to ensure safe and reliable utility services to park facilities, including restrooms, the visitor center, and the concessions building. Components of the current systems are showing signs of corrosion and structural deterioration. The replacement of these aged service lines will increase the reliability of water and wastewater services at Muir Woods for visitor and employee health and life safety. The new infrastructure will meet all modern code requirements for fire protection flow demands and potable water quality and storage. The project will also provide stronger natural resource protection by relocating the aged wastewater line out of the Redwood Creek corridor.

Project Status: NPS completed environmental compliance for this project with the issuance a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in June 2017. Project construction is anticipated to begin in June 2018 with projected completion in fall 2018.

Muir Woods Road Improvements (County of Marin & Federal Highway Administration)

The County of Marin and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are proposing improvements to road conditions along a 2.42 mile segment of Muir Woods Road/Frank Valley Road on Marin County land.

This project would restore the structural integrity of 2.42 miles of the road between California Highway 1 (CA 1) and Muir Woods National Monument. The project is a cooperative effort between the Federal Highway Administration, Central Federal Lands Highway Division (FHWA-CFLHD) and Marin County and is being planned in coordination with the National Park Service and California State Parks.

The purpose of the project is to enhance safety for all users accessing state and federal lands, correct road-related drainage problems, reduce water quality impacts to Redwood Creek, and reduce on-going road maintenance requirements.

In addition to road improvements, the project may include replacement of the Muir Woods Road Bridge over Redwood Creek, located just east of the entrance to Muir Woods National Monument. The existing substandard bridge was built in 1946 and needs to be replaced. The aging bridge has exposed bridge footings, deteriorating concrete, and corroded rebar. The bridge railings do not meet current safety standards and erosion from rushing water is undermining the structure.

Project Status: A second round of public scoping for this project closed on June 12, 2017.


Last updated: February 25, 2019

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