Exploring the Park
The John Muir National Historic Site has something for everyone. Learn the fascinating history behind the man known as "The Father of the National Park Service". Enjoy the beautiful grounds and orchards, the historic Victorian house of the Strenzel/Muir families, over 360-acres of trails on Mt. Wanda, and the Strentzel/Muir Gravesite. While you may choose to freely explore on your own, here is our recommendation for your visit:
Start your visit, here. There is a 20-minute park film which chronicles the life of Muir and his connection to this site. We encourage you to then take the audio tour of the grounds after you have watched the park film. There are currently 12 audio stops throughout the main grounds, listed in numerical order. During your audio tour, you will stop at the Strenzel/Muir historic home, but there are currently no audio stops inside the home. Tours of the Strentzel/Muir house are self-guided. A ranger or docent will be in the house to answer your questions. Once you exit the house, follow the signs to continue your audio tour of the grounds.
Visit the Strentzel/Muir home that was built in 1882 by Dr. John Strentzel, John Muir's father-in-law. When Dr.Strentzel died in 1890, Mrs. Strentzel invited the Muirs to move into the "big house" with her. This was to be John Muir's home for the last 24 years of his life.
Mount Wanda Hiking and Exploring
Just looking for a nice hike or saunter along a beautiful nature trail?
What do I need to know?
Mt. Wanda is not really a mountain, but a set of hills. While it is generally not a streneous hike, there is a lengthy incline at the beginning of the trail. There are a few path options as you get to the upper area, which you can see on the entrance kiosk sign. A nice hike can last around 1-2.5 hours and make you feel like you've had a good workout. However, many folks enjoy a nice, relaxed saunter, if that is your speed.
Throughout the year, the John Muir National Historic site offers various programs outside of our regularly scheduled programs. There are a variety of seasonal wildflower walks, campfire programs, bird walks and full moon walks that are available on Mt. Wanda...and more! We are always thinking of new ways to educate and spark the imagination. Check the "Calendar" section on our website for current seasonal tour information, or call the park for more information at: (925) 228-8860, then follow the prompts to reach the John Muir NHS front desk.
Cell Phone Tour of Grounds
There are two ways that you can experience the self-guided audio tour of the grounds:
NPS App Tour Details: You can download the free official NPS App and take the audio tour from there, without calling a number. You should use the regular cell phone "Stop" signs around the grounds (that contain the dial-in number for OnCell) as a guide. Once you've accessed the app, look for our park and then select the "Self-Guided Tours" tab to see the audio tours. Guests can begin the audio tour, as well as navigate through each stop, in the app. Currently, there are no cell stops inside the Muir home, but rangers or volunteers can answer any questions you have. The first stop is located right behind the visitor center.
There are two options to take the self-guided audio tour:
American Sign Language Videos
We currently have a set of ASL videos that follows the main grounds cell phone tour in the park. You may access those videos and more information here.
The Strentzel/Muir Family Gravesite Tour
The gravesite where John Muir is buried along with family members is open to pedestrians and cyclists Monday through Friday from 10:30am to 4:30 pm. Ranger led tours of the site are available on Saturday and Sunday when staff is available. Reservations for tours are required due to limited seating for transportation. Call 925-228-8860 and then follow the prompts to reach the John Muir NHS front desk.
The Martinez Adobe, located on the western edge of John Muir's historic orchards, features bilingual exhibits for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Come learn the story of the Anza Expedition, when Spanish Lt. Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza led 240 men, women and children up the California coast in 1775. For more information, vist the Juan Buatista de Anza website.
Become a Junior Ranger
Hey Kids! If you'd like to become a Junior Ranger at the John Muir National Historic Site, all you have to do is ask for an activity book in the John Muir NHS Visitor Center. A ranger or your parents can help you with some of the activities and a ranger will need to sign your book once you are finished. If you complete the book, you will receive your own Junior Ranger Badge! Activities in the book will help you to learn more about why John Muir was important to our National Parks and with helping to encourage people to protect our beautiful land!
Enjoy a picnic atop Mt. Wanda or beneath the shade of redwood and pecan trees in John Muir's historic orchards.
Last updated: August 23, 2023