Bootjack Trail to Muir Woods, Mt Tamalpais State Park - Pantoll Ranger Station, San Francisco: Marin Headlands - Mt Tamalpais - Point Reyes, California
Bootjack Trail to Muir Woods - 4.2 miles
Mt Tamalpais State Park - Pantoll Ranger Station
|Round-Trip Length:||4.2 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||1,480' - 182' (1,528' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||-1,298' net elevation loss (+1,427' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Bootjack Trail to Muir Woods - 4.2 Miles Round-Trip
150 million years ago Redwood and Redwood-like trees covered most of the Northern Hemisphere. Climate change thinned out these forests and today only two redwood species remain in California: the Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia. Coast Redwoods are the tallest living organisms on earth and can live 2,000 years.
Redwoods grow best in moderate temperatures and need significant moisture to thrive. The Redwoods' success in coastal California coast is due in part to year-round fog, which condenses on the trees' needles, drips to the ground and provides moisture, even during the dry season.
Muir Woods National Monument - largely untouched because of its relative inaccessibility at the onset of rapid development in the 1800s - is a remnant of old growth redwood forests that once blanketed Northern California coastal valleys.
The Alpine Trail joins the Bootjack Trail from the Pantoll Ranger Station in Mt Tamalpais State Park to form a lightly used route into Muir Woods:
The Alpine Trail crests a small ridge then tilts down a steep gulch and away from Panoramic Highway to the Bootjack Trail (.35 miles : 1,270). Note young and old redwoods competing for space in these drier, upper-ravine soil beds with Douglas fir, oak, bay and buckeye.
The Bootjack Trail shifts quickly through mixed forest to the Troop 80 Trail (.55 miles : 1,120') and TCC Trail splits on the edge of Van Wyck Meadow (.67 miles : 1,032'). Enjoy this sunny clearing before continuing on the Bootjack Trail to the banks of Redwood Creek.
Grades steepen along the rugged creek beneath tall redwoods and a diverse understory of maple, willow, oak and bay laurel.
Big-leaf maple have adapted to low light by producing the largest leaves of any maple, while bay laurel have a root system that enables it to lean toward better lit openings in the forest. Tan oak leaves are especially efficient in synthesizing dappled light.
These forests are critical to the northern spotted owl, found only in old-growth tracts where the understory is sufficient to protect it from predation and competition.
The Bootjack Trail twists steeply and frequently beside the creek to a bridge (1.0 miles : 710'), edges away for a moment then back to a long, scenic bridge spanning a turbulent confluence of tributaries (1.35 miles : 507').
Travel gradually moderates beside wider sections of creek to the Alice Eastwood Camp Trail split (1.95 miles : 200'), where notably large, more numerous redwoods signal proximity to Muir Woods.
Grades level to the Muir Woods National Monument boundary where the Bootjack joins the Muir Woods Interpretive Loop (2.1 miles : 172'), which continues into Muir Woods on boardwalks and bridges through stately old growth along Redwood Creek.
- N37 54.259 W122 36.245 — 0.0 miles : Pantoll Ranger Station - Alpine Trailhead
- N37 54.476 W122 36.051 — .35 miles : Alpine Trail - Bootjack Trail junction
- N37 54.521 W122 35.909 — .55 miles : Bootjack Trail - Troop 80 Trail junction
- N37 54.479 W122 35.853 — .65 miles : Bootjack Trail - TCC Trail junction
- N37 54.253 W122 35.529 — 1.3 miles : Rugged travel beside Redwood Creek
- N37 54.138 W122 35.008 — 1.95 miles : Alice Eastwood Camp Trail junction
- N37 54.091 W122 34.884 — 2.1 miles : Bootjack Trail - Muir Woods main trail junct
- Portions of the Bootjack Trail, especially along Redwood Creek, can be steep, slick and muddy. Sturdy footwear is recommended.
- The tallest coast redwoods in Muir Woods are in the Bohemian and Cathedral Groves. The tallest in the park measures over 252' with a width of over 14'.
Camping and Backpacking Information
Backcountry camping is not permitted within Mt Tamalpais State Park.
- The Pantoll Campground is located on Panoramic Highway adjacent to the Pantoll Ranger Station. It has 16 campsites, each with a table, rock barbecue, food locker and space for a tent. Phones, faucets, firewood and flush toilets are nearby. There are no showers. Sites are first-come, first-served.
Steep Ravine Environmental Campground
- The Steep Ravine Environmental Campground is located on a coastal terrace off Highway 1, one mile south of Stinson Beach. It has nine rustic cabins and seven primitive campsites. Each cabin has a wood stove, picnic table, benches, sleeping platforms and outdoor bbq.
- The cabins do not have running water or electricity. Primitive toilets, faucets, and firewood are nearby. Primitive campsites are located a few hundred yards from the parking area. Each site has a table, fire pit, food locker and space for a tent. Primitive toilets and water faucets are nearby. There are no showers at Steep Ravine Campground.
Alice Eastwood Group Camp
- Alice Eastwood Group Camp is located off Panoramic Highway on Alice Eastwood Road. It has two campsites. Site A holds up to 50 people; Site B holds up to 25 people. Both sites have tables, flush toilets, water faucets with sinks, bbq grills and a large area for tents.
Frank Valley Group Horse Camp
- Frank Valley Group Horse Camp is located 1.5 miles West of Muir Woods National Monument on Muir Woods Road. It has 12 pipe corrals, water faucets, watering troughs, picnic tables, fire rings and a pit toilet. The minimum group size is 2 horses; the maximum size is 12 horses.
- To reserve a campground visit www.reserveamerica.com or call 800.444.7275. For specific camping and campground questions, call Pantoll Ranger Station at 415.388.2070.
While fishing is not permitted in Muir Woods National Monument, it's an excellent place to see two different species: The Coho or Silver Salmon and Steelhead Trout. Adults fish appear in the winter as they make their way to Redwood Creek to spawn. Coho can be seen first in the creek from December - January, then Steelhead from January - March.
The Coho will both begin and end their lives in Redwood Creek. The Steelhead, however, will race back out to sea after spawning in hopes of returning the next year.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on the Bootjack Trail or within Muir Woods National Monument.
- Bikes are not permitted on the Bootjack Trail or within Muir Woods National Monument.
Directions to Trailhead
Mt Tamalpais State Park is located north of San Francisco in Marin County. The Pantoll Ranger Station is located 8.5 miles from Highway 101 on Panoramic Highway. The Bootjack Trail is accessed from the Alpine Trailhead, located steps away from the Pantoll Ranger Station (to the left).
From Highway 101, exit Stinson Beach - Highway 1 and follow the exit ramp west .6 miles to the Highway 1 - Almonte Blvd intersection.
Turn left on Highway 1 toward Stinson Beach. The road winds up the mountain to the Panoramic Highway split (3.2 miles) - veer right on Panoramic Highway (anticipate this quick turnoff). Remain on Panoramic Highway and follow signs for Mt Tamalpais State Park to the Pantoll Ranger Station (keep straight at the Muir Woods - Mill Valley fork at 4.0 miles).
The Pantoll Ranger Station is located on the left side of the road. Main lot parking carries an $8 fee. Free but limited parking is available across the street at the Matt Davis Trailhead.
Mt Tamalpais State Park
801 Panoramic Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941