Mr Bell In San Francisco: Muir Woods & The Napa Valley


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The first time you cross the Golden Gate Bridge is quite special, you’ve seen on TV, in film and on countless photo’s and I can tell you it doesn’t disappoint, the huge structure, its reddish hue, they’re all exactly as you imagine. This wasn’t my first time crossing the bridge but it still gives me a buzz whenever I do. This time I was driving up to Muir Woods and on into Napa. My first stop was the viewing area just off the freeway at the north end of the bridge, you get some amazing views of San Francisco and the bridge from there.

San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge viewing area

San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge viewing area

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

It was only a short 12 mile drive up to Muir Woods so it doesn’t take long to get there. On the drive up I stopped at another viewing area which had some beautiful views out over the bay.

Viewing point on the to Muir Woods

Viewing point on the to Muir Woods

Viewing point on the way to Muir Woods

Viewing point on the way to Muir Woods

Arriving at Muir Woods I didn’t count on it being so busy and the car park being full so after driving around for a while I gave up and continued on the road to Napa deciding to try again here on my way back. With no specific destination in mind I put the town of Napa in the GPS and drove.

Driving through Napa Valley

Driving through Napa Valley

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The scenery is beautiful around this area with many of the hills covered in vines that are used to make those famous Californian wines.

The road to Napa

The road to Napa

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After some time driving I spotted a place to stop and have some lunch, it was a quirky place, a sort of garden centre come wedding venue. There were a few shops, a lovely restaurant and some pretty gardens filled with sculpture to walk around.

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After a light lunch I headed off again and carried on driving until I reached Napa. It was a quick visit here and I was soon back on the road again admiring the countryside.

A Napa winery

A Napa winery

Beautiful Napa Valley

Beautiful Napa Valley

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The drive back to Muir Woods took me about an hour and I arrived there at around 3 pm, just as it was starting to quieten down. Muir Woods National Monument is a protected piece of woodland filled with old growth coast redwood trees.

Entrance to Muir Woods

Entrance to Muir Woods

A carved wooden bear

A carved wooden bear

The trees are known for their height and are related to the giant sequoia of the Sierra Nevada. The tallest tree in Muir Woods is 258 feet high with most trees having an age here of between 500 and 800 years old. The oldest is at least 1200 years old.

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The park costs $10 to enter and is well worth the fee. Walking along the wooden walkways is quite a tranquil experience, there are people around but it all feels so calm and peaceful.

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The redwood trees are an incredible sight soaring up to the sky with the sunlight shining through their branches, I’ve never been anywhere quite like it before.

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Muir Woods covers a large area and there are various trails and walkways that you can follow. I was only there for a couple of hours and saw a small part of it.

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Having enjoyed Muir Woods and the small part of the Napa Valley I explored it was time to drive back in to the city. So back over the Golden Gate Bridge and back into San Francisco.

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