Famous preservationist John Muir very nearly shared his birthday (April 21) with Earth Day (April 22), and we have the sanctuary that is Muir Woods right in our backyard, thanks to him.
Just 12 miles across the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods includes 560 acres of park land, six miles of trails, and the chance to get up close and personal with 600-year-old trees including Coast Redwood, Tanoak, Big Leaf Maple, and California Bay Laurel.
Avoid the crowds by heading there on a weekday afternoon, and enjoy the quiet Bohemian, Pinchot, and Cathedral Groves. Then, hike up to the Ocean View trail for views of the entire forest. While you're there, keep an eye out for owls, deer, raccoons, birds, and many types of reptiles and amphibians.
Entrance to the park is typically $10 for adults, but is free all weekend long (April 22-23, 2017) in celebration of the National Parks' 100th anniversary. // 1 Muir Woods Rd. (Mill Valley), nps.gov/muwo