For your exciting Muir Woods and Wine Country Tour from San Francisco, you will be picked up from your hotel in a bio-diesel mini-coach. An English-speaking guide will go with you.
At around 9:00am you will head north across Golden Gate Bridge and stop at look-out points for views of the Bridge, San Francisco Bay, the City skyline, Alcatraz and Marin Headlands (depending on the fog!).
In the Marin Headlands you will wind your way through the coastal mountains and pass Mt. Tamalpais (the highest point in the North Bay region) on the way to Muir Woods National Monument.
Muir Woods is a forest of old-growth Coastal Redwoods situated in an inaccessibly steep ravine, and was thus spared from the chain-saws that destroyed similar woods elsewhere on the US west coast. The Redwood that grows in this cherished nature reserve is the tallest tree species in the world, reaching heights of over 300 feet (92 meters). These ancient trees, many over 1000 years old, only thrive in Northern California and Oregon, due to the thick fog that blankets the west coast in the summer months.
In 1908 Senator William Kent and his wife donated their land to the state and President Theodore Roosevelt designated it as a federally protected area. Muir Woods is the only surviving stand of old growth forest in the Bay Area today. In Muir Woods you will have 1 ½ hours to wander amongst these towering giants. The sights, sounds, and smells of this living museum will reconnect you with a natural world that was almost lost.
The group will reunite before noon and travel to the wine country where you will spend the afternoon sampling fine Sonoma County wines. Taste a variety of white, red, and dessert wines at wineries such as Homewood, Cline Cellars, and Benziger Family among others (tasting fees may apply).
Sonoma County has a number of micro-climates, which are reflected in specific appellations for the wines it produces. These include the Carneros, the Sonoma Valley, the Russian River Valley, the Alexander Valley, the Dry Creek Valley and the Knight's Valley regions as well as other smaller regions. The primary grapes grown in the Sonoma Wine Country are Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
A stop for lunch (payable direct) will be incorporated into the itinerary, either at a winery or in the historic Sonoma town square. In the town square you may have the chance to visit the Mission San Francisco de Solano (Time permitting), the northernmost California Mission, taste cheese samples at the Sonoma Jack Cheese Factory and peruse the boutique shops that surround this center of commerce.
At around 4:30pm you will start the journey back to town. If it was too foggy to see the views of San Francisco from the Marin Headlands on the way out, you can stop to take in the breath-taking panoramas on the way back. The tour will end with a hotel drop-off at around 6:00pm.