Description - While living in Martinez, Muir accomplished many things: he battled to prevent Yosemite National Park's Hetch Hetchy Valley from being dammed, served as the first president and one of the founders of the Sierra Club, played a prominent role in the creation of several national parks, and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and several books expounding on the virtues of conservation and the natural world. Muir's work laid the foundations for the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.
- This site preserves the 17 room mansion where the naturalist John Muir lived from 1890 to his death in 1914. The Muir house and the historic Martinez adobe became part of the National Park Service in 1964. In 1992, Mt. Wanda was added to the site. The 325 acre tract of oak woodland and grassland was historically owned by the Muir family.
The Muir house has been restored to what it would have been when the Muir family was living there. It is filled with furniture and artifacts of that period.
Don Vincente Martinez, son of the commandante of the Presidio of San Francisco, built the Martinez Adobe around 1849. The foundation of the Martinez Adobe is rough stone, while the walls are sun-dried adobe brick ranging in thickness from twenty-four to thirty inches.
The Mt. Wanda area is open seven days a week -- from sunrise to sunset. Full moon walks are held on Mt. Wanda from June - September. The Mt. Wanda area covers 325 acres, and was opened to the public in 1993. The two highest points in the park, 660 feet and 640 feet, respectively, are named after Muir's two daughters, Wanda and Helen. He would often take them on outings to this part of the ranch to study the many varieties of wildflowers, which still grow here. The entrance gate for the Mt. Wanda area and Muir Nature Trail is located by the "Park and Ride" lot on Franklin Canyon Road and Alhambra Ave. It is an uphill saunter all the way to the nature trail and the top. Good walking shoes and comfortable clothes are recommended.
Recreation - John Muir National Historic Site offers opportunities for viewing historic sites, viewing interpretive exhibits, picnicking, hiking, nature walks, and viewing wildlife. Receive orientation to the site at the visitor center.
The opening hours for the park's historic structures and the fruit and nut orchards are Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, year-round. These sections of the park are closed Monday and Tuesday. Mt. Wanda is available for hiking seven days a week, sunrise to sunset.
On open days, the park film is shown almost hourly from 10 am to 3 pm. Muir House is available on self guided tours any time of the day. Public tours are available at 2:00 Wednesday through Friday, 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 on weekends. Please call the park to organize group tours. There are picnic tables available on the grounds.
Climate - Climate in the San Francisco-Bay area varies greatly with elevation and the amount of coastal influence. Areas with more coastal influence experience moderate temperatures year round with fog likely from June through mid-August. Plan your coastal visit in the late summer or fall to ensure the best conditions for viewing the scenery. Also, occasional clear days between winter and spring storms are incomparable. Areas further inland, such as the John Muir National Historic Site, experience greater temperature extremes, with relatively cooler winters and hot summers. Inland areas often receive frost on winter nights. As throughout most of California most of the precipitation comes in the winter months, with April through October normally very dry.
The John Muir National Historic Site is located in Martinez, California, in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area.
From I-80, go to eastbound Highway 4. Exit at Alhambra Avenue, turning left at ramp. Cross beneath highway; Site is immediately on your left. From I-680 northbound go to Highway 4 westbound. Exit at Alhambra Ave. Turn right at bottom of ramp; Site is located immediately on your left.