John Muir NHS

The historic Muir/Strentzel home in Martinez, California

Location: 4202 Alhambra Avenue, Martinez, California

Designation: National Historic Site

Date NPS designation declared: 8/31/1964

Date of my visit: Sept 2017

The John Muir NHS is must visit for fans of the National Park Service, since John Muir was considered the father of the NPS. He was a naturalist and writer who inspired the creation of the National Park Service and was the first president of the Sierra Club. He was responsible for the preservation of Yosemite and several of our other natural treasures as National Parks.

We visited the site during an awful heat wave in the Bay Area ( I think it was 108F that day!) We were grateful for the air conditioning in the visitors center and thoroughly enjoyed the 20 minute film about John Muir’s remarkable life.

People were TINY in the 1800s!

After we’d watched the film we trudged uphill (the hill seemed almost vertical, but then it was seriously HOT) to take a ranger-led tour of the historic home. The NPS website says tours are only of the ground floor, but our ranger, a self-professed John Muir groupie, did take us to some of the rooms upstairs. The home has been beautifully restored and maintained  by the NPS and the ranger was full of anecdotes and factoids that made history come alive for all in our group.

Water wagon?

There are other things to do on this site…we were told we could pick fruit in the orchards, take a cell phone tour of the grounds and climb Mount Wanda…but again…HOT. With a disabled family member along for the tour, we had to save this for another day.

In spite of the unpleasant weather, we loved visiting John Muir NHS. If you are in the bay area, it’s definitely worth the side trip to this off-the-beaten-path gem. There are also a few other lesser known NPS units out this way, like Rosie the Riveter, which I will review separately.

7 thoughts on “John Muir NHS

    1. Thanks so much for the follow! I’m new to the travel blog thing and appreciate everyone who wants to follow along for the journey. I’ll have regular posts here as I have many photos in my digital archives from past trips and a few great adventures planned for the future.
      I just love that you travel with your kitty and I’ll be following you as well! There was a young couple who traveled to all 59 NP in the centennial year (before St Louis’ designation changed) with their cat Vladimir in a vintage RV who posted their adventures on Instagram. If I can remember the name, I’ll let you know,

      1. What an image that conjures! Happy travels. We head for San Fransisco in a couple of weeks. In the mean time- we live in Anza- Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in California. I get to frolick with the bighorn sheep, coyotes, quail and roadrunners.

  1. Poor John must be spinning in his grave with the recent Government reductions to Parks funding and size. Hopefully all will be restored in due course over time. Have never been here on our numerous past trips to SF. Was glad to see Muir Woods twice and get to Yosemite on one trip. National Parks in all countries need to be protected, before nature is all gone.

    1. A legacy built over 100 years by good conservationists like John Muir hopefully cannot be undone in 4 years by a clown in a president’s suit. If nothing else, this administration has spurred a level of activism that hasn’t been seen in decades. There is hope for us yet…

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  3. Pingback: John Muir NHS: A Glorious Journey | National Parks With T

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