Public lands that have been maintained and tailored for use by humans are a strange mix of backcountry and city. When you go there, you're out in the wilderness technically. But at the same time, if you're out in the wilderness with a ton of other people, it doesn't quite feel that way.
This is a problem that Muir Woods, the National Monument in Marin County, is trying to fix.
So many folks in the surrounding area have been making the short drive to this popular destination for hikes and nature walks -- over one million visitors a year, in fact -- that it just doesn't exude the same nature-infused aura it once had. As a result, they're beginning a reservation process to limit visitors.
The reservation system is still up for logistical tinkering and debate, and won't be implemented for at least another two years. But in the meantime, the Parks Department is starting to limit the amount of car parking that's used at any one time. (More than 80% of the park's visitors arrive by car, and there are times when over 1,000 cars have been lined on the sides of the roads.)
In the meantime, just do what I do, and avoid the area on the weekends.