Tennessee Valley Hikes & The Tennessee Valley Beach Cove In The Marin Headlands
Where is The Tennessee Valley Trail: The Tennessee valley is located in Marin approximately 9 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s the same direction you’d head towards Stinson Beach, another fabulous day trip near San Francisco on my Top 10 San Francisco & Marin Hikes & Day Trips. See specific directions below.
Directions from San Francisco:
Go north on highway 101
Take the Mill Valley / Stinson Beach / Hwy. 1 exit
Follow Shoreline Highway until you see the Tennessee Valley Road sign
the turn off will be on the left
What is the trail like: Tennessee Valley meanders for approximately two miles through serene, rolling hills down to the Pacific Ocean. The 1.8-mile, well-groomed trail to Tennessee Cove begins at the trailhead parking lot, about a mile down Tennessee Valley Road. Sandwiched between the bluffs on either side of the cove lies a pocket beach.
What is the Beach like: During low tide, it is possible to get around the southern end to reach another small, sandy beach with interesting rock formations, but beware of hazardous surf. Swimming is not recommended.
Wheelchair friendly: Yes, much of the partially paved trail is wheelchair-accessible.
Are there various trails or just the main Trail? This is a great area that has various trails, horseback riding as well as beach access. As you approach the official Tennessee Valley Trailhead (official website with directions found here) there are a few smaller trails you’ll pass. I’ve hiked one of the smaller trails (which we had thought was the official Tennessee Trailhead it turns out we didn’t go far enough along the road). You will know you’ve hit the Tennessee Valley Trailhead when you see a parking lot with bathrooms and signage for the path.
I am obsessed with these trail signs. I hadn’t realized we were so close (only 2.5 miles) from Muir Beach, only 2.5 miles away. Wow, Muir Beach is another spot I love to visit for a Hike or a Beach Day. Read about Muir Beach Overlook here.
Are bikes allowed: Yes, the trail also offers a leisurely bicycle ride, with bike racks provided halfway down the valley and at the cove. Sausalito and Tiburon bike paths and local roads connect with Tennessee Valley.
Horseback Riding: The Miwok Livery Stables provides unique opportunities for riders, visitors, and students, including interpretive guided horseback rides to Muir Beach and other areas. Call for more information (415) 331-1540.
Is the trail dog friendly: Unfortunately for us dog lovers, it is not 🙁
Are there bathrooms at the park: Yes, there is a bathroom in the main parking area as well as about half way between the start of the trail and the beach front.
What you should pack: If you want to do more than just a hike I’d suggest packing a picnic blanket or towel so once you hike to the beach you can stay a while and relax. Otherwise the hiking essentials: water, a hat, sunblock, layers, good sneakers or hiking shoes, snacks and Purell. These are the essentials I always bring with me on a hike. 591 Tennessee Valley Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941.
The view of the Beach from the trail
I made it!! It always feels great finishing the first half of hike, especially when it lets you out as this gorgeous beach!