Tennessee Valley Trail

Marin Headlands (GGNRA), California

Elevation Gain377ft
Trailhead Elevation197ft
Elevation Min/Max14/197ft
Elevation Start/End197/197ft

Tennessee Valley Trail

Tennessee Valley Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Marin County, California. It is within Marin Headlands (GGNRA). It is 1.8 miles long and begins at 197 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 377 feet. Near the trailhead there are restrooms, parkings, an information map, and a waste basket. Along the trail there is a wetland. The trail ends near the Tennessee Beach. There is also a bench near the end of the trail. This trail connects with the following: Coastal Trail, Haypress Camp Trail, Lower Tennessee Valley Trail, Coastal Trail Tennessee Cove Shortcut and Fox Trail.

Tennessee Valley Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"A scenic easy ride through a beautiful valley to a small beach cove. This is one of the most popular rides in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) and is excellent for families with children because no motorized vehicles are permitted. Sunny weekends are usually congested with hikers and equestrians."

"The beach at the end of Tennessee Cove is the perfect destination for a short and easy afternoon hike. The Tennessee Valley rivals the Rodeo Valley for popularity in the Marin Headlands, attracting any number of hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians to its trails on sunny weekends. The most popular and well-used trail within the valley, by far, is the Tennessee Valley Trail, which winds along the bottomlands from the trailhead to the sea. For most trekkers on the trail, the goal is lovely Tennessee Beach at trail’s end."

"This is one of the most popular hikes in Marin as it offers easy, level access to the beach and ocean. Good flowers on cliffs by the beach. Crowded on weekends and bicycles likely."

"Tennessee Valley is beautiful, with the hills along both sides rising dramatically to almost 1,000 feet, and a trail that offers nicely framed views of the Pacific Ocean. Nestled among huge cliffs, Tennessee Cove is one of the few accessible beaches along the steep, forbidding coastline of the Marin Headlands. High on the cliff is a hole that offers an intriguing glimpse into the hidden cove to the north, where vertical walls prevent access from land. In winter, when most of the sand has been washed out to sea, you may see signs of an old shipwreck on the beach. The walk is easy, wide, and comfortably shared with bikers and horseback riders. Activities include walking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking. No dogs are allowed. There is no fee."

"Follow an easy route through onetime ranchland and a brushy headlands valley to little Tennessee Cove. Bordered by a steep cliff on the south and imposing hillsides on the north, the small beach opens onto the turbulent Pacific."

"This hike travels over rolling hills to the most remote area of the Marin Headlands offering great views of the coast and ocean. Bicycles likely."

"The Tennessee Valley gradually unfolds into the Pacific Ocean on this family journey as you trek past wildflowers and grasslands to a lagoon and scenic Tennessee Valley Beach. A freshwater lagoon, popular with birds, is encircled by bush lupine and cow parsnip."

"The two loops presented here is really a figure-eight route. Since the main parking area is located right smack in the middle of the “8,” beginners can try one instead of both. With decent endurance, novices and beginning mountain bikers with some technical skill can ride both loops, walking over a few spots of brief rugged, more difficult terrain. Both loops are adequately signed though a good map is suggested. The North Loop (Coyote Ridge Trail) is 5.6 miles, clockwise, with breathtaking, expansive views of the Pacific and the rugged shoreline. Riding mostly dirt fire road over roller-coaster hills and a mile stretch of intermediate technical singletrack, elevation gain on the North Loop is over 1,000 feet—not exactly a great ride for beginners who lack endurance. The South Loop (Marincello-Bobcat Trails) is seven miles, clockwise, over mostly easy dirt fire road. The climbing, though not as much as the North Loop, is still a challenge because the road rising out of Gerbode Valley is unrelenting for over a mile. The valley itself is wonderfully peaceful, filled with singing birds—it really is hard to believe that San Francisco is just on the other side of the southern ridge."

"Just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco lies the Marin Headlands, a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The many trails and fire roads in the headlands have long been popular with cyclists, hikers and equestrians. Staring at the main staging area in Tennessee Valley, this route loops around the northern part of the Marin Headlands. Weekends often find the Tennessee Valley parking lot full, so it may be necessary to park nearby and ride in. While there are some steep climbs along the route, they are not extremely long ones. The highest point in the ride is only about 900 feet above sea level. The most difficult riding is along some of the downhill sections, which can be steep and bumpy."

"Skip the parking lot overlooks; see the Golden Gate Bridge and feel the Pacific Coast from this vantage. Just north of San Francisco, this ride takes you on fire roads through the open grassland and chaparral-covered hills of the Marin Headlands. Savor the spectacular views. Bird-watchers will want to linger near Hawk Hill, Bird Island, and Rodeo Lagoon. History buffs will want to explore historical sights in Forts Baker, Barry, and Cronkhite. However, true mountain bikers will reride the sweet singletrack at the end of this ride a couple of times. Trail surface: 60 percent dirt fire road, 30 percent paved road, and 10 percent singletrack."

"On a clear day this is a spectacularly scenic ride through the Marin Headlands. At the peak there is a 360-degree view of the Pacific Ocean, Mount Tamalpais, and San Francisco Bay that is hard to beat. At times the ride through the grass- and chaparral-covered hill is challenging. The climbs, rapid descents, hairpin turns, water bars, and steps break up the cadence of the fire road. Obstacles are relatively short and can always be walked. Trail surface: 80 percent dirt fire road and 20 percent wide singletrack."

Tennessee Valley Trail Reviews

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
This is a very easy walk. I think classifying it a hike is a bit much. It is basically completely flat (if you go the seasonal trail to the left on the way out to the beach). We took the upper trail back which at least has a couple of small inclines. We looked silly with our hydro packs as everyone else out on the trail (LOTS of people) seemed to not even carry a water bottle. Don't get me wrong, the trail is an awesome nature walk that did not disappoint. We saw a bobcat, lizzards, field mice, jack rabbits, this little newt thing, quail, ducks, sea gulls, a doe, an owl flying over and heard coyotes in the distance. It was wild! Timing was dumb luck, and we ended up at the beach right at sunset. Because it was a weekday evening, it was pretty secluded. We scrambled up on some rocks and watched the sun set and the waves crash. It was spectacular. Only thing we were missing was a picnic.
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
It was a cute little trail, took only 30 min to walk in to the beach. Extremely easy for those looking for a light trail.

Tennessee Valley Trail Photos

Trail Information

Marin Headlands (GGNRA)
Nearby City
Marin Headlands (GGNRA)
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Fort Mason, Building 201, San Francisco, CA 94123-1307; (415) 561-4700; www.nps .gov/goga. Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy; (415) 561-3000; www.parksconservancy .org.
Local Contacts
USGS Point Bonita; map posted at the trailhead; online at www nps/gov/goga
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018