• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking across the bay back towards San Francisco, seen in the distance.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

Tennessee Valley

View facing the ocean and trails at Tennessee Valley.
View facing the ocean and trails at Tennessee Valley.
NPS/Kirke Wrench
 

ADVISORY

Please do not feed or approach wildlife

 

Tennessee Valley is an amazing offshoot of the Marin Headlands, with hiking trails that suit the whole family. The Tennessee Valley Trail is mostly level; it begins at the parking area and travels 1.7 miles to Tennessee Beach. For the more adventurous hiker, there are a number of other trails leading into the hills above Tennessee Valley.

With its many trails, Tennessee Valley is well suited for the whole family. However, even on leash, dogs are not allowed on any trails in Tennessee Valley except on the Coastal Trail where it crosses the valley, connecting Rodeo Valley and Muir Beach. Dogwalking is allowed on-leash on the Miwok trail from the Tennessee Valley parking area north to Highway 101, and on leash or under voice control in Oakwood Valley which is off Tennessee Valley Road a short distance before you reach the Tennessee Valley parking lot.

Tennessee Valley contains a bevy of wildlife; from mighty raptors to common swallows, the birds of the valley will keep your eyes on the skies. The skies are not the only place to view wildlife; the valley is teeming with deer, coyote, and on an occasion you might even see a bobcat.

In the spring time the vegetation of the valley is lush and green and/or blooming and you will find lupine, checker-bloom, blue-eyed grass, California buttercup, and California poppy. In summer, the grasses turn golden, and by late summer you can find fennel, lizardtail, sagebrush, sticky monkey flower, and blackberry bushes. In winter and early spring, rains turn the golden grasses back into green fields. At any time of the year Tennessee Valley is worth the visit.

With hiking and cycling trails and a plethora of wildlife you would never know that the bustling metropolis of San Francisco is 20 minutes away. Bring the family, have a picnic on the beach, discover the wilds of Tennessee Valley, and remember to take only pictures and leave only foot prints.

Tips and Highlights

  • Coordinate your visit with a low tide and seasonal sand alignments to see the engine of the shipwrecked SS Tennessee.
  • If exploring the cove, be careful not to get cut off from the main beach by high tides.
  • Golden Gate Transit buses stop at the intersection of Shoreline Highway and Tennessee Valley Road.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the main trail.

Information

For more information please contact the Marin Headlands Visitor Center at (415) 331-1540

Camping in Tennessee Valley is by permit only. For further information on camping please click here.

To attain a camping permit you must call and make reservations through the Marin Headlands Visitor Center.

Driving directions

To Tennessee Valley from San Francisco

  • Go north on highway 101
  • Take the Mill Valley / Stinson Beach / Hwy. 1 exit
  • Follow Shoreline Hwy. until you see the Tennessee Valley Road sign
  • the turn off will be on the left

To Tennessee Valley from the East Bay

  • Take 580 west to the Richmond / San Rafael bridge
  • Cross the bridge (toll this direction)
  • Take the second exit after the bridge, go through Larkspur and get on 101 south
  • Follow 101 south, Take the Mill Valley / Stinson Beach / Hwy. 1 exit
  • Follow Shoreline Hwy. until you see the Tennessee Valley Road sign, the turn off will be on the left

To Tennessee Valley from the North

  • Go south on highway 101
  • Take the Mill Valley / Stinson Beach / Hwy. 1 exit
  • Follow Shoreline Hwy. until you see the Tennessee Valley Road sign
  • the turn off will be on the left

Did You Know?

Muir Woods National Monument was establish on January 1908.

Muir Woods National Monument was the first National Monument created from a private land donation and the first created in an urban area.