Tennessee Valley Trail

A wide trail runs through chapparal along the bottom of a valley. A beach and the ocean can be seen at the foot of the valley.
The Tennessee Valley Trail leads to Tennessee Beach

Trail Overview

Distance: 1.75 mi (2.8 km)
Time: 1 hour
Trailhead: Tennesee Valley Trailhead
Slope: Avg 1%, Max 17.5%
Side Slope: Avg 2%, Max 11%
Width: Avg 13.75 ft, Min 36"
Trail Surface: Asphalt, Compacted Natural Material


The Tennessee Valley (TV) Trail begins at the TV parking lot. The parking lot contains four accessible parking spaces, an accessible vault toilet and a small accessible picnic area. There is a large opening in the center of the main trail head gate that provides easy access for wheelchair users. The beginning of the trail is asphalt. This section of the trail is relatively flat in grade and continues as a paved surface for approximately ¾ of a mile. The trail is approximately 13.75’ wide. Beyond the paved surface the trail turns to a compacted natural material. Stick to the Lower Spur Trail to avoid steep terrain. Note: this section of the trail can narrow to 3’ wide due to encroaching vegetation. The view of the surrounding hillsides and vegetation is vast. At approximately 1 mile the trail begins to quickly climb and the running and cross slopes begin to exceed 12.5% and 8%. For those looking for a relatively flat hike this would be the place to turn back. Beyond this section there is an additional accessible vault toilet adjacent to the trail as you near the beach. Access to the beach is steep and likely not possible by wheelchair. In total the trail is approximately 1 ¾ miles long. The trail serves as a service road; depending on weather conditions the trail may contain pots holes, proceed with caution.

Trail Profile

Graphic depiction of Tennessee Valley trail profile
Graphic depiction of the elevation change and trail characteristics of the Tennessee Valley Trail


  • Seasonal Flood Safety Precaution: On the way to the beach, you will see a small 2-acre pond impounded by an earthen dam. If the dam broke suddenly when pond water levels are high, the depth and velocity of water at the beach could be dangerous for visitors downstream of the dam. The park is working through the required process. In the next few years, the park will remove the dam to eliminate the safety hazard. In the interim, park staff will close access to the beach and trail when water levels in the pond are high. See the Park Planning project page for more information about the Environmental Assessment regarding the dam removal which includes restoration of the natural channel, wetland, riparian, and coastal functions within the Tennessee Valley watershed.
  • Stay on the established trail. Keep an eye out for poison oak.
  • Dress in layers and be prepared for varying weather conditions. Sunny days along the coast can turn windy, foggy, and cold very fast.


There is trailhead parking at the Tennessee Valley Trailhead, including three accessible parking spots.


Accessible restrooms can be found adjacent to parking area.


Potable water is not available at Tennessee Valley. Plan ahead and pack water. Avoid becoming dehydrated or experiencing heat exhaustion. Drink plenty and drink often; pace yourself; rest in the shade; and eat salty snacks.

Trail Etiquette

The Tennessee Valley Trail is closed to dogs. Please remain on the established trails. Off-trail travel harms plants and causes erosion.

Last updated: April 3, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


United States Park Police Dispatch: Non-Emergency: 415-561-5505 Emergency: 415-561-5656

Contact Us