Tennessee Valley

Tennessee Cove with beach in foreground and cliffs behind
Tennessee Valley ends at Tennessee Cove and its pocket beach.

NPS/Will Elder

 

ADVISORY

Please do not feed or approach wildlife

Dogs, even on leash, are not allowed on the Tennessee Valley Trail

 

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.

Dogs, even on leash, 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, the vegetation of the valley is lush and green and/or blooming. The valley will come alive with 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.

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.
  • Make sure to pack water while hiking the Tennessee Valley trails.
  • 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. Visit our camping page for more information.

Driving directions

Visit the Parks Conservancy website for interactive driving directions to Tennessee Valley.

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 Rd. 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 Rd. 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 Rd. sign, the turn off will be on the left

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022

Phone:

(415) 561-4700
Pacific West Region Information Center (415) 561-4700 Special Event & Commercial Film Permits (415) 561-4300

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