Tennessee Valley cuts through the hills of the Marin Headlands to the Pacific Ocean just north of Sausalito. The valley, beach and cove are named for the 1853 wreck of the steam ship S.S. Tennessee, which mistook Tennessee Cove for the Golden Gate. The gentle trail through the valley to the ocean is magical and a local favorite which can be crowded on weekends. Steep hiking and biking trails can bring ambitious visitors up to the valley’s ridgetops for spectacular views.
Tennessee Valley provides an easy escape from the hustle and bustle of central Marin…
Drive it: Travel north on Bridgeway from the hotel. Follow the signs for Shoreline Highway, ducking under Highway 101. In about ¾ of a mile turn left on Tennessee Valley Road. You will marvel at how quickly the area transforms from suburban Marin into a rural valley. At the trailhead check out the displays on Marincello and the history of the valley. If you are on your way to Muir Woods, Tennessee Valley is a quick detour. Cars are not allowed on Tennessee Valley Trail, but the trail to the beach is level and wheelchair/stroller and bike accessible.
Bike it: Drive your bike or bike to the Tennessee Valley Trailhead from the hotel via Sausalito’s car-free bike path and the often busy Shoreline High way and Tennessee Valley Road in Mill Valley. Once at the trailhead, it’s an easy 1.8 mile level ride out to the beach. For a serious workout, add the vigorous 7 mile loop up the Coastal Fire Road, east along the Coyote Ridge Trail, and returning to the trailhead via the Miwok Trail.
Hike it: Besides hiking out to the beach, ambitious hikers can add a strenuous and steep 3-7 mile loop up and along the northern ridge of the valley (Coyote Ridge, 1031 ft.) which offers views of the Pacific Ocean to the west, Muir Beach and Green Gulch to the north, Berkeley and Oakland to the east, and San Francisco and Ocean Beach to the south. Return to the Valley via the Fox (3 mile loop) or Miwok trails (7 mile loop).