Tennessee Valley Trailhead

Just across the Golden Gate Bridge, discover rugged wilderness, a quiet beach and stunning hiking trails also suitable for riding a bike or horse.

Immerse yourself in the unspoiled wilderness of the Tennessee Valley in the Marin Headlands. Amid its rolling hills and craggy bluffs, catch glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline beyond. The valley is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and even features on-site horse stables.

Follow the Tennessee Valley Trail from the parking area to Tennessee Beach. The 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometer) trail is fairly level and suitable for most fitness levels. Much of it is paved and wheelchair-accessible. Walk, bike or ride horseback along the trail. Take more adventurous detours along trails leading into the Marin Headlands.

Be alert for a variety of wildlife. Deer, raptors, coyote and even bobcats live here. Notice all the geological sights too. See if you can spot a hole located high in the black rock cliffs that was carved out by ocean waves in ancient times.

Find a secluded beach at the end of the trail surrounded by rock bluffs. Feel miles away from the rest of civilization. During low tide, walk around the southern end of the beach to a small sandy beach filled with unique rock formations. Enjoy a picnic or search for shells in the sand. Swimming is not recommended.

Experience Tennessee Valley through the seasons. In spring, the area bursts into color with blooming lupine, poppies, buttercups and more. The grasses dry and become golden from summer through fall. By winter, rains transform the golden grasses into lush green fields.

Plan your visit around low tide to see the shipwreck of the SS Tennessee. In 1853, the passenger steamship ran afoul in the fog. During low tide, see the wreckage of the ship poking above the water.

Park your car in the large lot at Tennessee Valley’s entrance. Note that it is a very popular destination and spaces tend to fill up quickly. Alternatively, take a Golden Gate Transit bus to the stop at the intersection of Shoreline Highway and Tennessee Valley Road.