There’s nothing quite like heading off into nature for relieving the stresses and cares of the workplace behind, and Tennessee Valley is the perfect piece of nature to head into. The Tennessee Valley Trail trailhead is located on the Southern edge of Mill Valley, at the end of Tennessee Valley Road, in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Starting at the trailhead, there’s a wonderful 1.7 mile trail with gentle terrain down to Tennessee Beach, a black sand beach that is the only beach between Baker Beach to the south and Muir Beach to the north. Hikers, cyclists and equestrians are all welcome, and one very cool aspect of the trail is that the first 1/2 mile is paved and is wheelchair accessible.
If you want a longer, more strenuous outing, take either the Miwok Trail or Old Springs Trail that rise about 1,000 feet to the ridges to the north and south, respectively, of Tennessee Valley. These trails connect with other trails that enable you to create loops of 5 – 8 miles and are open to hikers, bikers and equestrians.
Of all the trails in Tennessee Valley, the only one where dogs are permitted is Miwok Trail, so keep that in mind. And, your dog must be on a leash at all times on that trail.
If you’re lucky, you’ll see some of the elusive wildlife that live in the Valley, like bobcats, mountain lions, great-horned or long-eared owls and mule deer. More likely, you’ll see red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks, harriers and many shorebirds down at Tennessee Beach.
And, here’s a trivia tidbit. Tennessee Valley was named for the SS Tennessee that ran aground at the cove now named Tennessee Cove after the captain misjudged the entrance to the Golden Gate. All passengers and crew members were rescued the following day after spending the night on the beach – now known as Tennessee Beach.
Where: At the end of Tennessee Valley Road, Mill Valley (map)