One of the county’s easiest hikes is also among its most appealing, especially in springtime, when wildflowers bloom.
Given that a planned community of about 20,000 people was proposed for this site whose 3.6-mile round-trip trail leads inland to the ocean, it seems all the more miraculous that instead of traversing sidewalks winding past tract homes, you’re communing with pristine nature instead. While hawks and other birds fly overhead, you may well spot quail, rabbits, wild turkeys, and other animals enjoying the creek-laced habitat of diverse trees, grasses, and flowers. Rocky, photogenic pale-blue cliffs back the Pacific Ocean beach at the end of the trail. Magnificent.
Tennessee Valley Tips
This hike is best done on a weekday; parking here can be difficult on most weekends. If you must come on a weekend, do so early or late in the day.
For the most leisurely walk, take the Lower Tennessee Valley Trail when it forks off from the main trail, though the upper alternative is hardly a challenge either. (Think Yogi Berra: When you get to the fork in the road, take it.) For an awe-inspiring view, climb the path to the Tennessee Beach Overlook (lead photo is from partway up); you’ll see the sign for it on the right, just before the beach.
Tennessee Valley Details
Difficulty level: Easy.
Why locals love it: Abundant flora, colorful cliffs, photo ops.
Cut to the chase: About a mile in, you can see the ocean not far in the distance.
Reward yourself: Stop by the bar at the Buckeye Roadhouse for coffee, a cocktail, or a light meal. From the trailhead parking lot, backtrack on Tennessee Valley Road and turn right at Shoreline Highway (Highway 1).
Getting to Tennessee Valley
From U.S. 101 heading north or south, take the Highway 1/Stinson Beach exit. In less than a half-mile, head south (left) on Tennessee Valley Road, which dead-ends at the trailhead.
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