Pirates Cove via Tennessee Valley Trail

MODERATE 5 reviews

Pirates Cove via Tennessee Valley Trail is a 4.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mill Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

4.6 miles
1,053 feet
Out & Back




horseback riding

trail running




wild flowers




no shade

1 month ago

The small private beach was worth it. It gets pretty tiring though. We used this trail to as our backpacking trial with a 30 lbs bag and was testing out a pair of keen sandals. Probably good training for going uphill and going down towards the end of the hike at the beach. There is no phone reception for most of the trip so make sure you load the map of this place prior to arriving. We made our way out to the beach and had a picnic when we arrive. The tides came up around 7ish so I wouldn’t recommend coming there to picnic at that time.

6 months ago

Always easy, fairly level. Kids can manage this - accessible w joggers. Lots of options once you are here - choose higher harder trails or stay the course

10 months ago

This route starts at the TENNESSEE VALLEY TRAILHEAD. plenty of parking, bathrooms, trash and recycling bins available. It is HIGHLY recommended that you pack sunscreen, a pullover, or some other form of shelter/cover/protection, as there is virtually no shade on this route.
Things to consider:
WATER- there are no water sources anywhere on the trails once you leave the trail head. HEAT/SUNCAST- there is no shade. GRADE- there are sections of this trail with high %'s of grade. SCRAMBLING- the last section of this trail requires climbing on rocks to access the beach. TIDE- check tide schedules if the plan involves time on the actual beach in the cove. TRAIL TYPES- Tenn Val trail is paved and packed dirt. The ascent on Coastal is packdirt service road. Coastal, after the summit is narrow bridal trail. This continues to tighten up as you approach Pirate. Pirate is chute and rock type, with a few wood or stone stairs in some locations. Ending in beach head rock leading down to the beach 30 or so feet bellow. MENTAL- those with symptoms of Vertigo, have reported difficulties with the last decent to the Cove.

About half way down the Tenn Valley trail, you will take the COASTAL TRAIL off to the right. (This is your THIRD right, passing up both the Haypress Camp Trail and the Fox Trails.) once you begin to ascend Coastal Trail, this is where the grade gets steep. Fantastic cardio and the hard work is rewarded with commanding views of the HeadLands and Tennessee Beach.

Once you summit the headland, the trail comes to a four way intersection. Great views here of the coast, Downtown San Francisco, Bay Bridge, and the Pacific Ocean. In some very clear conditions, there is a view of Point Reyes Light House. Choose to go STRAIGHT AHEAD. ( Left returns to Tennessee Beach, Right continues off to connect with other trails to Muir Beach.) This also marks the first trail condition change.

Continuing on will start the reverse grade as you head down through a more narrow trail. Watch your feet from here on, there are a lot of rock obstacles to trip on. Continue on, until the final trail change. Head LEFT on PIRATE COVE TRAIL, marked only by a sign post, as the trail sign has been removed. This is the steepest section and requires carfully thought out steps. There will be a few wood, or stone steps available, but most parts of this section requires good balance. The last 30 feet of the trail before landing on beach, requires some Scrambling. Also keep in mind that you will have to ascend out of the cove if you choose to go down.

Overall, this is a strenuous hike that rewards with a very private beach, and wonderful views of the Bay.

3 days ago