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Pirates Cove via Tennessee Valley Trail

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Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Pirates Cove via Tennessee Valley Trail is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Mill Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, bird watching, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 4.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,053 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

horseback riding

bird watching

running

beach

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

NOTE: It has been reported that the road to the trailhead is currently closed due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information.

hiking
closed
scramble
1 month ago

The Tennessee Valley trailhead parking is closed. Plan to park along Tennessee Valley Road and take the Miwok trail to the trailhead, adding an additional mile to the beginning and end of your hike. Worth it!

walking
muddy
rocky
3 months ago

Gorgeous day nice trail. Somewhat crowded.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Beautiful trail but much harder than expected due to steepness and condition of the trail down to Pirate Cove. Still, worth it. Bring hiking poles.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
7 months ago

Awesome trail!! About 2.5 miles up at a reasonably steep grade, then 0.5 miles down at an absolute scramble. Beautiful cove at the end that makes it all worth it!!

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful short trial that kicks your ass. It’s rating is deceiving. It starts out wide and flat then straight up for almost a mile then straight down a rocky, narrow trail for .5 miles. Definite payoff when you get to the cove! Definitely a great work out! Gorgeous views!

hiking
muddy
Sun Mar 10 2019

hiking
Sun Jul 08 2018

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.

Tue Jan 23 2018

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

hiking
Sat Oct 07 2017

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.

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

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