This 9-mile ride through the Marin Headlands is a beautiful scenic loop combining breathtaking coastline, open ridges, and a mix of fun descents down dirt fire roads and some wider singletrack. There are a couple strenuous hill climbs but they are well worth the effort as you’ll be rewarded by the vistas awaiting you along the ridges.
Park at the Tennessee Valley Trailhead at the end of Tennessee Valley Road, and head southwest along the paved road toward the Coastal Trail and Tennessee Beach. After approximately a half-mile the trail becomes dirt and remains so for the duration of the ride. At 1.2 miles, turn right at the Coastal Trail and begin the first of two big climbs. The 800-foot climb to the summit of the Coastal Trail fire road becomes increasingly tolerable as the scenery of the ocean and San Francisco's Lands End and Ocean Beach come into view. Two-thirds of the way up the climb you’ll pass a hiking-only trail to Pirate’s Cove, a great spot for views of the coastal headlands to the north.
Pass the Pirate’s Cove Trail junction and continue up the Coastal Trail fire road along scenic Coyote Ridge, stay left at the Fox Trail junction, and follow signs for the Coastal Trail. After the summit, follow signs toward Muir Beach where you begin your first of three descents down to Muir Beach and Middle Green Gulch Trail. The fire road here is steep and rutted in sections; take care navigating, particularly when conditions are wet.
Drop nearly 900 feet down the Coastal Trail fire road to the turnoff for Muir Beach. When the descent flattens out you will be adjacent to Muir Beach (a great side trip). Head right at the junction to continue along the Green Gulch Trail, continue through the Green Gulch Farm and Zen Center, past the farm fields, and turn right at the farm shed. Remember to close all gates behind you. Continue up the single track for a lengthy, 900-foot ascent up the Middle Green Gulch Trail back to Coyote Ridge. Only uphill bike traffic is permitted on this section of trail.
Middle Green Gulch reconnects with the Coyote Ridge fire road; turn left and follow the Coyote Ridge Trail to the summit. This is the highest point on the ride. Rest here and take in the spectacular views of the San Pablo Bay and the unique perspective on the city skyline. Begin your second descent down the Coyote Ridge fire road.
Continue straight onto the Miwok Trail around some curves and through a shaded Eucalyptus grove. You’ll encounter a short climb to a junction where the Miwok Trail fire road splits, and bikes are not permitted to the left. Head right and follow signs back to Tennessee Valley. This section narrows to single track. It is the most technical section of the ride with plenty of steps and water bars to suck up.Enjoy the final descent down the lower Miwok Trail back to the Tennessee Valley trailhead and parking area.
Hikers and equestrians share thr trail with mountain bikers. Please ride with caution and yield to the others. Note that certain sections, i.e. the Middle Green Gulch Trail, become increasingly challenging if not impossible to ride in wet and muddy conditions. Spring, summer, and fall are the ideal times to ride here. Fantastic wildflower blooms accentuate springtime rides.