For our first hike of the year, Sarah & I went north to Tennessee Valley. The parking lot was absolutely packed on this, the first sunny day after a spell of rain, but we were lucky enough to snare a spot near the actual trailhead – there were cars parked a half-mile-plus along the side of the road!
We decided to try a new trail, and took the first right, signed “No Coyote Ridge access.” It would have been good if it had been more explicit tha the trail, in fact, goes to a little picnic grotto (very boggy at this time of year), and then dead-ends! Retracing our steps, we took the next fork, signed “Fox Trail” and began a fairly short, but pretty steep in places, climb up to Coyote Ridge.
Views were lovely, and there were a heck of a lot of people on the main Tennessee Valley Trail. Due to its steepness, and probably the fact that it doesn’t go to the beach, the Fox Trail had just a handful of people on it. When we reached the top we were treated to good views of western San Francisco, a peek at downtown between the hills, and the Pacific Ocean to our west.
One could turn left and come out midway to the beach on the main Tennessee Valley trail, but we opted for an informal trail that skirted the cliffs above the ocean. This took us to a nice lookout, then descended very steeply (don’t try this soon after a heavy rain, or if you’re unsure of your footing, or afraid of heights!) to an old military bunker above Tennessee Beach.
The beach itself was pretty crowded, so we just sat at its edge, ate our sandwiches, drank our wine, and people-watched. As usual there were a few crazies in the frigid water – brrrr! When we’d had enough, we hiked back on the main trail, taking the hiking-only fork to the right, which was boggy, but less crowded.
All in all, a fine outing for our first of the year. The Fox Trail loop addition makes this a more substantial hike than just going to the beach and back (a 3’ish mile out-and back that’s nearly level).