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Rodeo Beach is a top destination in the Marin Headlands, popular for its uniquely dark-colored sand, surrounding cliffs, and sea stacks rising from the waves.
When visiting Rodeo Beach, you can take a short hike to Tennessee Point for even better coastal views.
Tennessee Point is an overlook on the sea cliffs nearby, reachable by a short uphill hike on a wide dirt path.
Along the way, you’ll see a few old bunkers, part of the old coastal defense system that is so prevalent in Marin Headlands. Begin by walking up the paved road at the north end of Rodeo Beach, pass the gate that closes this road to vehicles, then turn on the dirt path that heads toward the ocean.
Right away the trail takes one wide switchback uphill, where you’ll get a great look down on Rodeo Beach and Battery Alexander atop the cliffs beyond. At the top of the switchback, the trail hugs the cliff line and you can look down on a tight, triangular cove with a spit of sand called Hawktail Beach.
From there, Tennessee Point is in sight up ahead, if the air isn’t too foggy.
The vegetation on these coastal hills are all low shrubs and grasses, so the views are wide open on a clear day.
The plants turn their greenest in winter, and by early spring are usually flecked with orange and blue wildflowers. Continue along rolling terrain atop the cliffs to reach the broad vista atop Tennessee Point.
From there, you can see back toward Rodeo Beach and past it to Point Bonita Lighthouse and the mouth of San Francisco Bay.
On the other side of the point, you’ll look down on Tennessee Cove and across at its tall cliffs. Source: https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/upload/map_MAHE_150429web.pdf