San Mateo Section 2
Mussel Rock City Park, Daly City, to Pacifica State Beach
This short section of the Coastal Trail passes from Daly City through the seaside town of Pacifica. Daly City, renowned for the near incessant fog that blows in from the sea, was made famous by the song "Little Boxes." The rows of uniform houses lining Daly City's coastal bluffs inspired Malvina Reynolds to write this satirical song because the dwellings seemed ticky-tacky in this fine coastal area. Pacifica encompasses nine small communities which joined together in 1957. Pacifica's coastline IS broken by ridges, with small beaches at the mouths of valleys in between. The Ohlone tribe lived here before the Spaniards arrived in 1769. This section has notable changes since this book's first edition. Mori Point's 105 acres, purchased for public use in September 2000, will one day allow the CCT to stay on the coast from Mori Point to Rockaway Beach. Between Rockaway and Pacifica State Beach, a ¾-mile wheelchair-accessible CCT link is being built.
From the Mussel Rock City Park parking lot, walk south up Westline Road. You soon enter Pacifica. You might consider an informal, unsigned trail that crosses open, sloping land west of the road for about ⅝ mile. CCT continues along Westline through a residential area. At ¼ mile turn right on Palmetto Avenue, the frontage road for the freeway. Follow Palmetto to ⅝ mile, turn right and follow Esplanade Drive. The all-tides CCT continues along Esplanade, a quiet residential street, to its end.
If the tide is low, consider dropping to the beach by the stairs at the north end of Esplanade or a trail opposite the end of West Manor Drive. You can walk the beach south for about ⅜ mile from the stairs. If the tide is low enough to continue south around the rocky point, you can walk the beach another ⅜ mile, then climb the cement steps to a parking lot just south of Pacific Park RV Resort. At the end of Esplanade, the all-tides route of CCT turns left on Avalon. This ends at Palmetto Avenue at 1¼ miles. Turn right and continue south along Palmetto past Pacific Park RV Resort.
At 2 miles turn right and walk Paloma Avenue two blocks to Sharp Park Beach. Turn left and follow the walkway beside Beach Boulevard overlooking the beach. Pass the Pacifica Pier at 2½ miles where fisherfolk usually cast for perch, bass, smelt or shark. Restrooms and a small store are at the foot of the pier. Continue south on the walkway. After the street ends, the path continues as the wide Promenade past the freshwater Laguna Salada and the Sharp Park Golf Course just over the low dunes. If the tide IS out you can walk the beach here. Just before rocky Mori Point, turn left and head inland on the dirt Mori's Point Road to Highway 1 at 3¾ miles. Walk the sidewalk on the west side of the two lane roadway to Reina Del Mar Avenue at 4 miles. Cross the highway and follow the east sidewalk south.
At 4¼ miles cross the highway again at Rockaway Beach Avenue. Continue briefly to Old County Road, turn left and walk to the parking area. Take the path across the undeveloped headlands of Rockaway Point. At 4¾ miles it drops down onto pleasant Pacifica State Beach, protected by rocky headlands at both ends and with a good break for surfers. Walk to the south end at 5¼ miles to complete the section. Highway 1 and a business district are adjacent to the beach.
SUGGESTED ROUND TRIPS & LOOPS: Rockaway Beach to the south end of Pacifica State Beach and back is 2 miles round trip.
Distance: 5¼ miles (8.4 kilometers).
Open to: Hikers, bicyclists.
Surface: Road shoulder, sidewalk, trail, beach.
Access point: Mussel Rock City Park.
How to get there: South of San Francisco, exit Highway in Pacifica at Palmetto Avenue. Go north on Palmetto, turn left on Westline Drive and drive to the city park at the end of the road.
Other access: Anywhere along the route.
Elevation gain/loss: 175 feet+/250 feet-.
Cautions: Watch for traffic on roads and big waves on the beach.
Further information: Bay Area District, California State Parks (415)330-6300.
Facilities: Restrooms, water at Sharp Park. Pacifica has stores and cafes.
Campgrounds: Pacific Park RV Resort on this section.
Lodging: Pacifica has several motels. Montara Lighthouse Hostel (650)728-7177 is on San Mateo Section 4.
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