Mussel Rock Beach, Daly City
Mussel Rock Beach is a beautiful sandy and rugged stretch of coastline nestled at the Pacifica/Daly City line situated below Mussel Rock Car Park. The area features coastal bluffs with sweeping scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, amazing sunsets and a serene place for reflection. On a clear day, visitors may also be able to take in a view of the elusive Farallon Islands (often shrouded in fog) located 26 miles off shore of the Golden Gate Bridge. Mussel Rock itself is a rock formation known as stack where a headland is unevenly eroded leaving small islands. It is a popular spot for hang gliders brave enough to jump off the area’s cliffs and soar into the coastal sky. There are a few walkable paths, though most are steep and can be treacherous.
Site Captains: Meet Helen & Jo. Since 2007, Helen has led monthly Mussel Rock Beach cleanups and our “Mussel Rock Stars” with passion and conviction to ensure a cleaner healthier environment in her residential community. Alongside co-captain and neighbor Julie who joined her in 2012, both advocate for native habitat preservation and litter reduction, particularly cigarette butts, for the beaches and coastline in Pacifica to Daly City. Both are highly involved in monitoring and reporting findings to the proper agencies at this designated Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Cleanup site which has recently collected and recorded this type of debris. Helen was recognized by the California State Assembly (2014), as well as by Daly City’s City Council for her dedication to establishing the monthly stewardship of Mussel Rock and leading the cause to end cigarette litter pollution along our coastline.
About the Cleanup:
Time: Fourth Saturday of the month from 9am-11am, rain or shine. Check our online monthly calendar for exact dates.
Where to Meet: At the Mussel Rock carpark located at the lower coastal end of Westline Drive by the second entrance to Allied Waste Transfer Station. Drive north past the junction of Skyline Drive, avoiding the other Westline Drive that goes up a steep hill.
Parking: Free parking is available all the time on any of the roads or at the car park at the meet up spot. Follow the signs to the car park so that you do not get lost on the other Westline Drive that ends up above the Transfer Station.
Cleanup Areas: The team cleans up the streets, bluffs, car park and park, itself, as well as the beach if the tide is out far enough for our safety. There is the Secret Waterfall nearby that is a good place to clean if you are looking for excitement rappelling down a rope to the bluff and walking down to the beach.
Supplies: Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own buckets and reusable gloves. Extra gloves, buckets, pickup sticks and specific tools for this site cleanup will be provided while supplies last. The weather is unpredictable (very cold and windy, although it can be sunny and warm). Make sure to bring extra layers, a hat, sunblock, water and snacks.
Litter: The team usually picks up plastic bags, bottles, cigarettes and other household waste because this is where the Bay Area’s trash is brought before it is transferred to other sites. Mussel Rock Beach is a designated Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Cleanup Program site, and is the only one that has reported items to NOAA and GGNRA which appear to have originated from Japan.
Restrooms: Regrettably, there are no public restrooms at this site.
Special Regulations & Precautions
Dogs: Permitted off leash in the park, but there are resident coyotes that may lure dogs away to danger, if they are off leash. This is not a concern if your dog is under excellent voice control and performs recall well. Please be responsible and pick up your dog waste.
Fireworks: Read the City of Pacifica’s Restrictions on the use of fireworks on our beaches.
BBQs: A BBQ fire pit is situated in the car park, and the team regularly cooks sausages and s’mores during cleanups.
Precautions: This area may have drug paraphernalia on the ground, usually plastic tubes and baggies. The terrain is quite bumpy as the San Andreas Fault runs under the area and causes the tarmac to have ripples.
Wildlife & Habitat Protection: The tide usually high comes right up to the base of the cliffs, preventing snowy plovers from nesting on our beaches. There are many unusual raptors and other birds at Mussel Rock, either on the rock or in trees in the park. Peregrine falcons, sea gulls, cormorants, brown pelicans are frequently spotted around the area. Our tide pools are some of the most pristine in the area with sea stars, nudibranchs, sea anenomes, and of course, lots and lots of mussels. There are non-native plants, and the team tries to remove some of the worst types, such as gorse and pampas grass.
Would You Like to Join Us? To make sure we bring the right amount of supplies, to be more efficient and conserve paper, please complete our online form. It will only take you a few seconds. Sign up here!
Make a Contribution to the Cleanup here:
Read About the Team in Action: Check out the Mussel Rock Star blog.
Mussel Rock Beach Cleanup Location Map:
View Mussel Rock in a larger map