Moro Rock Trail, Sequoia National Park

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Sometimes they put trails in the craziest places.  Moro Rock is definitely that kind of place.  The Moro Rock Trail in Sequoia National Park allows you to climb to the top of a stunning granite dome for a 360-degree view of the park.  It’s the kind of spot that would normally be reserved for highly skilled rock climbers.  But, thanks to a short trail and 350 steps, almost anyone can scale Moro Rock.

Location

To access Moro Rock, Hanging Rock, Crescent Meadow, and the Tunnel Log, turn off Generals Highway at the Giant Forest Museum.  The side road to all of these attractions begins next to the museum.  Follow this road to the end for Crescent Meadow, or take the turnoff onto the loop for Moro Rock and Hanging Rock.

My Visit

There isn’t an inch of the Moro Rock Trail that isn’t thrilling.  Almost the entire way up to the viewpoint, you’re on the edge of a cliff.  Walkways and staircases have been chiseled out of the granite and shaped in concrete, to give you a relatively easy passage to the top of the rock.

From the parking area to the end of Moro Rock Trail, it’s only about a quarter-mile. However, you will gain 300 feet of elevation in that short distance. Also, keep in mind, the top of Moro Rock is at 6,725 feet. If you live at sea level, you’ll find the air to be quite thin. Take your time.

The higher you go, the better the views get.  This old tree must have been the last one growing on the rock.  It still clings to the side, holding on for dear life.

On the way up, you can’t tell exactly how you’re going to get there.  The stairs twist and squeeze through narrow passages.

The Top of the Moro Rock Trail

On the final ascent, you’re really out there in the open.  Railings provide some safety, but if you’re afraid of heights, this might be a struggle for you.

At the end of the Moro Rock Trail, you’re on the very top of Moro Rock.  The railings allow you to walk out towards the end…

… but you’re only allowed to go so far.  I suppose you could slip through the railings and go further, but it certainly wouldn’t be very safe — and the view is good enough from here.

Looking down to the right…

… you can see the Generals Highway, as it twists and turns towards the park’s southern exit.  This road is fun but exhausting to drive.  I’ll give you a look at it on a separate page.

Look the opposite direction, and you have an excellent view of the Great Western Divide — the Sierra Nevada mountains.  The highest peak in the lower 48 states, Mount Whitney, is just a few miles away.  And then, just 80 miles on the other side, is the lowest point, in Death Valley.  Close, but it would require a very long day’s drive to circle those mountains.

Looking back, you can see the staircase and pathway leading back to the trailhead.  In the distance, you’ll notice another outcropping of granite — that’s the end of Hanging Rock Trail, and it was my next stop.

Once you’re at the end of Moro Rock Trail, why hurry?  I kicked back for a few minutes and enjoyed the view.  I also considered coming back here for the sunset — which I’m sure is pretty great from up here.  But, it would have meant a very long drive out of the park after dark.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s a look at the drive south on Generals Highway to the Giant Forest Museum…

… and through the Tunnel Log to Crescent Meadow and Moro Rock:

The Bottom Line

If you’re not afraid of heights, and you don’t mind climbing a few (hundred) stairs, you’ll want to make sure you hike the Moro Rock Trail while visiting Sequoia National Park.  It’s an incredible viewpoint with unparalleled views, and the trail is equally remarkable.

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