Moro Rock is a short and popular hiking trail located in Sequoia National Park. Moro Rock is popular for its ease of access, it’s great views of nearby canyons, The Giant Forest, and the Great Western Divide. For anyone who is traveling into Sequoia National Park, this short stop is highly recommended for anyone’s itinerary when visiting Sequoia National Park.
Hiking Moro Rock Trail
If you’re entering Sequoia National Park via Highway 198 through the Ash Mountain entrance, you might notice a prominent granite peak looming high above the canyons and highway below. This is Moro Rock. Moro Rock is one of the flagship and most easily accessible granite domes within Sequoia National Forest. Although this National Park isn’t known for its granite domes like Yosemite is, the park does contain a handful of domes with Moro Rock being the most popular.
Moro Rock is popular because of its ease of access and it’s concrete and stone stairway that leads to the top edge. The top edge offers panoramic views of nearby peaks, the canyons below, and The Great Western Divide – large prominent mountain peaks within the Sierra that help separate Kings Canyon from Sequoia. The trail leading up to the top of Moro Rock was designed by the National Park Service and built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and allows visitors to take in the surrounding sights.
The trail itself is just over three hundred and fifty steps along the ledge and leads out to the tip of Moro Rock. Those with extreme sensitivity to heights should take comfort in the fact that the majority of the trail is lined with large boulders and a handrail. With that said, be mindful of where your feet are because a slip and fall would likely result in death. If you have kids, please also keep them close to your side.
During the summer months there is a is a shuttle that runs from the Giant Forest Museum to the Moro Rock Parking Area. On the weekends the road is closed so the only way to access Moro Walk is to catch the free shuttle or walk about one mile from the museum to the Moro Rock Parking Area. During the winter, the trail can often be closed due to ice or hazardous conditions. Please use caution during thunderstorms. Moro Rock is completely exposed granite and one wouldn’t want to get struck by lightning.
On A Personal Note:
I highly recommend taking the shuttle to the trail and not walking up the road from the Giant Museum if at all possible. This will save you time for other things to do while in the park. Fire season can hinder the views of the towering 13,000 foot plus mountains to the east and of the valleys below. While I think Moro Rock is still amazing, smokey skies is a bit of a bummer.
Have you done this trail recently? Please leave a comment about updates to the trail descriptions or trail pictures below.
- Overall Difficulty: 20% 20%
- Overall Views: 100% 100%
Moro Rock Trail Quick Facts:
- Elevation: 6,684 feet.
- Elevation Gain: 180 feet.
- Estimated Distance: 0.4 miles (approx 3.5 from the Giant Forest Museum Parking Lot).
- My Actual Distance: 0.4 miles.
- Estimated Time: 30-45 minutes.
- My Time: 22 minutes.
Moro Rock Trail Directions:
Open in maps. There is a small parking lot at the Moro Rock trailhead off of Crescent Meadows Road. The parking lot is small and fills up very quickly. Crescent Meadows Road is closed during weekends and frequently during the winter. My recommendation is to park at the lot across the street from the Giant Forest Museum. At the Giant Forest Museum there is a free shuttle that takes visitors to the Moro Rock trailhead. The shuttle runs frequently and cuts down hiking up Crescent Meadows Road. The Giant Forest Museum parking lot is hard to miss as it’s in the heart of Sequoia National Park (open in maps). Cost is the price of admission to the park. An America The Beautiful Pass will also work.
Moro Rock Trail Pictures:
Who Moro Rock Trail Is For:
Novice Hikers: This trail is great for novice hikers. The constructed trail offers a safety net for those afraid of heights. The best part about the trail is that almost anyone could access this trail to enjoy the iconic views from the top. The stairs aren’t really too bad so even those with moderate mobility issues should have no problem doing this trail.
Advanced Hikers: This trail doesn’t provide any short of challenge for advanced or expert hikers. I still recommend taking the short amount of time to walk up to the top to see the views.
Expert Hikers: Same.
It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.
Best Time Of Year To Hike Moro Rock:
Being located in Central California and along the mountains of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Moro Rock is susceptible to all four seasons. Winter storms can blanket the peak in snow and make hiking hazardous. Ice can also be problematic on the rocks as well. Check with the National Park Service to see if the trail is open surrounding and during weather events. Summer can bring about other problems like thunderstorms.Moro Rock is completely exposed so if thunderstorms are in the area, avoid going up Moro Rock to avoid being struck by lightning. The rail along the trail of Moro Rock is metal and can attract lightning strikes. Be mindful of windy conditions throughout the year.
Moro Rock Trail Conditions:
Moro Rock is a very well maintained trail. The trail is one of the most popular short hikes and located right in the heart of Sequoia National Forest so the National Park Service makes sure this trail is well maintained. The Park Service also looks out for the safety of its visitors and will close this trail during hazardous conditions. Please check with the park if conditions might be questionable.During the winter the road up to the top of Moro Rock is usually closed. During the peak season during the summer the road is also closed. If the road is closed during the winter, parking will need to be done by the Giant Forest Museum and the trail will begin along the road up to Moro Rock. If possible, I highly recommend taking the shuttle to the top to save time for other activities.
The trail on Moro Rock begins right where the shuttle drop off is. The trail is cut right into the granite rock and features a moderate incline with about three hundred and fifty stairs lined along the trail. There isn’t really anything noteworthy to say about the trail. Some places are narrow and traffic will have to be yielded for one person at a time. Along the way up are several information plaques about the area and surrounding views. There are portions of the trail that do not have a handrail. Small granite rocks line the edge of these portions so use caution to not slip and fall off.
Fire season can limit visibility and unfortunately hinder views of the Great Western Divide and the valleys below. If smoke is something you’re looking to avoid, check with the National Park Service website or call them to inquire about smokey conditions. Likewise for any clouds.
Be aware for the potential for lightning! It’s not recommended to hiker Moro Rock if dark clouds are nearby or overhead, there is thunder, hail, or rain, hissing in the air, or static electricity building up in your hair or finger tips. If this is the case, get to your car immediately. If you suspect lightning is imminent, don’t take shelter near any trees, put your feet close together and crouch down to the ground with your head down. Avoid laying down.
Enjoy the views!