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Posted by on Jun 5, 2016 | 92 comments

Sequoia National Park: Moro Rock

There are certain things you know but tend to forget in the most crucial moments.

After a two hundred mile drive from Los Angeles, we were happy to enter the Sequoia National Park.

After an obligatory photo with the official park sign, we stopped by the visitor’s center (important restroom stop).

In there, we found out the visitor’s center is located in an area called The Foothills.  Turns out the giant Sequoias are located at a higher elevation area.  We were at 1,000 feet over sea level.  The Sequoias are at a 6,000 feet elevation.  We had to ascend 5,000 feet to reach the Giant Forest!

So, important lesson to remember: National Park‘s main attractions may be located very far from the actual park entrance. We experienced the same situation when we visited Yosemite last year.

Well, at least, we were twenty miles from where we wanted to go. Oh, but forgot to mention those twenty miles turn into an eternity because they have like 40 curves that have to be taken at 10 miles per hour.

It was time to take it easy. The only option was to calm down, relax and enjoy the views while transiting slowly thru the main road.

That is how we noticed an almost spherical rock popping out in most of our photos.  I first noticed it far away while taking pictures of the Kaweah River Canyon.  Do you see it?

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

The rock got bigger and bigger as we were ascending.  Can you see it now?

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

It was my first time visiting the park but I knew that was Moro Rock. Morro (with double “R”) means promontory in Spanish.  Spaniards used that name frequently to refer to big rocks or forts.  We have another notorious Morro Rock in California (in San Luis Obispo County).

The other thing I knew was that you are actually able to hike to the top of Moro Rock.  Sounds crazy but it is true.  Therefore, after losing our breath because of our first glimpse of the magnificent Sequoias, we took the shuttle to the base of the rock.

Moro Rock is a dome shaped granite monolith.   It is located in the center of the park, at the head of Moro Creek, between Giant Forest and Crescent Meadow. A stairway, designed by the National Park Service and built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is cut into and poured onto the rock, so that visitors can hike to the top. The view from the rock encompasses much of the Park, including the Great Western Divide.

The first set of stairs in the trail looked innocent enough.  Things started to get a little bit more scary several meters ahead.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

At the midpoint of the climb, there is a small space to rest and enjoy the views.  After that, it is all the way up to the top.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

The first stairway leading to the summit of Moro Rock was constructed of wood and installed in 1917. This stairway deteriorated significantly by the late 1920s, and was replaced in 1931 by the present Moro Rock Stairway. Unlike the earlier stairway, the new stairway adopted a design policy of blending with the natural surfaces to the greatest extent possible. The 797-foot-long stairway was designed by National Park Service landscape architect Merel S. Sager and engineer Frank Diehl, following natural ledges and crevices. It has 400 steps that lead to the summit of Moro Rock.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

And, reaching that summit is something else.  You have unobstructed views of pure wilderness.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

I have mentioned many times how I am afraid of heights. Therefore, it is obvious I freaked out a little bit while going up.  I even felt a bit dizzy and shaky.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

However, the pain was rewarded with amazing vistas of valleys, granite formations, snowy peaks, colorful pines, cotton candy clouds and pockets of wildflowers.  Those views are going to stay in my mind for a long time.

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California

A lot of people go to this particular park to take a look at the big trees.  Often, they are gone after walking the short, main trails that lead to the most famous trees. I more than understand this approach. Those Sequoias are more than astonishing.  But, the park has much more things to offer (and I think the photos tell this better than a thousand words).  I encourage any visitor to check out the Moro rock area.  From up there, the true immensity of the park (and of the Sierra) is understood.

Here is a video my husband took from the top.

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Would you like to climb to the top of Moro Rock?

Pin it for later?

Take a look at how it feels to climb to the top of Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, California


See Sequoia National Park from the top! Get a birds view of the park from the top of Morro Rock.


  1. Stunning vistas! What a great hike. You’re so lucky to be close to such amazing places.

    • Sharon, I have not thought about it in that way but I think you are right. What a blessing to live in California!

    • The parks are great for kids! There is a lot for them to see and learn. There are even programs where they can participate.

  2. Beautiful shots and what great views!

    • Thanks! Glad you liked them.

  3. I love the landscapes of California – they are so varied. Everyone expects beaches and suntans but I really love the forests and mountains. Thanks for sharing Ruth
    Katy recently posted..Links + Loves – May 2016My Profile

    • Yes, I get that a lot. But, we have the longest mountain range in the United States (the Sierra Nevada). Therefore,there are tons to see in terms of mountains.

  4. I love Sequioa NP. It’s not as popular as Yosemite, but the sights are comparable. I believe I’ve been there 3x, but each time I never got to the Moro Rock yet. The park is huge, difficult to take in everything.
    Photo cache recently posted..Lisbon: All Kinds of Beautiful, Part 1My Profile

    • I have the same thoughts. During my visit, I think I said like 10 times “This looks like Yosemite.” The park was crowded when I visited but I noticed people tend to visit the area around the Giant Forest Museum and the General Sherman area. The other areas are crowd free.

  5. Wow – those views from the top of Moro Rock!
    I was hoping to go see Sequoia National Park this summer. Thank you for the sneak peek. 🙂

    • You should go because the park is gorgeous! Lots to see and do.

  6. Phenomenal views! Thank you for sharing Moro Rock and bringing to my attention. It’s great to see what the park has beyond the Sequoias!
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    • You are right! The Sequoias are amazing (and I am going to write about them) but the other areas are amazing too.

    • I am sissy too, do not get me wrong. To me, this was not the most pleasurable hike but you know sometimes you have to do it.

  7. What incredible views and some amazing blue skies – I get a bit wobbly legged at the top of viewpoints like this as well, but definitely worth it for that vista. Thanks for linking up to #citytripping
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted..City Tripping #30My Profile

    • My legs get like that too! During this hike, I felt a bit dizzy. I think the altitude affected me a bit. As I mentioned, we moved from a 1,000 feet to 6,000 feet. Plus, the rock is another 1,000 feet higher.

    • I have not been to Norway but I imagine the mountains in there are different. I am trying to be more of a mountain person. It feels so good to take a look at this raw and wild places.

  8. Such beautiful views from Moro Rock inside Sequoia NP, Ruth!I enjoyed taking the virtual hike with you! I found it interesting to learn the elevation of the park as I live at 6,200 feet, but in a valley. Colorado is a high altitude state. I noticed some of the trees were brown.Is there a beetle kill problem there? Colorado’s forests suffered from that or a few years but it seems to be under control now.
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  9. I seriously think that California has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the United States! I have Sequoia National Park on my radar because of the sequoias, but I would love to visit and see those beautiful views as well! So stunning!
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    • Wow! I see that Colorado is high! I am so used to live at sea level! I am not sure what happened to the trees. I will need to research that one.

    • Thanks Felicia! Glad you enjoyed them.

  10. I’ve never been to Sequoia National Park, but I’ve heard great things and it looks lovely! That trail looks pretty crazy though! I’m afraid of heights too, so not sure how that would go for me! I’ll probably have to give it a try one day though as the view looks way worth it!!
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    • You can give it a try and come back if you do not feel ok. The views from the midpoint are great too and in that case, you do not have to ascend the most scary stairs.

  11. Those views! They really are spectacular. I always think views are even better when you feel you deserve them by hiking up. I’m a keen hiker and this really looks like my kind of place 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with us, I really enjoyed this post!!

    • You would be in paradise hiking in this park. Some of the trail are not difficult at all but they offer tons of views.

    • Awesome views! Thanks for stopping by.

  12. My respect! Particularly in the US we tended to divide NP visitors into two categories: the ones who like to drive up as close as possible to any attraction (and if even remotely possible take photos from their car windows), and the younger ones who are into extreme sports, long hikes, and ‘real adventure’. You took the ‘middle way’.
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    • Juergen, you have described it well. I like the drives and viewpoints but I feel like doing at least a hike a day (two if possible). It gets me a better feeling of the parks.

    • Thanks Sophie. It is a wonderful park to visit.

    • That is the high Sierra. It is so tall that it has snow all year. It was great to see some of that snow melting and falling from the tall granite walls.

    • Jan,the interesting thing is that the forest is dynamic. You are going to see tons of trees that have fallen and others who have been affected by fires. As a matter of fact, the Sequoias are so old that most of them have fire scars. But, fire is necessary to keep the balance.

    • Actually, the walk is not long. A shuttle leaves you at the trailhead and you only have to climb the stair (which are a lot). You can walk from the Giant Forest Museum to the trailhead. It is one mile one way (which is very short and the terrain is flat).

  13. just discover this site from somewhere. great sharing story & experiences. i will recommend this site to my friends out there.

    • Thanks Shah! I am glad you like the site. Hope you keep traveling and discovering.

  14. That looks like a steep climb but the views would be worth it! You got some amazing shots.

    • It is steep but it is not that bad. The bad park is that you have nowhere to run.

  15. I think the climb is on of those “down look down” things 🙂 Anyway beautiful views and I thing worth of climbing.

    • I kept telling that to myself but I kept looking. Not sure why I cannot be focused on the trail.

  16. Your post reminded me hot beautiful Sequoia Park is. I’ve climbed the Moro Rock some years ago and I remember it was a little scary, but totally worth it.

    • Even though the road was kind of scary, I will go back to the park. There are so many more walk/hikes I want to do.

    • You have to plan to visit one day. Tons of things to do and see.

  17. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Sequoia National Park and these pictures definitely demonstrate why!

    • Wait till you see my other photos! I am so excited about all the things I saw.

    • Physically, it is not that bad. It is the fear of heights what kills me. But, like you mentioned, totally worth.

  18. Wow, those are truly outstanding, panoramic views from the top of Moro Rock. It looks like the hike up there is very worthwhile. We didn’t even come close to attempting it when we visited Sequoia as my kids were too young at the time. (See your photos along the ledge has convinced me that this was a wise decision.) I also remember that we had to take the roads very slowly within the park, especially as there was also road construction going on at the time.
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    • All my friends complained about the road construction. It took year to complete what was being fixed. As a parent I totally get you but guess what? Tons of kids up there. There were even people carrying babies.

    • It would be cool if you make it one day. It is a perfect place for nature lovers.

    • Lots of steps but I think you can take your time if needed.

    • Thanks! I think you will enjoy the short trail and vistas.

    • I was terrified too believe me. You do not climb a massive granite boulder every other day.

  19. What amazing views from up there. Congratulations on getting to the top! I know what you mean about getting to the park entrance and then finding out there’s still another hour of slow going to get into the main part of the park.
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    • Yes, I know. Lots of patience is needed after the long drive from Los Angeles. At least, there are plenty of stops.

  20. Beautiful photos, Ruth! I’m glad you were able to overcome your distaste of heights so you were able to enjoy the view. Did it feel like you got a workout getting to the top and back down again?

    Sequoia NP has long been on my radar but we haven’t had the opportunity to go yet. I had not realized that the giant trees are at such a high altitude or that the visitor center was such a long way from the entrance. I hope the long drive to get there wasn’t marred by a desperate need to use their plumbing. That can really distract a person. 😉
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    • The climb is not that hard. You can stop if needed (and let other s pass). The good thing about National parks is that there are plenty places to potty. I used the restroom in the visitor’s center just in case.

  21. Love this hike! Glad you made it and had a great day! We’ve done this hike with young kids so it’s perfectly doable as a family hike. Those views are amazing. Beautiful photos!

    • Great to here your perspective! I believe kids can perfectly do this. I saw several families doing it together.

    • It is cool in the higher parts of the park. So, it is the perfect place to escape the summer heat.

  22. I’m glad you conquered your fear of heights, the view is incredible and your photos are gorgeous! 😀

    • Thanks Vlad! I travel to expand my horizons and do things I would not have done otherwise.

  23. Hello, what a fantastic hike. Well worth the walk to the top for those gorgeous views. Lovely post and photos. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

    • Eileen, have a great weekend. The walk was something else. Gotta go back to the park soon.

  24. that kind of stairs rising towards the sky would be too hard for me nowadays. Loved to see the scenery

    • Well, people of all ages were able to do it. Like I mentioned before, it is easy to get to the midpoint without a lot of effort. That is an option for those who do not wan tot climb all the way to the top.

    • I saw a guy doing the hike who was more than afraid of heights. He was almost passing out at the top. His friends were taking videos of him like crazy.

  25. Wow! Those views are something else! Well done on climbing so far – especially when you are scared of heights! Clearly it was worth it though and you have some beautiful pictures to show for it. #citytripping

  26. I’ve never heard of the Moro Rock hike! Thanks for mentioning it and taking us along… incredible views!!
    Peter recently posted..A Favorite SunsetMy Profile

    • Well, now you know about it. Hope it is something you will consider in the future.

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