Hanging Rock Trail might be one of the easiest trails to overlook in Sequoia National Park, but there are many reasons why you shouldn’t. To start with, you’ll find a fun giant sequoia at the trailhead that has been burned out like a chimney with two gaps big enough to climb in and out of. The hike to Hanging Rock also has some of the park’s best views of Moro Rock, Sequoia’s most famous granite dome. Finally, at 0.35 miles round trip, you don’t even have to break a sweat to reach up-close views of the curiously balanced boulder on the rim of the large canyon carved by the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River.
Start hiking from a small trailhead on the road to Moro Rock where a sign marks the trail to Hanging Rock at 0.1 miles (you may also hike to this trailhead on Moro Rock Trail between the Giant Forest Museum and the Moro Rock parking area).
A few steps up the trail, you will pass the bottom half of a giant sequoia that has been burned by fire. Two holes at the base are just large enough to crawl through, allowing hikers to venture into the hallowed center of the tree and look up the charred walls toward the blue sky above.
Outside the tree, follow the single track as it turns sharply to the left and up a ridge toward Hanging Rock. Move up the pine-covered slope toward two overlooks on the left. Step off the main trail and look east toward Moro Rock. The pointed granite dome juts out from the edge of the Giant Forest and offers a panoramic view of the canyon below, carved by the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River. The nearby trail up Moro Rock is a Sequoia National Park must!
Continue up the dirt track toward Hanging Rock. As the trail levels, the wide oval-shaped rock will appear, balanced on the rim of the canyon. It looks as through a spell of gravity-defying magic is all that keeps Hanging Rock from falling down into the wide, deep canyon below.
From the exposed granite around Hanging Rock you can gaze west down the canyon toward the town of Three Rivers and east toward Moro Rock. Footpaths allow you to explore even more of the surrounding ridges, or you can hike back the way you came for an easy 0.35-mile hike with 100 feet of elevation gain.
An entrance fee is required to visit the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, but no permit is needed to hike to Hanging Rock. Dogs and mountain bikes are not permitted, but hikers should have no trouble reaching Hanging Rock, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: Just south of the Giant Forest Museum, turn off the Generals Highway and head east on Crescent Meadow Road. After 1.5 miles, turn right following signs for Hanging Rock and Moro Rock. Continue to a small parking area on the right, shortly before the Moro Rock parking lot.
Trailhead address: Crescent Meadow Road, Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Trailhead coordinates: 36.549128, -118.768186 (36° 32′ 56.86″N 118° 46′ 05.46″W)
This 0.6 mile hike sports panoramic views and should be considered a mandatory hike for first time visitors to Sequoia National Park.
This level 1.6-mile loop visits a Sequoia you can stand inside (Chimney Tree) and another that someone used to live in (Tharp's Log).
|Sugar Pine Trail and Bobcat Point Trail Loop |
This short but diverse 1.5-mile loop peaks at Bobcat Point, which presents a fierce perspective of Moro Rock and a massive canyon.
|Sunset Rock |
This 2-mile hike visits a large granite dome with great views to the west, possibly the best place to end your day in the Giant Forest.
|Beetle Rock |
This short walk from the Giant Forest Museum to Beetle Rock visits a granite dome with great views and stunning sunsets.
|Big Trees Trail |
This 1.6-mile hike explores a paved nature trail through giant sequoias around Round Meadow that is easy, educational, and beautiful.
|General Sherman Tree |
This one-mile hike visits the world's biggest tree, a 275-foot tall Giant Sequoia that is 36.5 feet across at the base.
|Congress Loop |
This easy paved two mile loop visits the fourth and fifth tallest Sequoias in the world (among others).
|Tokopah Falls |
This 4.2-mile hike reaches the base of the tallest waterfall in Sequoia National Park.
|Marble Falls |
This 8-mile hike takes a flower-lined path up a mountain canyon to a powerful waterfall.
|Paradise Creek |
This short stroll leaves Buckeye Flats Campground to visit the perfect swimming hole for a hot summer day in the Sierra.
|Panther Creek |
This 6-mile hike follows the Middle Fork Trail to a 100 foot waterfall that drops into the Middle Fork of Kaweah River.
|More trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains|
Explore other destinations in Sequoia National Park and the rest of the range.
| Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Campgrounds |
Fourteen campgrounds with over 1,000 total sites are spread throughout the parks to facilitate your visit.