Moro Rock Sequoia National Park

Moro Rock is a prominent granite protrusion on the edge of the Giant Forest visible to everyone driving up the Generals Highway into Sequoia National Park from the south. The hike up Moro Rock is a classic, composed of over 350 steps in a picturesque quarter mile climb. Its status as one of the most popular hikes in Sequoia National Park is well earned.

Moro Rock rises 6,725 feet above sea level, but hikers only have to climb the last 300 feet of that elevation to enjoy the vast panoramic views. The trail is half a mile round trip, crossing ledges that will give wobbly legs to anyone with a fear of heights.

Panels at the trailhead explain that Moro Rock began forming 100 million years ago when molten rock rose upward and cooled into granite. The movement of Moro Rock created earthquakes that assisted in the erosion of the surrounding material to expose the rock.

Moro Rock
The High Sierra east of Moro Rock

This trail (or staircase) has no junctions and is only wide enough for one hiker in several places. Make your way up the stairs, holding on the rock walls and railings that have been provided for your safety. While the hike to the top is short but steep. Any time you need to catch your breath you’ll discover fantastic views.

Along the trail, and from the top of Moro Rock, you can look west down a canyon carved by the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River. The city of Three Rivers is visible at the bottom of the canyon, backed by Lake Kaweah and the hazy San Joaquin Valley. Nearer to Moro Rock, the Generals Highway weaves 3,000 feet up the side of the canyon. Hanging Rock can also be spotted, balancing on the rim of the canyon just west of Moro Rock.

Moro Rock
Looking west from Moro Rock

East of Moro Rock are views up the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River toward the Great Western Divide of the High Sierra. This jagged wall of snowcapped peaks blocks Mount Whitney from sight (the highest point in the lower 48 states), but the visible peaks do not disappoint. Summits in view include Triple Divide Peak, Loin Rock, Mount Stewart, Lawson Peak, Kaweah Queen, Black Kaweah, Lippincott Mountain, and Mount Eisen (from north to south). As you progress up the trail, you’ll be able to see over the top of the Giant Forest to the north toward a couple more peaks, Alta Peak and Mount Silliman. Panels along the impressive trail will help you identify the surrounding landmarks.

Moro Rock
Stairs on Moro Rock Trail

The impressive system of stone carved steps and ramps was constructed in 1931 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. We have FDR’s new deal to thank for the impressive staircase, which is now listed in the national registry of historic places.

Hale Tharp (the one-time inhabitant of Tharp’s Log) was led to Moro Rock by Native Americans in 1858, and visitors have been enjoying the rock’s expansive views ever since. A century and a half of air pollution in the Central Valley has cut into the view Tharp would have seen. These days the coastal mountains are typically hidden behind the man-made haze. Taking that into account, the views from Moro Rock remain top notch. The sight to the east toward the High Sierra is inspiring. This short trail should be hiked by anyone visiting Sequoia National Park.

Moro Rock
The top of Moro Rock

It is a bad idea to hike up Moro Rock in a lightning storm, but it would be smart to visit Moro Rock at sunset. The trailhead for the loop through Crescent Meadow is just a mile from Moro Rock and is a great trail to visit in combination with this one. You can actually hike to Crescent Meadow from Moro Rock on Sugar Pine Trail.

Dogs and mountain bikes are not allowed on the trail to Moro Rock. An entrance fee is required to visit the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, but no permit is needed to hike up Moro 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 and continue to the parking area beneath Moro Rock.

Trailhead address: Crescent Meadow Road, Sequoia National Park, CA 93262
Trailhead coordinates: 36.5469, -118.7656 (36° 32′ 48.8″N 118° 45′ 56.2″W)

Trail Map
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Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.

You may also view a regional map of surrounding Sierra Nevada trails and campgrounds.


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These photos were taken in May of 2013. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Hanging Rock trail Sequoia National Park Hanging Rock Trail
This short 0.35-mile hike passes views of Moro Rock en route to a balancing boulder on a canyon rim at the edge of the Giant Forest.
hiking trails sequoia Crescent Meadow
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).
Big Trees Trail sequoia Big Trees Trail
This 1.4-mile stroll explores giant sequoias around Round Meadow on a paved nature trail that is easy, educational, and beautiful.
Sugar Pine Trail and Bobcat Point Loop sequoia 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.
hiking trails sequoia 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.
hiking trails sequoia Beetle Rock
This short walk from the Giant Forest Museum to Beetle Rock visits a granite dome with great views and stunning sunsets.
hiking trails sequoia 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.
hiking trails sequoia Congress Loop
This easy paved two mile loop visits the fourth and fifth tallest Sequoias in the world (among others).
hiking trails sequoia Tokopah Falls
This 4.2-mile hike reaches the base of the tallest waterfall in Sequoia National Park.
hiking trails sequoia Marble Falls
This 8-mile hike takes a flower-lined path up a mountain canyon to a powerful waterfall.
hiking trails sequoia Paradise Creek
This short stroll leaves Buckeye Flat Campground to visit the perfect swimming hole for a hot summer day in the Sierra.
hiking trails sequoia 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.
hiking trails sequoia More trails in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
Explore other destinations in Sequoia National Park and the rest of the range.
Similar Trail
Sierra Hiking and camping Needles Lookout in Giant Sequoia National Monument
This 5-mile hike visits a fire tower with unbeatable views of the region.
Sequoia Campgrounds Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Campgrounds
There are 14 campgrounds with over 1,000 total sites spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
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Tagged with · Domes · Giant Forest · National Parks · Stairs
Distance: 0.6 miles · Elevation change: 300 feet

19 Comments on Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park

  1. […] view from my back yard of Moro Rock with rainbow on 9-20-11 […]

  2. […] that was tougher had 3 people on it. Only 2 people on the trail from the Giant Forrest Museum to Moro Rock, and two separate guys from Moro Rock back along the trails to Lodgepole campground…. I guess […]

  3. […] Helpful website: […]

  4. Peter Maldonado wrote:

    If I want to see the giant Sequoias (General Sherman)first which road do I go to to see and climb, Moro Rock and the tunnel tree?Thank you

  5. dennis93277 wrote:

    We took the tram to base of Moro Rock first thing in the morning. The climb took us about thirty minutes. We took a couple of stops along the way to catch our breath. The trail on this granite mountain is cement steps, about the same size and shape as those in your house. There are over 400 hundred steps.The views from the rest area along the trail and top are outstanding. The clearlier the air day the farther you can see. Seems to me the best time would be in the morning before the heat begins to create the haze that sometimes comes in. If you stay within the confines of the railing, this is a very safe trail, and is a lot of fun with a partner or two. Everyone should attempt this trek while they are in Sequoia National Park. There are tours from time to time to see the stars from the top of Moro Rock, and these must be spectacular, and I.m going on the next one.

    dennis93277's ratings for this hike: dennis93277 gives a rating of 4dennis93277 gives a rating of 4dennis93277 gives a rating of 4dennis93277 gives a rating of 4dennis93277 gives a rating of 4
  6. Ken Lockwood wrote:

    Yesterday, 2-9-16, was the clearest and most pristine day we can remember where we live about 20 miles SE of Fresno. Shortly before sunset the lighting provided by sun and clouds set off each layer of foothills and Sierra crest in distinct clarity. Studying the view with awe, I suddenly realized that I was looking right at the top half of Moro Rock, in full sun, just beyond a ridge that was in the shadow of a lone cloud! A first time for us here on the ranch. The spires to the south, and across the Kaweah Canyon, stood out in bold relief, too. Wow! The Rock is in our “back yard” and we had not seen it.

  7. […] doing some climbing in Sequoia, but decided to continue on to Yosemite. But, we did venture up Moro Rock and were treated to some incredible […]

  8. Julia wrote:

    Is it possible to climb there with 1 year old baby sitting in baby carrier?

    • Squiddles wrote:

      Yes, as long as you don’t smash your kids head on a overhanging rock.

  9. Robert Boe wrote:

    Try climbing up there in the middle of winter! I did, with several of my stupid friends! I was scared S&*TLESS! There was only about 6 inches of hand rail showing and that drop to your death weighed heavy on my mind at the time!

  10. […] close to the action, we made the most of our two days here as we walked among the giant trees, hiked up giant rocks, and saw bears (from afar, my preferred viewing […]

  11. Evelyn Smith wrote:

    How is Moro Rock accessed: by car or only by shuttle?
    If shuttle, what are shuttle times?

  12. […] Ironic, isn’t it? It was neat to check out, and then afterwards, it’s a quick drive to get to Moro Rock, the granite behemoth that somebody thought would be fun to climb. It actually is climbable and has […]

  13. olivia wrote:

    has so pretty veiws

  14. Kelly Cannon wrote:

    I’d like to do some late-night astrophotography from Moro Rock this summer. Does anyone know if there are restrictions on when you can be up there? Something like “everyone must be off Moro Rock by sunset or 8pm or whatever”?

  15. Deysi wrote:

    Hello do you need a wilderness permit to hike to Moro Rock?

  16. Seema wrote:

    Not much of a hiker, but your article and pictures are inspiring me to go for it

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