Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park

Distance: .4 miles (2/3 km) one way to the summit
Elevation: 6,400 - 6,700 ft.
Difficulty: Moderate
Time: 20-30 minutes (not including stops for rest or picture taking)

Easy access to marvelous mountain views with the feeling of climbing a mountain peak without the danger--the Moro Rock Staircase offers park visitors a memorable introduction to the Southern Sierra. Moro Rock is a prominent granite dome located in the center of Sequoia National Park between Giant Forest and Crescent Meadow. A 400-step stairway, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, enables park visitors to hike to the top. The stairway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The splendid view from the top of the rock encompasses much of the park's western side, including the Great Western Divide. The observation area on top of the rock has an elevation of 6,725 feet (2,050 m).

Moro Rock is a dome-shaped granite monolith. Common in the Sierra Nevada, these domes gradually form through a process called exfoliation, the progressive shedding of sheets of rock layers. Outward expansion of the granite happens when the rock that once capped the granite has eroded away and the granite slowly expands. Fractures that form during exfoliation tend to cut corners. This results in a rounded, dome-like form.

The parking area for Moro Rock is 2 miles from the Giant Forest Museum. A steep 1/4 mile staircase climbs over 300 feet (91 meters) to the summit of the granite dome. From the top, you will have spectacular views of the western half of Sequoia National Park and the Great Western Divide--a chain of mountains running north/south through the center of Sequoia National Park. Because many of the snow-capped peaks in the Great Western Divide reach altitudes of 12,000 feet (3,657 meters) or higher, it is unfortunately impossible to see over them to view Mt. Whitney from Moro Rock. The summit of Alta Peak, a strenuous 7-mile hike from the Wolverton picnic area, is the closest place from which to see Mt. Whitney.

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Latitude: 36.546053 Longitude: -118.756714 Elevation: 6110 ft

Vertical Gain or Loss

Elevation Gain: 300 feet

Trail Distance

Distance: 1/4 mile (2/3 km)

Eco-Friendly Notes

This trail traverses land managed as wilderness where natural processes are allowed to unfold. Please use Leave No Trace principles when hiking this trail.

ADA Accessibility Notes

This is a dirt trail, which is narrow and winding. It may be steep, slippery, wet, and rocky in some areas and will not accommodate wheelchairs, strollers, or bicycles.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are not permitted on any trails within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, but are allowed 100 feet from roads in developed areas (picnic areas, campgrounds, and roads). Where allowed, pets must be on leashes no longer than 6 feet in length. Never leave pets in cars when it is warm, or they overheat quickly. Pets must not be left unattended in the parking area or in vehicles.


Climbing the Moro Rock Stairway is an unforgettable experience for the whole family. My father-in-law made it to the top in his 80s. He was thrilled. There are also wonderful programs on the Rock on full moon nights in the summer. Fabulous spot for contemplating sunset and moonrise. Note, however, that the amazing stairway that makes the Moro Rock summit so accessible was not built by the CCC (although a number of structures in the park were constructed by the CCC); the stairway was designed and built by the National Park Service. Read the remarkable story of this historic stairway at

Laurie Schwaller, 2/10/2015

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