Distance: .4 miles (2/3 km) one way to the summit
Elevation: 6,400 - 6,700 ft.
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.