Saturday, May 6, 2017

Sequoia National Park: The Giant Forest And Moro Rock Area

Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Kaweah Peaks Ridge

For this trip, it is best to enter Sequoia Park via the south gate. The park headquarters is located nearby. A helipad is also located there, which is often the beginning of search and rescue efforts in the park. I was flown from there to Crabtree Meadows to search for a missing day hiker attempting to summit Mt. Whitney. It takes about 1.5 hours to get to the south gate from Fresno taking Highway 99 south and 198 east through Visalia and Three Rivers. You pass the road to Mineral King, which is closed in the winter. It may be the slowest mountain drive I have ever experienced taking 90 minutes to go 23 miles. When the General’s Highway is fully open (there are winter closures that limit travel) one could take Highway 180 east from Fresno and shortly after entering the park head south on the General’s Highway.
This has been an excellent snow year and passing by Kaweah Lake, it appeared nearly full. The Kaweah River was also full and fast. There have already been two drowning’s in the park in the Kaweah River this year. The Kaweah River is about 60 miles in length and has five forks with the middle fork (main fork) headwaters at Precipice Lake (Hamilton Lakes).
Once in the park, the General’s Highway climbs north along the Kaweah River with several pullouts for beautiful views as you climb. You will also pass the entrance to Crystal Cave along the way, which is closed in winter. It is about 16 slow miles from the park entrance to the Giant Forest. The largest living thing, The General Sherman Giant Sequoia is located in this grove and it is a bit of a hike on a paved path to get there from the parking area with quite a climb back out!
Moro Rock parking is available nearby but when the tourist season begins, you will need to park your vehicle near the General’s Highway and take a bus in or hike a trail. I have taken a bus to Moro Rock and hiked the trail back to my vehicle.
It is about a mile round trip climb on stairs built into the rock. If you are afraid of heights or out of shape, this not an experience for you. Portions of the climb are quite exposed. It is a panorama but of the times I have been there, I don’t believe there has ever been a really clear view. Hazy skies are the norm unless it has recently rained. This is especially true looking west toward Kaweah Lake. The view east is lovely with the Kaweah Peaks Ridge prominent. If you can visit on a weekday, there will be less traffic.

Kaweah Lake With Moro Rock And Alta Peak Above

 Moro Rock From General's Highway
 Black Kaweah Center

Alta Peak

 General's Highway Below Moro Rock
Kaweah Lake In The Hazy Distance
 Kaweah River

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