An Adventure Among Giants
"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of time and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life." - John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (1838-1914)
Celebrating our 17 wedding anniversary, we decided to take an escape up to the mountains to enjoy the Sequoia National Park and have an Open Road 4Two adventure among giants. We hit the road before dusk, as we had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us. Since the park entrance gate has been known to be backed up for almost an hour, we wanted to be sure to arrive early. We highly recommend purchasing an America the Beautiful annual pass, we purchased ours through the My Scenic Drives website.
Once through the Ash Mountain park entrance, we made our way up the mountain. The drive is a switchback road, which takes approximately an hour or so, depending on how many stops you make along the way up. There are numerous pull outs along the way for photo opportunities or for those of you who get a little car sick.
We made our way to the Giant Forest Museum parking area to start our hike to Moro Rock. In the winter, Crescent Meadow Road, which leads up to the Moro Rock parking area closes due to weather. Therefore, you can hike up either via Crescent Meadow Road, or on the Moro Rock Trail. We decided to use the road and take the trail on the return trip for a total distance of approximately 5 miles roundtrip.
We were thankful that we were the only ones on the road. It was peaceful listening to the forest sounds all around us. The occasional woodpecker pecking, the wind rustling through the branches of the trees, it was then that we had a chance encounter with a young male mule deer.
There are so many beautiful sights to see along the road. We couldn't help but just stand in wonder of these beautiful giant sequoias. One in particular is the Booker T. Washington Tree which was originally dedicated to the influential author and educator back in 1903.
Once we made it to Moro Rock, we were greeted to a staircase. Be sure to check with the rangers if the staircase is open before hiking in, as it has been known to close due to ice. There are more than 350 steps that lead to the top of Moro Rock. If you are one who is scared of heights, this trail could be difficult to complete as there are several steep areas that can only be navigated single file. Breathing like Darth Vader, we made it to the top, and had the whole view to enjoy all to ourselves.
We had the views all to ourselves for about 30 min, enjoyed a quick snack and water break to prepare us for the trek back down. Even though this was a challenging hike, making it to the top was such an accomplishment and well worth every step of the way. For those of you who don't want to trek up the steep staircase, but would still like some amazing views, take the Hanging Rock trail. This trail is often less crowded and you get to enjoy some breathtaking scenery without any stairs!
We were looking forward to do some winter disperse camping in the national forest; however, due to the recent ordinances we had to change plans and booked a charming airbnb called Casita Del Rio. The host Pam was easy to communicate with and the unit was an absolute gem! Casita Del Rio is adult only and conveniently located 10 minutes to the park entrance.
Randy and I enjoyed our anniversary trip to Sequoia National Park and recommend you check out its amazing beauty. The mountains are such a healing place and being among these wonders, fuels the spirit and rejuvenates the soul.
For our full adventure, be sure to check out our YouTube video below. Better yet, subscribe to our channel (it's free) and join us on future Open Road 4Two adventures.
Until next time, we will see you down the Open Road!