Morro Rock is located on the California central coast just west of the city of San Luis Obispo in Morro Bay. In the photo youíll see me sitting on the beach looking out to Morro Rock with a layer of thick fog covering the top. It is a volcanic plug, 576 feet high and the predominant feature of the bay and coast.
In past years Morro Rock was a surrounded by ocean, but since then a breakwater has been built connecting it to land. Climbing on Morro Rock is not permitted but walking at the base of the rock is allowed.
I walked out to the rock and it is indeed impressive to look up its steep craggy sides.
In my teens and twenties I enjoyed rock climbing and it was tempting to try to scale the side, at least a little way. This is strictly prohibited and fined.
Morro Rock is a protected nature preserve, home to the peregrine falcon. The whole of Morro Bay is a California Marine Reserve - wildlife are protected. While sitting still many seagulls flew low overhead and didnít seem afraid to land nearby, as if they know they are safe to do what they please.
Notice that I am huddled down on a piece of driftwood - it was cold. This was September and 5 miles inland where we had come from it was burning hot. The lesson is that when you set out to visit the coast take a light jacket or windbreaker along, even in summer.
To drive to Morro Rock and Morro Bay when coming from north or south take Rt. 101. In San Luis Obispo take CA. 1 N/Cabrillo Highway for about 13 miles to the coast. I used public parking right along the rocky coast. San Francisco is about 373 miles to the north and Los Angeles about 304 miles south. Fifty five miles north of Morro Rock on CA. 1 N/Cabrillo Highway is Hearst Castle - an interesting destination to take a tour.
One of the features I like about California is that just a few miles apart, like Morro Rock and San Luis Obispo you may find distinctive geographical features and micro climates - more extreme temperatures inland.
Traveling directions for reference
Rand McNally Road Atlas
Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap; Morro Rock in Morro Bay
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