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Morro Rock Walking Tour, CA

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Rated  Favorite Wish List CA > Central Coast
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Distance One Way 3.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 8 feet
Interest Historic & Perennial Creek
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
151  2014-08-18
Big Sur Coastline - August 2014
7  2013-01-08 PatrickL
4  2011-05-21 Randal_Schulhaus
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Nov, Apr
Sun  5:48am - 6:06pm
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From The Cloisters to Morro Rock is 3.2 miles round trip

Morro Rock could have served as inspiration for that old 1960s' Simon and Garfunkel tune with the "I am a rock, I am an island," refrain. Indeed, Morro Rock was an island located about 1,000 feet offshore until the late 1800s when harbor-makers started expanding Morro Bay's entrance and sand shoals began piling up between the rock and mainland.

As a result of such tidal tampering, Morro Rock became part of what geographers call a tombolo, a sand spit that connects an island to the main?land. (Pt. Sur Light Station on the rugged Big Sur coast is perched on the Central Coast's other famed tombolo.)

Morro is a slimmer and trimmer rock than the great rounded dome explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo named "El Moro" when he sailed by in 1542. Morro is missing a million tons or so of basaltic rock-the result of quarrying operations that took place from the 1880s until 1969 when the rock was declared a state park preserve. Most of the rock removed from Morro was used to construct breakwaters at Morro Bay and San Luis Bay.

Morro Strand offers the beach hiker an altogether different perspective on Morro Rock than the usual postcard view from Morro Bay. As viewed from the south, Morro Rock is part of busy scene that includes the harbor, a shoreline powerplant and the town of Morro Bay. From a viewpoint to the north, the "Gibraltar of the Pacific" appears much more solitary, more island-like. From this angle, it's easy to imagine Morro's past life as an undersea volcano.

Morro Bay attracts flocks of migratory waterfowl in the winter including ruddy ducks, widgeons, buffleheads, pintails. Scores of grebes, loons, terns and black brants (small geese that fly in from northern Canada) also winter here. This hike begins at a particularly intriguing trailhead called The Cloisters, a combination wetland, small housing development and city park that's sand?wiched between Coast Highway and the low dunes back of Morro Strand State Beach. Wildlife experts, landscape architects and park officials teamed to create a pond and related "natural" habitats designed to attract a variety of birds. The developer of The Cloisters was required to make these unusual environmental efforts in order to build on adjacent property.

Learn more about The Cloisters via an asphalt trail that encircles the wetlands and some interpretive signs. Other trails link The Cloisters to the beach.

Hike: From the developed part of the park with the children's play?ground, walk oceanward toward the low dunes and join a boardwalk path. (Detour briefly north if you wish and learn about The Cloisters wetland from some interpretive signs.) This walk heads south alongside the dunes. The path, a boardwalk, curves through the dunes and deadends on the beach. Head south down the beach toward mighty Morro Rock.

When you're hiking down-coast, the massive Morro Bay Power Plant is nearly as dominating a presence as Morro Rock. When in operation, the plant, located just inland from Morro Rock, generates electricity with oil-fired turbines that convert ocean water to steam.

Your trail is a broad, sandy beach formerly called Atascadero ("the mud-flats" in Spanish) State Beach. A few years back state park officials renamed it Morro Strand. The state beach is bisected into northern and southern sec?tions by a campground located a half mile north of The Cloisters.

Some surf fishers, surfers and clammers know about this beach, but not many. You might find yourself accompanied only by your thoughts as you meander Morro Strand.

Trail's end is the base of Morro Rock. Coleman City Park, located just inland from the rock, offers some picnic tables.

On your return, savor the views of the Santa Lucia Mountains that seem to curve with the coast toward Big Sur

Check out the Triplogs.

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2011-05-25 HAZ_Hikebot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Morro Rock Walking Tour
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Big Sur Coastline - August 2014
    Big Sur Coastline - August 2014
    FitBit totals = 49.08 miles, 2040 AEG (204 floors)

    I’ve had a couple of previous opportunities to visit the Big Sur Coastline of California. Pacific Coast Highway return trip home after Hannah's wedding in Oregon :next: required a definite redux in the Big Sur area. I also had a chance to visit during a July business trip to Cupertino :next: profile.php?u=5929&ID=46#T__105602_______1

    With my August participation with a medical team in Leh Ladakh Kashmir India pushed out to October, had an opportunity to take my wife on a 30th wedding anniversary wish to the "Big Sur Coastline"...

    Some things to consider;

    1. Big Sur beaches :next:
    2. Kayaking in Monterey ? :next: ... /kayaking/
    3. Monterey Bay Aquarium :next:
    4. Whale spotting along Big Sur Coast
    5. Giant redwood hike
    6. Big Sur history :next:
    7. Dogs are pretty much NOT welcome anywhere in Big Sur...


    Mon 8/18 - Ahwatukee AZ to Marriott base camp #1 in Monterey CA :next: ... -marriott/
    709 miles, 10 hours 25 minutes per Google Maps Confirmation 88321895, 80,000 points Monterey Marriott
    350 Calle Principal, Monterey CA, 93940

    Tue 8/19 - explore Monterey CA
    Monterey Aquarium :next:
    Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail :next:
    Shoreline Stroll Trail :next:
    Should consider Point Lobos State Reserve, North Shore Trail :next:

    Wed 8/20 - Monterey to Glen Oaks base camp #2 along Big Sur River in the redwood forest :next:
    30 miles, 0 hours 44minutes per Google Maps Confirmation P433714A6627, $249.62 pre-paid on Visa Glen Oaks Big Sur Highway One, Big Sur, CA 93920 Hiking in Big Sur :next: The "must see trails" :next:
    McWay Waterfall Trail :next:
    Ewoldsen Redwoods Trail :next:
    Partington Cove Trail :next:

    Thu 8/21 - Glen Oaks Big Sur to Avila Beach Lighthouse Suites base camp #3 :next:
    116 miles, 2 hours 45 minutes per Google Maps Confirmation 211148994, $398.60 Avila Beach Lighthouse Suites
    550 Front Street, Avila Beach CA, 93424

    Fri 8/22 - Avila Beach CA to Ahwatukee AZ
    575 miles, 8 hours 37 minutes per Google Maps Avila Beach Walking Tour :next:


    Mon 8/18 - Ahwatukee AZ to Marriott base camp #1 in Monterey CA :next: ... -marriott/
    Arrived at base camp dinner time-ish by the ocean shore to a foggy Monterey Bay where I joined onto Hwy 1, Pacific Coast Highway.
    Ok, so it really took almost 12 hours door-to-door. Stopped in a surprisingly active oil field near I-5 and CA46. Lost Hill Oil Well purchase :next:
    Walked Fisherman's Wharf and Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail out to Lover's Point :next:
    Also saw cleanup from the weekend vintage car auction :next: ... eCode=MO14 Amazing to see six-figure cars all stored outside in the sea-mist waiting for pick-up! Finished up walking the dunes and shoreline trails and over to Laguna Park :next: and

    Fitbit Totals = 9.37 miles and 150 AEG

    Tue 8/19 - explore Monterey CA
    We picked up our Monterey Bay Aquarium passes at the front desk of the Marriott Hotel the night before. Pass is good for 2 consecutive days creating multiple options for us.
    The Aquarium is awesome - hard to improve upon. Loved the modern blend of functional architecture with local history - the entire building is an ode to local cannery row lore. As each hour passed at the Aquarium, the crowd multiplied. We decided to check out for lunch. The Cannery Row Brewing Company was noted on the morning walk from the hotel to the aquarium. Much to my disappointment this is not a brewery. Although some craft brews are on tap, none were local (unless you call San Diego local for Monterey) :next:
    This area could be called "ground zero" for John Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" :next:
    Lynn and I then headed to another "brew pub", Peter B's Brew Pub :next:
    Crap, it doesn't open until 4pm daily. Ok, we had to settle for the faux English Pub (Crown & Anchor Monterey) across the road from the Marriott :next: Whale Watching up next from Fisherman's Wharf. The Princess Monterey took us to the Monterey Canyon off Moss Landing where we saw a couple dozen humpback whale breaches and many more surface grazings! Monterey Canyon is reported to be the undersea equivalent of the Grand Canyon matching depth and length and provides the diverse ecosystem to support the abundant marine life found in Monterey Bay :next: and After dinner walk out to Point Pinos Lighthouse :next: and
    Rooftop night long exposure shots? Did that plus a few around Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. Wrapped up catching last call at Peter B's Brew Pub - excellent cherrywood barrel aged porter and buffalo chili topped with Monterey Jack cheese (of course).

    Fitbit Totals = 10.90 miles and 260 AEG

    Wed 8/20 - Monterey to Glen Oaks base camp #2 along Big Sur River in the redwood forest.
    Morning redux of Monterey Bay Aquarium (pass is good for 2 consecutive days). After pulling out base camp #1, headed out 17 mile scenic drive from Point Pinos Lighthouse to Spanish Bay to Pebble Beach to Carmel-By-The-Sea. ... alifornia/ and and ... -drive.pdf Search for the "Lone Monterey Cypress :next:
    Also need to find the pullout between Carmel and Rocky Creek Bridge for tide pool exploration :next: and ... 2&Z=15&M=6 (found it! - dubbed this a new HAZ mini-description "Big Sur Coastline - Malpaso Creek to Soberanes Creek"). Poked in the tide pools - almost like an extension of the touch pools at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Stopped at Garrapata State Park Beach :next: ... beach.html Access from the west side of Hwy 1. There is a fairly new set of wooden stairs leading to the beach. The surf is considered hazardous here and we could see why with some spectacular waves hitting the shores today! Did the obligatory stop at Bixby Bridge and headed non-stop to base camp #2. Checked into room 15 at Glen Oaks in Village of Big Sur to establish base camp #2. Settled in and then hiked down to the redwood grove beside Big Sur River.

    Fitbit Totals = 11.10 miles and 530 AEG

    Thu 8/21 - Glen Oaks Big Sur to Avila Beach Lighthouse Suites base camp #3 Checked out Pfeifer Big Sur State Park (north) and Julia Pfeifer Burns State Park (south) :next: and ... ut2013.pdf
    Note that these are two different parks albeit reasonably close together. 2008 Basin Fire has closed many of the trails in the north park, so we headed south. First stop of the day was in a Hwy 1 pullout because Lynn thought she saw whales - turns out plural was very correct as we saw about a dozen humpbacks in coordinated feeding mode. This would mark just the beginning of our whale sightings for the day. Think every stop today that had an ocean view that featured whale sightings!
    Partington Cove Trail :next:
    McWay Waterfall Trail :next:
    Ewoldsen Redwoods Trail :next:
    Mill Creek picnic lunch (after $20+ purchase at Lucia General store) :next:
    Pacific Valley Beach - IMO this was the best beach along Big Sur Coastline (Orca sighting topped it off! Throw in some dolphins for extra measure...). Although this was our first visit to this beach, there was an “air of familiarity” to this beach. Don’t know why – location for commercials/movie scenes perhaps?
    Pacific Valley Beach (just north of Pacific Valley Flats noted on HAZ) :next: and
    Sand Dollar Beach :next:
    For what we originally thought was Sand Dollar Beach, turned out to be Point Sierra Nevada Beach (part of San Simeon State Park) :next: ... re2009.pdf
    Elephant Seal Vista provided multiple wildlife options with some Blue Whales offshore and the namesake Elephant Seals on the beach :next:
    Drove through San Simeon and stopped at the local beach before heading to Morro Bay.
    Morro Rock Vista :next:
    After establishing base camp #3, did an evening stroll of Avila Beach. Avila Beach walking tour :next:

    Fitbit Totals = 12.49 miles and 1050 AEG

    Fri 8/22 - Avila Beach Lighthouse Suites base camp #3 to Ahwatukee AZ Morning walk on the beach followed by a leisurely breakfast on our oceanfront patio before the 600 mile sprint home. It was very fitting that a giant sea weasel (aka sea otter) made an appearance in the Avila Beach surf just as we were wrapping up our walk before heading home.

    Monday = 9.37 miles, 150 AEG (15 floors)
    Tuesday = 10.91 miles, 260 AEG (26 floors)
    Wednesday = 11.10 miles, 530 AEG (53 floors)
    Thursday = 12.56 miles and 1050 AEG (105 floors)
    Friday = 5.14 miles and 50 AEG (5 floors)
    TOTALS = 49.08 miles and 2040 AEG


    1. HAZ Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail :next:
    2. HAZ Shoreline Stroll Trail :next:
    3. HAZ Laguna Grand Park :next:
    4. Point Pinos Lighthouse :next:
    5. HAZ 17 Mile Scenic Drive :next:
    6. HAZ Spanish Bay to Bird Rock Trail :next:
    7. HAZ Point Joe to Bird Rock Trail :next:
    8. HAZ Big Sur Coastline - Malpaso Creek to Soberanes Creek :next: http://hikearizona.comr/decoder=19517
    9. HAZ Garrapata Beach :next:
    10. HAZ Bixby Bridge - Big Sur Coastline :next:
    11. HAZ Glen Oaks Big Sur Redwood Grove Loop :next:
    12. HAZ Partington Cove Trail :next:
    13. HAZ Ewoldsen Redwoods Trail :next:
    14. HAZ McWay Waterfall Trail :next:
    15. HAZ Mill Creek Picnic Area :next:
    16. HAZ Pacific Valley Beach :next:
    17. HAZ Sand Dollar Beach :next:
    18. HAZ Point Sierra Nevada Beach :next:
    19. HAZ Elephant Seal Vista :next:
    20. HAZ San Simeon Bay Beach :next:
    21. HAZ Morro Rock :next:
    22. HAZ Avila Beach :next:

    I'll post some photos when I get the chance. Enjoy! :)
    121 on iPhone
    297 on 6D
    214 on 7D
    42 on Rebel XT
    TOTALS = 674

    Sent from my iPad
    Morro Rock Walking Tour
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Thwarted in our attempt to check out the Mission at San Luis Obispo, Lynn and I continued north along the Pacific Coast Highway to check out Morro Rock. Quite a contrast from the sheltered bay at Avila Beach - waves are crashing onto the beach in all directions, winds are whipping sand into your face, and warning signs about recent shark attack and rip tides are keeping everyone out of the water!

    Permit $$
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    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Highway 1, about two miles north of "downtown" Morro Bay, turn west on San Jacinto Street then bear south through a small subdivision to the parking lot.
    page created by Randal_Schulhauser on May 25 2011 7:49 pm
    3 pack - loud whistle
    go prepared
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