Saturday, May 26, 2012

Morro Rock

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At the crack of dawn, loaded with excitement, we started on our 3 hour drive to San Luis Obispo County during the Memorial Day weekend. As we approached Morro Bay, we came upon the huge Morro Rock, one of the nine volcanic plugs in the SLO County. Being a small town with no tall buildings, one can see the Morro Rock from almost any part of the Morro Bay. We parked the car on Embarcadero along the ocean, took a short walk in the low key town and drove to the iconic Morro Rock.

  • Morro Rock (576 foot volcanic plug)
  • Beach to one side of Morro Rock
  • Sand spit to the other side of Morro rock, forming the Morro Bay
  • Seals, Sea lions, Sea Otters, Fish, Other marine creatures
  • Ground squirrels
  • Seagulls, Peregrine Falcons, Herons, Other birds
  • Water sport
  • Fishing 
  • Biking

More Info
  • Free admission
  • Free parking
  • Illegal for public to climb on the rock
  • No restrooms 
Morro Rock

The Morro Rock, one of the nine volcanic plugs or one of the nine sisters in the SLO County is sometimes called the “Gibraltor of the Pacific”. It was named El Morro, meaning Crown, by the Portuguese explorer Juan Cabrillo in 1542.

The Morro Rock was formed when lava hardens within a vent in an active volcano. Eventually, after volcanic eruption ceased and the orginal volcano eroded away, it left behind the hardened lava, which is now the Morro Rock.

We drove on the causeway that connects Morro Rock with the mainland and parked the car near the Rock. To one side of the Rock is a beach where we saw people surfing, boogie boarding and enjoying other water sports. The other side is the Morro Bay, formed by a sand spit. The Morro Rock is the entrance to the Morro Bay Harbor, which is a commercial shipping line and also popular among kayakers.

Sea Otters in Morro Bay

Just off the shore in the Morro Bay were teams of sea otters that grabbed everyone’s attention. We were all eyes on the moms cuddling their kids, carrying them around and performing all kinds of gimmicks. They were just so darn cute! We also noticed a seal trying to mingle with the sea otters and the baby otters making a shrill “wee” sound in apprehension as the seal came close to them.

Ground Squirrels

Another thing that captured our attention was the enormous number of bodacious squirrels. It was fun to see the squirrels run in and out of their holes and they were swarming like ants on the ground. I was taken aback to see how audaciously they come close to the visitors. Here is a video of a squirrel that I took with my cell phone. The beauty is that I did not zoom in (except for the last few seconds); it was that close to me.

We spent an hour here, sitting on one of the boulders by the Morro Bay, watching the squirrels, birds, sea otters and seals.

As we walked around the Morro Rock, we heard sharp, piercing sounds of birds on top of the Morro Rock and one of the people there mentioned that the birds were making alarm calls because they felt threatened. One of the visitors had an owl in his hand. Not sure how he got hold of it, but we took a picture of the nocturnal bird.


A part of the Morro Rock is not accessible and there are clear “Danger” signs posted in such places. 

Biking is very popular in the San Luis Obispo county; one can rent bikes and surreys on an hourly or daily basis. We rented a surrey from Farmer's Kites Surryes and More and biked to the Morro Rock. It is fun!

In addition to the beauty of the Morro Rock, Morro Bay and the sea life here, the geological formation of this volcanic plug makes this place all the more enchanting!

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