Famous Landmark: Morro Rock

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Staying at The Morgan? Never been to the San Simeon area, and looking for local landmarks to visit? You must see Morro Rock, a 581-foot volcanic plug located just offshore from Morro Bay, California, at the entrance to Morro Bay Harbor.


Formed about 23 million years ago from the plugs of long-extinct volcanoes, Morro Rock is best known of the Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, a series of ancient volcanic plugs that line the Los Osos Valley between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. Standing at approximately 576-feet tall, which made it the most visible of the nine peaks, the rock was an important navigational aid for mariners. Portuguese explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo first charted the rock in 1542 and named it “El Morro.” “Morro” is the Spanish word for crown.


From 1889 to 1969, Morro Rock was mined on and off, and provided material for the breakwater of Morro Bay and Port San Luis Harbor. In 1966, a bill was introduced which transferred the full title to the State of California. In 1968, the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society and the City of Morro Bay succeeded in having the rock declared California Historical Landmark #821. Since then, the rock has been designated a bird sanctuary for the Peregrine Falcon and other bird species.


Disturbing the bird life or climbing on “The Rock,”—as locals call it—is forbidden by law. While the rock itself is closed to public access, locals and tourists alike can take beautiful sunset pictures of it or pull out their binoculars and watch the wildlife that nest on it.


*Photo from www.treknature.com


About Morro Rock Beach

Morro Rock is a beautiful Northern California Beach with a rough ocean environment and sandy dunes. This park/beach is often used for commercial shoots, weddings and festivals. During the summer months, from roughly Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Morro Bay Harbor Department staffs two lifeguard towers on the City Beach. Lifeguards are on duty from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and beachgoers are always encouraged to consult them before entering the water. Always swim near a lifeguard. All dogs must be on-leash within City limits. No open fires or fireworks are allowed. The Sandspit and Morro Strand State Beach have sensitive Snowy Plover nesting areas that are fenced during nesting season to protect their habitat. (Source: City of Morro Bay Official Website)






Location: Morro Bay, California

Range: Santa Lucia Range

Type: Volcanic plus

Age: c. 23 million years

Volcanic arc/belt: Nine Sisters

Designated: January 1, 1968




The Morgan

A boutique jewel nestled along California’s scenic Central Coast, The Morgan welcomes you with a warmth and personality all its own. As the favorite choice in Hearst Castle hotels, The Morgan at San Simeon is located only 4 miles from the Visitor Center. 9135 Hearst Drive, San Simeon, CA 93452. 805-927-3878.