The road to Moro Rock is closed in winter, so visitors need to hike 2 miles to reach the viewpoint. The road is open in summer so the hike is shortened. The 1996 general plan for the park calls for the road to Moro to be closed, and replaced by a shuttle. As of June 2012, the road is open to general traffic only during weekdays; on weekends, the shuttle is running and the road is closed to general traffic. The west face of Moro Rock offers 1,000 vertical feet of cracks and knobs for rock climbing. However, climbing is prohibited during peregrine falcon nesting season.
Moro Rock is a dome-shaped granite monolith. Common in the Sierra Nevada, these domes form by exfoliation, the spalling or casting off in scales, plates, or sheets of rock layers on otherwise unjointed granite. Outward expansion of the granite results in exfoliations. Expansion results from load relief; when the overburden that once capped the granite has eroded away, the source of compression is removed and the granite slowly expands. Fractures that form during exfoliation tend to cut corners. This ultimately results in rounded dome-like forms.
The first stairway leading to the summit of Moro Rock was constructed of wood and installed in 1917. This stairway deteriorated significantly by the late 1920s, and was replaced in 1931 by the present Moro Rock Stairway. Unlike the earlier stairway, the new stairway adopted a design policy of blending with the natural surfaces to the greatest extent possible. The 797-foot-long stairway was designed by National Park Service landscape architect Merel S. Sager and engineer Frank Diehl, following natural ledges and crevices. It has 400 steps that lead to the summit of Moro Rock. Changes since the original construction have impaired the integrity of the design.