Hiker cited for illegal rock climbing in Californian nature reserve

Morro Rock, California, with reflection in water
(Image credit: Getty)

A hiker was given a citation after being spotted illegally climbing Morro Rock on California's Pacific Coast.

Morro Rock is a nature preserve with nesting peregrine falcons, and a site of cultural importance to Native Americans. The rock itself is all that remains of an extinct volcano, and with a summit of 581ft it can be a tempting target for climbers, but tacking on the mount of granite is forbidden by law.

As KSBY reports, emergency responders received a 911 call on Friday August 5 from a member of the public concerned that there may be a person in distress on the rock. When fire services arrived, the found a woman who explained that she was not in any difficulty, and merely sightseeing.

She was escorted down and given a citation for trespassing on state property and ignoring warning signs all around the area.

Not climbable

"I know she's not from this area but there's signs everywhere that say 'don't climb the rock," said Matt Vierra, division chief of Morro Bay Fire Department. "It's a natural reserve, so it's endangered species. That's one of the main reasons we don't want anybody up there."

"It's not climbable. There's no trails... you can get lost very easily, you can get injured very easily," Vierra added. "It's close to 600 feet so that's a long fall, so do not climb the rock – at all."

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.