Potato Chip Rock hike on Mount Woodson Trail via Lake Poway

San Diego, CA offers a variety of stunning hiking trails – not least among them is the Mount Woodson trail leading to Potato Chip Rock. Nestled within the picturesque confines of Lake Poway, this trail promises an invigorating adventure for hikers of varying skill levels.

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Trailhead Information and Facilities

Situated in the heart of Poway, the Mount Woodson trailhead starts at the Lake Poway parking lot. It is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to sunset. This popular destination offers ample parking, but note that non-residents of Poway may incur a small fee on weekends and holidays. Poway locals, however, enjoy free access.

To secure a spot, arriving early in the morning is advised. If the parking lot is full, additional street parking is available nearby. Facilities located near the trailhead include restrooms, a general store, and picnic tables, providing a comfortable starting point for your adventure.

About the Potato Chip Rock Hike

The Mount Woodson trail is a testament to nature’s artistry. Its varied topography presents a captivating blend of hills, valleys, and rocky terrain, offering a diverse and visually engaging experience. The trail is rated as moderately difficult and spans approximately 7.25 miles round-trip, ascending to a peak elevation of 2,901 feet with an elevation gain of 2,300 feet.

While this hike is a fantastic challenge for avid outdoor enthusiasts, it’s also accessible to a range of hikers, making it suitable for families and individuals alike. The trail is open year-round, but for a more comfortable experience, tackle it early in the day to avoid the heat from late spring through fall. And, good news for our furry friends – dogs are welcome on a leash.

Hiking Mount Woodson Trail to Potato Chip Rock

Embarking on the Mount Woodson trail promises a thrilling journey through nature’s wonders. The path starts with a brisk ascent up a hill, setting the tone for the adventure ahead.

Navigating the trail is a breeze, with clear markers and intersections. For an even smoother experience, consider downloading a trail map or using a hiking app on your smartphone.

What to Expect on the Trail

The Mount Woodson trail is as diverse as it is beautiful. Its rocky and occasionally steep terrain suggests sturdy footwear, ensuring a safe and enjoyable hike. As with any outdoor adventure, it’s imperative to be well-prepared. Pack plenty of water and energy-boosting snacks, and don’t forget the sunscreen.

While hiking, keep an eye out for local wildlife and the remarkable flora that graces the landscape. And, of course, the pièce de résistance, Potato Chip Rock, awaits at the peak. This iconic rock formation, shaped like its namesake, offers a unique photo opportunity and a memory to cherish.

As you ascend, the trail rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views that stretch from the mountains to the ocean. On clear days, Downtown San Diego, Point Loma, Mt. Soledad, and even the mighty Pacific Ocean appear, ensuring an unforgettable experience.

Embark on this adventure and let the Mount Woodson trail and Potato Chip Rock leave an indelible mark on your outdoor journey. Remember, nature’s wonders await just a short drive from the heart of San Diego.

When to Go

  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Winter

What to Bring & Wear

  • Sunscreen & hat
  • At least two liters of water
  • Hiking shoes or boots with plenty of traction