Hike Mount Woodson & Potato Chip Rock

Mount Woodson Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Dane

This can take anywhere from 4-6 hrs. depending on how much you rest/ take photos. Visit the famous "potato chip" rock formation with amazing views of all of San Diego.

Mt. Woodson is located in Poway's most eastern region and is one of San Diego's most popular and most iconic hiking trails. Known for its grand photo opportunistic "Potato Chip Rock", Mt. Woodson is a 7.5mi out-and-back trail with amazing vistas, convenient rest stops and breathtaking views.

The trailhead begins at Poway Lake & Park (open 6:00am-5:00pm) and the parking fee is $5.00 to enter. The park is extremely clean with picnic tables, shady trees, restrooms and an adequate amount of parking spaces. From the parking lot to the top is roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes.The hike begins near the south east side of the park on a wide flat dirt trail horseshoeing east around the lake. For the first half of the hike you will find portable restrooms and trash cans every 1/4 mi which are great for families or tossing doggy bags.

The climb begins around mile 1.5, where there are rigid, steep switchbacks consistently until the halfway point. The reason I love this trail is for its physical challenges! There are signs posted along the trail, making it very easy to follow. Once you make it to the top, enjoy the famous Potato Chip Rock and its incredible views.

I would like to note that weekends can get pretty crowded, which leads to a line forming to see the rock. I recommend coming on a weekday where you can expect to see 5-10 people total.

Distance

7.5 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

900 ft Gain

Type

Out-and-Back

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Food Nearby
Groups
Lake
Scenic

Nearby Lodging

San Diego Metro KOA

Chula Vista, California

Temecula / Vail Lake KOA

Temecula, California

Banning Stagecoach KOA

Banning, California

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. We also acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great Local Hike

Mt Woodson offers a great workout with beautiful views. One can park on the frwy side to hike at night - great views!

Sunrise Hike

I did this as a sunrise hike. The sun was coming up at 6:30am that day, and we weren't able to get into the park until around 5:45 (it officially opens at 6am). Needless to say, we had to move quickly. We just missed the official sunrise, but we reached he summit at around 6:45 and still had a pretty awesome morning view. It's definitely more difficult than most people will lead you to believe, as I've seen a lot of out of shape friends pose on the famous rock. If you're going specifically for the rock, it's a bit underwhelming, in my opinion.

My favorite hike for training

I love the hike to Woodson's Summit. One of the toughest hikes in the city, and also one of the most rewarding. I've been hiking Woodson since 2009 and have yet to have my picture taken on the chip. I'd rather slip past the crowds and shoot pics from the real summit a couple of hundred yards further up the hill.

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