• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

Dog Friendly
Scenic

Photograph and see the famous "Potato Chip rock" from the East approach with amazing view and great night sky photography. The best part, no permit required!

Mount Woodson is a well know hiking trail in San Diego County. It is know for its breath taking views and the famous potato chip rock. The Trail on the east side of the Mountain is fairly steep but is about half the distance of the trail on the west side of the mountain. To get to the trail on the east side of the mountain, from Poway Road turn left onto highway 67 and head north until you reach the Mount Woodson fire station. Park in the pullout on the west side of the highway, where you will most likely see other cars. From there you will take the trail along the side of the road. Follow the trail for about 5 minutes until it turns into a paved road, which is fairly smooth. You will then be on the old fire road and starting your way up the mountain.

On your way up the trail there are huge boulders on both sides of the road where you can watch people rock climb. As you keep going farther up, the boulders get larger and the road gets steeper. There are plenty of spots on the way up where you can take a break and enjoy views of Poway and Ramona. Once you have reached the top of the mountain, you will see a field of antennas. Stay on the road and walk past the antennas, after that the road will turn back into a dirt trail and you will be going back down hill. Follow this trail for about a minute until it starts to level out, and you will then be at potato chip rock and overlooking Poway. There are other trails you can take from this spot and explore that have some awesome rock formations. Overall, the Mount Woodson old fire road is a great trail if you are low on time, want an amazing view and do not mind a little leg burn.

Pack List

  • Lots of water
  • Camera
  • Snacks
  • Hiking or running shoes
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Headlamp
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

Steep but good hike. Great view! I've done it twice now. Solid hike

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

The hike is along a unimproved road more or less to the top. Good for a burst of endurance hill run. However, there are crowds of people that hike from this side making much less desirable then it used to be. Parking can be dangerous as well along the busy 67.

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

I'm a frequent visitor to Woodson, but until about a week ago I had yet to give the east route a try. I arrived on the summit early enough this time that I thought I could make it down and back up the east side quick enough to beat the heat. It was a serious challenge, but I did manage to beat the heat. The views are amazing and offer a completely different perspective of Iron Mountain. You also get an unobstructed view of the mountains to the east, views that are difficult to get from the summit. Not for the feint of hear, regardless of the approach you choose, but if you're training for endurance, do the out-and-back loop from one end to the other. You'll end up with a 12.5 mile quad busting round trip hike that will put just about anything else in the city of San Diego to shame.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

3 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

4 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

5 Saves