Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson Trail

MODERATE 589 reviews
#1 of 5 trails in

Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson Trail is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Poway, CA that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

6.9 miles 2077 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

walking

lake

views

wildlife

Mt Woodson offers breathtaking vistas along the hike from Lake Poway. This hike is moderately strenuous, and easy to access due to its convenient location. The trail is very steep and narrow in some places, but well marked and maintained most of the way until the last 1/2 hour to the top. In the summer, be sure to take enough water, it gets extremely hot and dry! The views to the ocean and to Palomar Mountain to the East are worth the effort. Consider bringing a picnic for the top or when getting back to Lake Poway. There is a shorter but steeper way to the top, via highway 67 that is paved and well maintained, but less often travelled.

hiking
2 days ago

A great challenging hike for me and my dog...the weather was perfect! Bits of sun popping out and some cold breezes to cool you off. Great views, brutal stairs near the top and of course the infamous Potato Chip Rock...

hiking
2 days ago

Tough hike for a beginner. But the views are worth it. Hiked to the summit of Mt. Woodson. Started around 630am on a Monday. Not a lot of people until around 9am. Potato chip rock wasn't crowded at all. Had a snack and took a few photos. Then hiked down and did the rest of The Lake Poway trail. Tips: Bring lots of water and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Overall a great experience and I'm looking forward to doing it again.

3 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

I finally got to hike Mt Woodson and it didn't disappoint! Chose the perfect morning to hike as it was a super clear (cold!) morning and we could see all the way to the ocean as well as spot Catalina island! We started at 6:30am on a Saturday morning and surprisingly there was not a line at the top for Potato Chip rock. Coming down was when the masses of people were coming up! I recommend starting right when the gates open, which is at 6am. Great hike!

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike. Went up on a Friday during the middle of the day. There was 1 group of 2 people at Potato Chip, no line. It can happen. Great views and amazing scenery.

hiking
7 days ago

Awesome hike with great views along the way and at the top! Lake Poway is beautiful. Didn't even have to wait to take a photo on the rock! Going down is definitely easier.

9 days ago

backpacking
12 days ago

tougher than I thought! I was wearing a 35# pack and I must admit I was surprised at how challenging it was.
but, really pretty route with great rock outcroppings and giant builders, plants, birds, etc.
did not take the obligatory chip photo but whatever!

hiking
12 days ago

This hike was awesome. Be sure and bring lots of water as this is a pretty intense vert hike. It's labeled as moderate but I would say it's a little bit above moderate. I left at 6:30AM and reached the top to take cool pics on the chip with very little people waiting around. Good luck & Have fun!

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful hike. It took about two hours to get to the top, and an hour to get down. There was quite a long line at the potato chip at 11:00 A.M., so we skipped photos there. Take plenty of water...we finished 2 liters each by the time we returned to the parking lot.

14 days ago

14 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Great hike. Took three kids 8, 11, and 13 and we made it up and down in under 4 hours. The potato chip rock had a big line, so we went to the summit and had a snack on rock with a view instead.

hiking
17 days ago

This hike inspired me to buy a camelback. Be sure to hydrate the day before as well. Go early. Bring a solid companion.

hiking
17 days ago

long and stiff hike.. bring lots of water..!

hiking
17 days ago

it's a long and stiff hike. bring lots of water..

hiking
17 days ago

I was surprised at how well maintained the trail was considering the high traffic. A little over an hour wait for the pic on the chip. lots of tourists.

hiking
17 days ago

An excellent trail and certainly never really let's you rest. Most of It is steep uphill. Somewhat short but the steepness will make you feel other wise. There was a line at the rock, but everyone is very welcoming up there. I even saw a marriage proposal up there, great exercise and fun.

hiking
18 days ago

Great Hike be prepared to have at least 2 liters per person to be safe. It was a very strenuous hike as soon as you start going up the last 30 minutes. Hydrate hydrate hydrate the day prior