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Fun hike

Easy to get to and very well maintained trail. First half is a wide, uphill path with the second half being a stepper trail up stones. There is a long line to take a photo at the top though. Got up in about an hour really pushing the pace.

I did this hike on 1/22/19. I started at 8:00am and it was about 40 degrees. The temperature at the peak was 35 and very sunny. About 1/3 of the way up, I started seeing specks of snow. By half way, was hiking completely in snow for the rest of the way up. It was only 3 inches deep max at the top but it was beautiful fluffy dry powder. The 360 degree views are great. I did the Mill Creek Trail a week prior and I would say Lightner Peak is better despite not having a creek. They both have similar mileage and elevation gain, but I felt Mill Creek Trail was harder because there were more ups and downs, whereas Lightner Peak was a more constant climb. There were a couple of downed trees that blocked the trail, but there was a clear path around them. The trail is very clearly defined for a majority of the hike, even when covered in snow. One exception was near the peak. I followed the trail without looking at my phone and realized that I missed the junction. I had to back track a little and then I saw a lightly defined junction that went uphill. Once I started going up, it was hard to make out the trail, but since there was only a few hundred feet left, I just kept going uphill. There are about 3 big boulders at the top. I couldn't really tell which was the tallest, but I stood on the northern most boulder. There are actually some nice flat spots near the top that would make a perfect backpacking campground. The hike up took me about 3 hours to the peak (if you minus the detour I took). The descent took longer than I expected because of the slippery mud I had to contend with as the snow thawed. I highly suggest anyone doing this trail when it is snowy or wet to bring trekking poles as I did. I saw many bunny, deer, and some sort of cat's tracks in the snow.

so amazing

It's not very shady and a pretty difficult hike when it's hot but of course worth it for the photo op! It gets very very busy so earlier better than later!

Amazing hike to Potato Chip Rock, the wait wasn’t bad. People were very good about trading phones for pictures , if you took their picture , they would wait for your group to go out to the rock and take your picture. Some people complain about the wait, it’s not bad especially if you work as a team.

Great trail, made for a wonderful day. We went after a rain so be prepared to get wet if you do (4 crossings to/fro; 8 total). Not as many bums/homeless as mentioned in other reviews, couple of tents hidden at the start of trail.

Beautiful hike, gave it only 4 stars because there was a ~45 min wait to climb potato chip rock for a picture.

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful scenery, easy hike. Easy to get to. Great for beginners.

It is not moderate hike. Starts out moderate but as get down to river it is dangerous and can see where people have been airlifted out as one slip can be life threatening. Made it down almost to end by river was high and too dangerous to cross last part and decided not to jump over 5 foot crossed where a shoot was below as if slipped would have been one of the airlifted ones out. Not worth risk to get killed, wouldn't recommend for children. The look point trail doesn't have trail, tried to follow in alltrails app and was though cactus field and turned back and was sick of getting cuts from the cactus's.

hiking
9 days ago

Easy hike, mostly flat with little climbing involved. My Fitbit measured it to be 11.3 miles in total. You’ll definitely get wet when crossing the River a few times, so bring water shoes or a change of shoes/socks. Water was up to my ankles in early Jan. Took us about 5 hours in total.

Overcrowded. Overrated. And relatively boring most of the hike. A nice workout and a gorgeous wait in line at the top. This hike wouldn’t be so bad if not as many unprepared and rude people hiked it. Go extremely early if you want to enjoy yourself and the nature around you.

Good hard hike for a nice workout. Did this during summer so I Started at 6 am with my dog and ended at 9/10 am. Start and end with a walk near the lake. Potato chip was a little disappointing and you have to climb up on to get to but still a nice fun hike.

Try to go early in the morning. You’ll bit the sun and the line to take a photo at the famous potato chip rock.

This is my second time on this hike and is fun and challenging as always. I went with a ton of my family so we kept stopping to take pictures. This trail is definitely a leg killer but if you push yourself you will make it! People need to pick up their dogs crap and throw the bags away! I’m trying to enjoy a nice hike without worrying about stepping in dog crap! It’s also very crowded, but really fun!

Very crowded, kind of boring

Trail itself was great. People hiking not so much. Unleashed dogs. Poop bags left on trailside everywhere. Way to crowded. Worst of all was the amplified music, seriously invest in some headphones if you really need the tunes. And the mountain bikers, why even try on a weekend?

we loved this hike. Alot of people was on the trail and at the "chip". Rain made it a lil slippery coming back down but overall it was amazing.

One of the best places in the US to visit

This is a really nice hike. It is a difficult one though. There is alot of elevation change over a short period. Start early, understand it will be cold at the top. It had rained the day before and the puddles further up this hike were all ice.

The trail itself is extremely well marked. Just keep following towards Mt Woodson. The first few miles are about 10 feet wide, well maintained and as the trail progresses it slowly gets narrower but never much below about 3 feet wide. The very steep parts all have rock stairs on the trail.

As you're hiking you might be wondering where the peak is. Look for all the anteneas. They are just above potato chip rock.

If you don't want to pay for parking, you can park across the street from the entrance, but it adds about 1.5 miles round trip to your hike and a bit of elevation.

it was one heck of an adventure.
from beginning to end, crossing the stream and climbing over rocks. definitely not for beginners as I heard a lot of people complain lol and short of breath.

Nice trail with some decent views of Lake Isabella. Not much scenery outside of the lake view. Took young kids and they did great!

I am visiting from the east coast and decided to give this hike a try. Pretty solid overall and the many stream crossings kept it interesting. I completed it in just under 4 hours with a short break at the bridge for pics. It is difficult to follow the trail at times but rather easy to get back on point. The trail notes in AllTrails were very helpful.

My garmin had it at 10.24 miles.

One oddity is the number of homeless that seem to make the trail home. There appears to be a rather large camp close to the beginning and then I saw a couple more along the way, including upon my return own actually had a fire going. It just seems like there is lots that could go wrong and I am not sure why the rangers allow it.

4 stars for a great hike but the homeless and lack of trail markers keep it from a 5 for me.

Enjoy!

Beautiful and scary at top!

First of all follow the signs and stay on the trails. I got stranded before entering parking and took an alternate route which lead through non existing paths. Finally made my entry through a different point than Poway lake.

It took me around 5 hours to complete this trail
One of the best experience , saw people of all ages making with enthusiasm. At halfway I almost got exhausted due to the climb but got encouraged by fellow climbers.
Potato chip rick was crowded as usual. I made it back to the Poway lake by sunset.
Will recommend for all who want to take the challenge of completing this difficult trial.

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