Explore the most popular trails in Lake Poway Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nestled in the hills of Poway, the Lake Poway Recreation Area not only serves as the water supply for residents, but also has provided exceptional outdoor recreational opportunities since 1972. Get hooked on fishing and boating, head up the mountain on a hike, take aim at archery, or enjoy a leisurely picnic. Park closes at sunset.

hiking
no shade
3 days ago

Great challenge. Beautiful scenery. Worth it but go early in the warmer season because it gets super hot out there. We started right at 7am.

Walked this 9/12/19, 10:30am start. High 80s, clear sky. Nice views along the way looking west. A tough series of switchbacks, but steady approach works well. Bring an extra water. 1.5 liter is probably safe. 90 minutes up; 70 minutes back. Stayed at top for awhile to enjoy the view looking down on Ramona Dam, etc. and enjoy a snack. Didn't push it, but kept a decent pace carrying a 15 lb pack for staying in practice for outback camping trips. A 1.5 mi longer hike than Iron Mountain with tougher switchbacks.

after reading the reviews we got a 630am start on this trail. Very well established and maintained with great facilities at the trailhead, awesome views along the way and even portopotties scattered along the trail. Finished at 1030 and it was already getting hot. 2 liters of water was plenty for me but if you start any later id recommend more.

Breath taking views. Potato chip rock was scary, so I didn't get up there, but took great pic of my friend who was more daring than I was.

Amazing adventure !

Amazing hike! It is very steep but plenty of places/rocks that you can sit in & take a break at. We went in February and it was very cloudy / rainy. Once we got to Potato Chip Rock, the skies cleared up and it was beautiful! Hike down is a breeze after going all the way

So far this was one of my hardest hikes so far. It is straight incline for 2.5 miles. I’m not the best for inclines but it was a work out. I brought 3l of water and coconut water. I drank all of it... I thought I was going to pass out many times but I stopped and rested as much as I needed. The hike took forever but I finished. People were so nice to me a guy gave me an apple another refilled my water and they were so encouraging. My heart rate for to 162 which made me nauseous bc I work out but I get up to 150 usually... today my body is soar but a good soar. My calf’s, buttocks, and other parts of my body muscles have been worked out. I am going to try this one again in the fall and my goal is to be good at this one. A lot of the people I met done it many times.

This was a well maintained trail. Go early, it gets crowded. We started at 6:00 am.

Definitely a good workout. The rock at the end was a little disappointing.

hiking
no shade
rocky
13 days ago

Great trail and awesome views! Definitely start early because the heat is a killer. We saw 2 rescues because people passed out. Definitely take 3l of water minimum or more on a hot day. We took 3 L and a Gatorade each. There is no shade the whole hike with the exceptions of some shaded rocks in the morning. Once you reach higher elevation the views are awesome!! We reached the potatoes chip and there was a line to take pictures. We waited about 30 minutes but at least we rested before coming back down the trail. Very well maintained trail with trash cans and porter potties at the bottom of the trail. We saw a lot of families with young kids and dogs. The trail is very rugged so take appropriate shoes with good grip.

Done this 7.1 miles again today. I started at 6 am to avoid heat. Beautiful, well maintained/marked and busy trail. Bring plenty of water. I used all 3 litters. Parking costs $10, If you park at blue sky reserve area then it free but you have to go on longer trail to get to the trail to the potato chip. By the time you get up to the chip you will see a lot of more hikers who came up from Ramona 67 size which is shorter trail. Please bring your trash out. Happy trail!

A very memorable hike! Completed it in July 2018. My cousin and I thought it would be cool to get to the rock at sunset. When we arrived at the parking lot, we realized they locked the gates closed early. We barely had time to rush to the top, take pics for 5 minutes, and hurry down! Would definitely do it again!

This is my first time taking hard trails and cant believe I made it. i enjoy friendly people on this trails. Bring lots of water. Love it.

☀️potato chip hike is definitely a good workout. However good hiking shoes are highly suggested . Arrived at the park at about 6:00am It took about an hour and half to get to the chip rock not long line at all. Great hike. A must do if you are visiting San Diego.

Very challenging hike.. but it was worth it. Once we got to the top, there was a line of people waiting to take pics on the chip. Some shaded areas along the way. Best to start early in the morning. Definitely take caution in super hot weather. Bring lots of water!!!

hiking
bugs
muddy
no shade
14 days ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
15 days ago

Got on trail by 650, off by 930 very hot

hiking
17 days ago

As Tuna Tony mentioned below the hike (loop) totals 5 miles from bait shop and back. I would agree it’s moderate in difficulty but may be hard for beginners or those just starting their fitness journey. You can always do half the hike and turn around because the loop from one side to the next is not identical in difficulty. I find the right side of the lake/trail along the park side is easier than the left side of the lake that runs along the dam. However, either trailhead you enter from presents its own set of nice steep ascending switchbacks on the last 0.5-0.7 miles at the end of the loop. If you’re a sunset hiker I suggest the left side trail, it’ll be both shade and sun but you’ll have more daylight left once you reach the other end of the lake. Depending on the time you set out, doing this hike in reverse will have you hiking back in the dark (some single tracks throughout). Proper footwear, excess water, and trekking poles come in handy.

hiking
17 days ago

Great beginner/moderate difficulty hike. It's a five mile loop, definitely not 2.5 miles as listed here...plan accordingly. I've hiked it a hundred or so times.

Definitely a trail to do. It will make you burn calories for sure.

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