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.

Really great trail! I am not an avid hiker and handled it fine. Miles 1&2 aren’t bad, once you see the benches and get to mile 3 (with the rock field) it gets tough - mile 4 is a cinch & then you are there! Amazing views of lake Poway and the photo op at the end can’t be missed. Took me 3 hours round trip. I started around 6:15 am, highly recommend - the whole way up was shady, but the way down was sunny and very warm. I brought 3L water but drank around 2L.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
11 days ago

The difficult rating for this hike is accurate. If you’re not an experienced hiker be prepared. Starting as early as possible is essential as it gets extremely hot after the sun comes up and there is no shade. Steep uphills and stairs all the way up. Once you get to the potato chip rock, you must jump across a little crevice to actually get on it. A little scary, but gets you a great photo. Way down gets tricky with the heat, so again going early in the day is best. Definitely bring plenty of water (I drank 3L), wear a hat, and bring sunscreen to reapply. 3 sets of portable toilets at the beginning of the trail and places to fill up on water in the Lake Poway Park. Overall, really great hike! Preparedness is key.

hiking
12 days ago

Beautiful lake, great hike with the fam.

hiking
no shade
rocky
13 days ago

Great alternative if you wish to beat the crowds and start before 6am. Only adds 1.5 miles to the hike.

We completed this trail last Sunday. It was an awesome experience. It wasn't too hot as we started our hike very early. We were able to finish the hike before 11 am. The views from the top are amazing. Make sure to bring lots of water if you wish to hike this trail.

I come here just to take photos.

This was my first hike. It is not easy but once you get to the rock, it’s so worth it. The walk up is hard because it’s all up hill, going back down is a breeze. Once you get to the rock, and see the views, you’ll be glad that you accomplished that walk up.

Challenging hike! Definitely not for beginners!

hiking
rocky
23 days ago

hiking
23 days ago

Good hike if you want a simple path. A bit trafficked though.

This is a long uphill and steep hike at times so bring plenty of water. Went with a high heat advisory and man they weren’t kidding. Long and strenuous but it’s beautiful at the top. You may have to wait in line if you want a picture; prepare yourself for that. I had to come a second time in order to finish it but I’m glad I was able to do it. Don’t give up guys and enjoy the hike!

Come early in the morning. Very nice and not many people.

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

I fell in love! It was difficult, steep, and if you're not careful, you can slip, fall, and/or hurt your ankle. Hiking shoes, at least 1 liter of water, sunblock, and bananas (snack) are a must. Very friendly people that greet each other. Especially when you get to the top to conquer and jump over to the so-called potato chip rock. My sister and I had a great experience: people supporting and cheering each other on. Its like a community once you get to the top.

This was my first difficult rated trail and it was well worth it. I saw plenty of reviews that stated this was easy or not as hard as specified— but it is. I’m in great physical shape but newer to hiking. Started a bit later (0830) and there was some shade one the way up, definitely get started earlier on a sunny day, it was hot. Took me four hours round trip and 2L of water was enough for me. There’s a shorter trail that meets up with this one along the way that is rated moderate for those who’d prefer. Excellent first difficult hike for me.

Great workout! For those that don’t normally workout, I would just say, make sure to do it on a cooler day. Great hike and had a very nice day! Had a super yummy sandwich and Bloody Mary after :)

challenging trail but it definitely worth it.

Beautiful and worth it, but very hard! Beware!

The trail is really well-maintained. But, this is a NO SHADE hike. You must have at least two liters of water and preferably more. A good head cover is a must, I bet you don’t want to go back home with a sunstroke! The potato chip rock itself is very nice and worth the effort. Please plan your hike date and time based on the weather forecast, the mist challenge was the burning sun.

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