Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson Trail

HARD 2,124 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson Trail is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Poway, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 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.

DISTANCE
6.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2132 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

walking

lake

views

wildlife

scramble

One of the most popular trails for photo ops and scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, this steep and narrow hike up to Potato Chip Rock and Mount Woodson summit is a must-do for locals and visitors alike. Located in northern San Diego county, the Mount Woodson trailhead starts at the end of Lake Poway Road at Lake Poway and offers hikers, climbers and trail runners a challenging trail up to the famous potato chip boulder and Mount Woodson Summit. This is a great place for a good workout and training for long hikes and runs. This is a very exposed trail so please bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Lake Poway PARKING IS FREE during the week- (weekends and holidays it's $10.00 for non- Poway residents)

13 minutes ago

Excellent trail and very beautiful hike.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful hike

hiking
6 days ago

Worth the climb! Amazing views from every angle! Great workout!

hiking
7 days ago

The boys (husky mixes) and I finally made this hike today. Gorgeous views & rock formations; I took so many photos of the boys standing on the rocks and looking off into the distance.
I average 3-5 miles daily with some elevation on run days and I really felt like this was a challenging hike; we took about 3 hours including breaks for water & photos and a long walk back to the first parking lot. Next time, I’ll park much closer to the trailhead. I couldn’t believe the number of people we encountered running this trail! I also was amazed at the number of kids doing this hike!
I brought 4 liters of water and we went through most of it- though I’m pretty sure I leaked as my pack & back were soaked when we reached the top. Thankfully, I had 2 separate bladders and the second was full for our trip down. Had just enough at the end to fill the boys’ bowls one last time and the stinkers didn’t even want it!
We started at 7:45 and managed to have much shade up until probably the last mile or so on the way down. We did not see any snakes, but the boys found a few lizards.
There were enough people that I felt safe as a solo female but, surprisingly, not near as many people I expected having read about this hike online. We did not stop for a chip photo, as we were solo. Like others, we saw some drones up at the top and heard an occasional speaker.
We didn’t come across any aggressive or unleashed dogs.
We found people we encountered to be polite, if not downright friendly. The boys got a few pets & ear scratches from new friends. We tried really hard to give way in narrow spots and others did the same.
We’ll definitely be back.

8 days ago

Amazing trail and great workout!

mountain biking
9 days ago

Excellent workout!...
Afraid of snakes but worth the hike. I will come back with friends, perfect place to meditate and relax.
This is where I realize that I must workout harder to be in shape " GOOD HEALTH ".
Enjoy life!......

hiking
12 days ago

Great location and fun hike.

hiking
14 days ago

Good trail & perfect Apring temps yesterday. We did see a rattles Abe crossing the trail, so keep an eye out.
4/08/18

hiking
14 days ago

Good trail; perfect Spring temps yesterday. We did see a rattle snake crossing the trail, so keep an eye out.
4/08/18

17 days ago

Needed to wait in line for a pic on the rock

19 days ago

Great trail run for uphill and downhill. Approx 2 hrs if you bypass the line up top to take a photo.

hiking
25 days ago

A good workout for the day. The views are great but teenagers ruin it with loud music all the way to the top. Even at the top there was a small crowd (50+) waiting in line to climb on the rock. Still, the battle for whose loud music to overcome the other. 10am on top was not early enough.

27 days ago

Great hike. Really enjoyed these steeper climb toward the end. Lots dogs and lots of people. Recommend if you don’t mind a lot of traffic.

hiking
29 days ago

Really fun hike and shockingly not that crowded on a Saturday. From Poway lake to Potato chip rock it was 2.5 hours, just under 7 miles round trip. I would say a moderate hike but have hiking shoes and plenty of water. One crazy thing we saw was people with drones at the top. One guy on the potato chip rock had drone taking pictures of himself for about 10 minutes while other people were waiting in line! How about this- get on the potato chip rock take picture like a normal person and walk away?!

29 days ago

great endurance hike

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike! Definitely a great workout with a solid 33 pounds of baby on your back. Great views! Go early to get some shade and not have to wait long to get your picture on the chip ;). Bring plenty of water and snacks!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trail. Great views. Definitely would do it again. Take plenty of water!! On the harder side.

1 month ago

best trail i have done,will definitely be back.

1 month ago

Great hike and view!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is more on the hard side because of its length (7.6 miles) and it’s steepness. If you or whoever you’re with isn’t in pretty good shape don’t try it. There is a long line at the potato chip rock to take a picture. Take one bottle of water per person plus snack bars. Wear hiking shoes or boots, not running shoes, due to rocks. Wear sunscreen at midday.

hiking
1 month ago

Really great trail, but really exhausting for the people we brought along who don’t hike all the time. There weren’t any maps located at the trail head, but as long as you keep following the Mt Woodson Trail and don’t get led astray by other trails forking off, you should be fine. Jumping across to the potato chip park of the Boulder was a little scary for myself who is afraid of heights, but had to do it for the pic. Happy trails!

hiking
1 month ago

Great incline for a workout. I went on Tuesday and just a few of us in line for the photo op :) bring lots of water and protein bars.

1 month ago

done it a few times. great trail. make it longer by going the other way around the lake on the way back down

1 month ago

Great incline with beautiful views

hiking
1 month ago

Fun day, a lot of people...

1 month ago

challenging and so much fun. bring plenty of water and snacks! sunscreen and hats required.

hiking
1 month ago

The All Trails description is right on, beautiful views. Definitely harder then I thought it was going to be though. We went on a Monday in early March, only 10 or 15 people at Potato chip. Bring plenty of water!

Great trail, in good shape.

1 month ago

Great as long as it is cool!!

hiking
1 month ago

Such a beautiful view!! Go on a weekday (we went on a Tuesday) for free parking and little to no lines to take a picture on top of the Potato Chip Rock. Prepare yourself for a lot of inclines. There are many interesting rock formations. We spotted both hamburger and hippopotamus rocks along the way. When you start the hike to Mt. Woodson trail, you'll be greeted by a breathtaking lake. Also, get there early! We started the hike around 8:30am and finished around 11am (round trip). Definitely worth it!

2 months ago

Great trail to do with kids. Enough turns and switch rocks, views, to keep them entertained !

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