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


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Poway, California Map

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.

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!

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.

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

Great incline with beautiful views

Fun day, a lot of people...

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

AWESOME as always bring good music good vibes small snack and some water 1L should be enough on a average temperature of 70

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.

Great as long as it is cool!!

12 days ago

Good hike my first time best to go before 7am plenty of parking and mt. To yourself but around 8-9 people start to come and it’s a small rest area at the top

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!

Great hike. Weather was kinda chilly today but had great views either way. Kinda bummed the prayer box was not up there anymore.

Great moderate hike. Loved it.

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

This was an awesome hike and elevation gain. The trail is very well maintained and can be challenging on the way up. Make sure to take a look around on the way up, there are a lot of great views. While we where towards the top we saw a Hawk perched on the top of a large rock, then jumped into a dive to go after something in the canyon. Was an amazing site to see. Once we got to the top we waited 1hr in line to take our picture on the rock. We brought our Mom and she was not going to leave without a picture. Some people take forever which is really annoying, but if you plan to wait, then its not so bad. The other option is to leave early so you are one of the first to the top for the day and not have to wait in line. One thing that is not clear in the review is that when you want to get onto the Potato Chip Rock, you actually have jump from a bigger rock. The jump is not to bad ~ 3-4ft downwards, but for some it could be a bit of a challenge. To get off the rock you either need to climb back up the rock you jumped off of or scoot down the side of the potato chip rock (this is not easy buy not difficult). For most, can handle it no problem, but there will be some who find it very challenging. Overall a great hike!

26 days ago

PERFECT hiking spot

Awesome trail for hikers & runners, too. Take water & snack like oranges or apples leave no footprints!

26 days ago

Beautiful view! Closest short trail to Ranch Bernardo area!

Beautiful trail!

Tough but worthwhile the hike.

27 days ago

This hike is similar to Potato Chip and Cowles in the SD area. I liked Potato Chip more, but I like this one more than Cowles. It is similar to Cowles with many parts of the trail that are rocky and jaggedy. It was about 5.5 miles from the parking lot to the top and back. There are some great views of the surrounding area. It is just that these inland SD county trails are a bit boring in terms of the plant life and very little in the way of trees. I prefer coastal hikes. It took us about 2 hrs to complete.

Great quick hike. some difficult parts near the top but a nice place to picnic at the top with awesome views. big dirt parking lot with bathrooms available. go early if you want a spot, otherwise you may end up parking along the street. I drive by the lot everyday for work and it's always pretty close to full by 8-9am even on the weekdays.

The hike is fairly steep in the beginning but it gets better as you go. It is paved and has beautiful views all through out. There is a line to take photos at potato chip rock, which for us was about a 45 minute wait. Don't know when we will be able to go back so we went ahead and waited but we got some cool pictures.

Tough hike for most but worth it and if you get up there you should go to the top of the mountain for the view of the other side about another 1/4 mile up.

30 days ago

Always a pleasure. This is a good scenic trail. My dog loves it. It’s clean and safe. There are normally others on the trail but I’ve not been crowded out. The views and bird songs are sweet to the senses. There are a few challenges but not too bad.

The payoff at the end should be a picnic on the balcony of the snack shack above the boat dock. Good times.

Great alternate route in the vicinity of Iron Mountain. The Ellie Ln trail was empty. A good climb with views of both Poway and Ramona at the top. Once we intersected with Iron Mountain, there’s about 1.5 mi to the top. Tons of people making the ascent. On the way back down we tracked back to The Ellie Lane trail for a final 3 miles of amazing views and solitude as we headed back down. Bring walking poles for the descent. It’s loose and rocky. After the climb your legs may need some assistance. My GPS read 9.1 miles and 2000 ish ft of elevation gain. Great hike.

Great hike. Make sure you have at least three hours and LOTS of water. The trail is easy but the elevation gain will kick you butt.

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