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Potato Chip Rock

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (49) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Potato Chip Rock is located near the peak of Mount Woodson and can be accessed by a moderate hike.


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Map Key

7.1

Miles

11.5

KM

Out and Back

2,717' 828 m

High

946' 288 m

Low

1,881' 573 m

Up

1,881' 573 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

42%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Lake · Views · Wildflowers

Overview

The Mt. Woodson trailhead is located on the west side of Lake Poway off of Lake Poway Road. Starting from the Lake Poway Staging area, the hike to the Mt. Woodson Summit is a difficult but rewarding ~2,000' climb.

This seven-mile round trip hike may take 3-4 hours on average and is only suggested for experienced hikers looking for a good workout with beautiful views.

Need to Know

There is a $10 parking fee for automobiles (Non-Poway residents) and a $2 fee for motorcycles between March 1 and mid-November.

Description

To begin this route, head east/southeast on the Lake Poway Trail as it bends around the south shore of the lake. At a little under one mile, look for the right hand turn on to Mt. Woodson Trail. This marks the first stage of the out-and-back climb on a wide fire road.

After a mile, there will be a quick break in the uphill grade and there will be a clearing here on the south side of the trail (right).

Push on for the remaining ~1.8-mile ascent through a network of boulders. This section is very exposed to the sun so plan accordingly with water and sun protection.

Make the final climb along the switchbacks and look for the iconic Potato Chip Rock as you make your way to the top. Rest up, refuel, and explore this bizarre geologic feature before heading back the way you came.

Contacts

Shared By:

David Galy with improvements by Troy Avery

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 49 votes

#1

in Lake Poway

#190

Overall
  4.3 from 49 votes
5 Star
47%
4 Star
43%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
2%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Lake Poway

#23

in California

#190

Overall
113 Views Last Month
14,386 Since May 6, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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2%
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Photos

View from the summit of Mount Woodson
Jan 2, 2018 near Poway, CA
Lake Poway during the early morning from the lookout at the south of the lake
Jan 2, 2018 near Poway, CA
90-degree panorama from the Mt. Woodsen Trail centered SSW.
Apr 25, 2017 near Poway, CA
Split rock along Mt. Woodson Trail and the view north.
Apr 25, 2017 near Poway, CA
Beautiful morning hike around Lake Poway!
Apr 14, 2018 near Poway, CA
Lake Poway during the late afternoon from the lookout at the south of the lake
Jan 2, 2018 near Poway, CA

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Check-Ins

Feb 6, 2021
S K
Sep 26, 2020
Nasrin Sordi
Sep 19, 2020
Ivan Vo
Sep 11, 2020
Ariane Lucas
Not sure why it says 7.1 miles, this was well over 8 miles out and back! 8.6mi — 3h 40m
Aug 23, 2020
Nemo Wayfinder
west facing trail, morning shade! we passed everyone and no one passed us also very busy summit in 1hr 20min
Aug 3, 2020
C Gomez
Feb 23, 2020
Andrew Dalager
7.1mi
Jan 19, 2020
Marysol OB