“Potato Chip Rock is located near the peak of Mount Woodson and can be accessed by a moderate run.”
— David Galy
Birding · Lake · Views · Wildflowers
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 run to the Mt. Woodson Summit is a difficult but rewarding ~2,000' climb.
This seven-mile round trip run may take 3-4 hours on average and is only suggested for experienced runners 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.
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.