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Potato Chip Rock



7.1 mile 11.5 kilometer out and back
75% Runnable


Ascent: 1,881' 573 m
Descent: -1,881' -573 m
High: 2,717' 828 m
Low: 946' 288 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 42% (23°)


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

David Galy

Features 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.

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Jul 20, 2018
Brent Blum
Started by the golf course to add mileage. Start and end were running heaven. Middle had required walking/hiking. 9mi — 1h 54m

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 44 votes


in Lake Poway


  4.3 from 44 votes
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171 Views Last Month
11,395 Since May 6, 2016



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
View from the summit of Mount Woodson
Jan 2, 2018 near Poway, CA
Exploring Potato Chip Rock.
Oct 27, 2016 near Poway, CA


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