I have always loved the picture I have seen of people standing on the edge of a rock that looks like it will break at any moment. Upon doing more research I found out that rock is outside of San Diego on top of the Mt Woodson summit. I figured I had to go check it out, so a couple of weeks ago I made the 4 miles each way hike to what is affectionately known as potato chip rock.
How to Get There
The hike to potato chip rock is located in the city of Poway right near Poway Lake. It is about 5 to 10 minutes off the freeway and it costs 8 dollars to park if you do not live in Poway itself. Once you park in the top parking lot the trailhead starts right near the bathroom and wraps around the lake.
The trail winds around the lake for about a mile before the actual trailhead starts. It’s about 3 miles to the summit from here but there is a good amount elevation gain so be prepared, it is up pretty much the entire way. Here is the Google Earth View of my GPS recording to give you a feel.
The first thing you notice is there are a lot of unique rock formations.
Also of note, there is only one place that has any real shade on the trail from here, it is a little tree about half way to the rock and it is a great place to relax. We went through about three liters of water on the trip and still ran out with about a mile left, so make sure you have the water.
Once you reach the top of the mountain there is still about a half mile walk to the actual potato chip rock. This is where you will get tired, but keep pushing on. There are a lot of cool rocks up here to boulder on as well.
The actual summit itself is very over run with antennas which makes it a lot less cool of a view then it could be, but on a clear day you can see a lot of San Diego from here.
Check out the view from the summit.
Potato Chip Rock
When you are about a quarter mile away you will start to see Potato Chip Rock in the distance.
This is the real highlight of this trek as it is a really unique rock. This rock requires some scrambling to get to the top of and while it looks very scary to stand on it doesn’t feel that way until you actually get to the very end. At that point you can hear the echo of your footsteps and that is a little weird.
Amie and I both jumped on it though and it wasn’t scary. It is a great place for photos and can get pretty packed. The rock itself is about 100 yards below the summit. Once you are done taking your new profile pic you can head back down the way you came.
Potato chip rock is a great place to hang out at. I like to climb mountains that have something cool at the end and this one has that. Just be sure to take lots of water if you go in the summertime as it will be a really hot trip without. Check out the rest of the photos, get directions and leave me a comment below.