Potato Chip Rock has become famous as people pose for photos in the iconic rock formation in San Diego. It’s a unique, yet a scenic area with plenty of activities to explore. If you’re looking for a place to hike, you may want to consider visiting this place as it offers plenty of options to get to the top. Although you may find this to be a hard hike because of the hill, it’s a fun place to explore, and it’s an easy hike.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Mt. Woodson Summit.
History of Potato Chip Rock
The Mountain of Moonlit Rock got its name from the indigenous Native Americans who saw the reflective white boulders form from granite rock. The granite later cracked and broke, which led to the formation of the valley of granite rocks.
The name Woodson was from the dentist Clay Woodson who moved to the mountain in 1800.
General Overview of Potato Chip Rock
Potato Chip Rock is at the peak of Mt. Woodson in Poway, California. The hike has become popular due to its scenic nature which makes it ideal for photos. It’s an eight miles roundtrip hike. When hiking during summer, you’ll need to start early as the sun can get too hot because of Poway’s desert climate.
You’ll come across an uphill climb on the first half of the trail. The rock is at the very top. You’re likely to come across people waiting to take photos on this rock. You’ll use the same trail when going down, which is a lot faster than when going up.
At the top, you have the opportunity to take unlimited photos. The area resembles the edge of a cliff, and you’ll be happy to see the beautiful scenery and views. You’ll need to bring enough water as the uphill climb is steep even for experienced hikers.
How to Get to Potato Chip Rock
The hike is five to ten minutes off the freeway. You’ll need to pay for parking at $8 if you don’t live in Poway. You’ll park in the top parking lot and access the trailhead near the bathroom which is near the lake.
You’ll have to go for a mile before you get to the actual trailhead. Its three miles from there to get to the summit. The trail is straight up the whole way, something that makes hiking the rock difficult.
However, you’ll find the walk up interesting as there are lots of rock formations along the mountain and trail. You’ll only see one place with any shade to relax.
Once you get to the top, you’ll need to walk half a mile to actual potato chip rock. While you may be tired, the rocks will give you motivated to keep pushing. The best part is that you can see a lot of San Diego from the summit.
POTATO CHIP ROCK
The rock is before the summit, and you’ll see when you’re about a quarter mile away. The stone is the highlight of this trek due to its outstanding features. Although it may look terrifying to stand on the rock, this quickly changes when you get to it.
Essential Tips to Know When Hiking Potato Chip Rock
Here are some helpful tips that will make your hike more exciting and
CHOOSE THE RIGHT CLOTHING
You need to choose comfortable and airy clothes, shoes, and stocks. The type of shoes you pick and the socks will be your friend or enemy when heading back down the trail. You can opt for well-fitting shorts or yoga pants.
The best time to go to the summit is early morning. Going at noon will be difficult as the sun is at the top and it doesn’t cool off until 5 pm. The best thing about going earlier is that it’s easier to climb and you can enjoy a bit of shade and breeze.
You’ll find the hike to be best during spring, fall, or winter. Summer may be too hot for most people.
CHOOSE A DAY TO GO
Although the trail is not as crowded, the three trails connect at the top. Sometimes the place can be overcrowded, and you need to choose the day to go wisely. A weekday would be ideal as there are fewer people.
BRING ENOUGH WATER AND SNACKS
The trail has no place to buy anything. Make sure that you bring enough water and snacks. Also, choose something that’s not complicated as there are no trash cans, which means you have to keep any packs in your bag.
CONSIDER HIKING POLES
Hiking poles can help you keep your balance on loose terrain on the trail. Also, the pole will help prevent hurting knees if you experience joint
DON’T FORGET SUNSCREEN
Sunscreen is a must-have when climbing the trail to protect yourself from the harsh rays. You can also bring a visor and sunglasses if you’re sensitive to UV rays. Wear comfortable shoes for going up the rocks.
You can find hazards and rattlesnakes along the way. Make sure that you stay on the trail to avoid any dangers.
BRING PROPS FOR A PHOTOSHOOT
You’re likely to see some creative photos taken at the rock which includes eating potato chips, some that include yoga poses, and others as a family portrait. Bring along fun props for creative photos. Remember that the best time to take pictures is when the sun is rising.
CHOOSE YOUR PATH
You can access the rock via two trailheads. One if 16310 Highway 67, which is short, but intense. The second trail starts at 14644 Lake Poway Rd, Lake Poway Park, Poway, Ca. The Lake Poway route is popular due to its stunning scenery, lots of facilities, accessible parking area, and it’s not as steep. However, on the weekends, it has an entry fee.
Take the back route from SR-67 for a shadier, faster way.
BRING A FRIEND
Mt. Woodside is over 7 miles long, and you can’t handle the trail on your own. You may get bored halfway up. Having a partner motivates you to finish the hike strong. Also, you’ll have someone to take your photos.
DON’T GO WITH EXPECTATIONS
While you may have heard of other people’s experience of this hike, you may want to keep your expectations low to avoid disappointments.
Frequently Asked Questions about Potato Chip Rock
Here are some common faqs about this rock in San Diego.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR ON THE HIKE?
You need to wear some comfortable, yet light clothes. Women will find shorts, tank top, and a sports bra convenient. Men can wear a vest and some shorts. Bring along shoes with enough traction to make your hike easier. At this point, hiking boots are not a necessity as much of this trail has good traction.
WHERE DO I START THE HIKE?
You can walk or drive into the park grounds. The start of the hike begins from near the lake. Some signs show you which direction to take. However, you’ll have to part with $8 for parking.
The 3.8-mile hike starts from route 67, which is on the south side of the Cal Fire Station road.
WHAT OTHER GEAR SHOULD I BRING?
You require physical strength and grit to get to the top. You’ll find a GPS locator quite useful. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle with enough water and some snacks to enjoy along the trail.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO HIKE THE ROCK?
You will take approximately three to four hours when taking the Lake Poway, wilderness picnic area which is eight miles. However, if you take the back route, which is 3.8 miles, you’ll have two to three hours.
WHICH TRAILS SHOULD I TAKE?
Well, this depends on whether you want to explore the scenic surroundings or you want to get to the rock faster. The back route from SR-67 is faster, but the way from Lake Poway is long but with fantastic scenery and lots of places to take photos.
ARE THERE OTHER ACTIVITIES AT THE POTATO CHIP ROCK?
Apart from hiking, you can enjoy other activities like swimming in the lake or taking your kids out for a picnic. Also, you can kayak at Lake Poway or go afternoon biking on the beach.
IS POTATO CHIP ROCK SAFE?
The area is safe as long as you stay away from trouble. People get hurt when trying risky poses or hanging off the rock. Be careful not to sit on a snake as Mt. Woodson is famous for rattlesnakes.
If you’re in San Diego, you may want to consider Potato Chip Rock. It’s an ideal place to hike on a cold weekday. Be sure to go early and bring some water and snacks to last you for the time you’ll be there. Remember to have fun and take a lot of photos.