Mount Woodson is tallest peak in the area, and is also known as the "Potato Chip Hike" due to the famous geologic formation at the top. The hike weaves through a maze of chaparral and granite boulders, with few flat sections. Mount Woodson is a very popular place for San Diego Locals to come have a run or hike, and as such, it can get pretty crowded on the weekends.
What Makes It Great
The Mount Woodson Trail is a somewhat difficult 6.4-mile route that features steep uphill segments, which are probably unsuitable for beginners. In fact, even experienced hikers and trail runners are often challenged by this trail. That being said, if you're up to the challenge, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of Lake Poway, Palomar Mountain, and the surrounding area.
The trail is well-marked and maintained, but can be quite steep and narrow in several sections. The summer can be extremely hot, so be sure to bring lots of water. There are no restroom facilities here.
Regardless, you'll definitely enjoy spending time at this great destination, and you won't want to miss Potato Chip Rock once you reach the top of the mountain.
Who is Going to Love It
If you come prepared (both physically and with water), you will really enjoy this hike. It's a tough one, with 2,000 ft. in elevation gain in just over 3 miles, but the views at the top are worth it.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trailhead for this hike is located to the right of the lake at the the Lake Poway Recreation Area (14644 Lake Poway Road).