Lake Poway to Potato Chip Rock


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I tackled the next trail on my winter hike wishlist.

Location: Poway, CA

I packed plenty of water for both of us as I knew there would be no shade on this hike. When I arrived at Lake Poway park just little before 7:30 a.m., there were plenty of parking spaces but cars were constantly coming in. After using the restroom, I followed the crowd to the trailhead hoping this would be a better experience than my previous hike in Whittier.

The trailhead was located next to the Lake Poway concession which wasn’t open yet.
Lake Poway Trailhead

Lake Poway Trail is family-friendly and it goes around the lake. Portable restrooms and trash cans were available in multiple locations.
Lake Poway

However, once you take Mt Woodson trail towards the Potato Chip rock, you will be just surrounded by nature.

Even though the temperature was in the low 40s that morning, bright sunshine kept me comfortable. It was a beautiful clear day.

For the most part, the hikers and trail runners were friendly and considerate for others but we did run into couple of hikers playing music loudly on their phones here too. At one point, we were followed by these two girls chatting up loudly about the date one of them had the night before in details. TMI! Oh gosh, I really didn’t need to know that! 😳 From what I can tell, the friend wasn’t comfortable with the details either. 🙂 Luckily, we were able to either pass them or let them pass us and didn’t have to run into them again. That is a good thing about hiking a trail rated moderate to difficult. Everyone has their own pace and luckily our pace was faster than theirs. We weren’t always surrounded by other hikers either. I was able to enjoy the scenery, peace and tranquility.

When we reached at the Potato Chip rock, there was a group of people on top of it. Perfect. I was going to see someone jump over the gap like I read in the reviews! I am afraid of heights so I was anxious to even watch someone jumping over the gap. Why..

Potato Chip Rock

My plan was to see the Potato Chip rock and turn around. According to the reviews, the peak was anticlimactic so I wasn’t interested in going up another mile or so for no good reason. The views were amazing on this hike from beginning to end. This is not an easy hike but doable. I think the most challenging part of the hike is the heat. Just bring plenty of water and you will be fine! Overall, I enjoyed exploring Lake Poway and its trails. The 2nd trail on my winter hike list was a winner! 😄

More details on this hike:

  • Trailhead:  14644 Lake Poway Road, Poway, CA 92064
  • Distance:  6 miles total – Out and back
  • Elevation gain:  1454 feet

Happy Hiking!

2 comments on “Lake Poway to Potato Chip Rock”

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