This past weekend I finally got around to hiking the Mt. Woodson Trail all the way to Potato Chip Rock. My friend Dan, who hikes practically every day, came with me and we had a great time talking and taking in the scenery for a few hours. Potato Chip Rock is a local favorite for taking new profile pictures and you can kind of see why.
To get to the trail, you have to drive about 25 minutes northeast of Downtown and take the Rancho Bernardo Road exit off of the 15. You make a right off the exit, then drive straight for a couple of miles until you hit Lake Poway. Make sure you have some cash with you: there's a parking fee of $5 to get in, though in the past it's been $8, so that may depend on the time of year.
The trail itself is fairly strenuous and about 4 miles uphill in direct sunlight so make sure you have enough water. I brought about 50oz with me and had just enough for an 80° day with a strong breeze --- you'll need more if you go in the summer. You can also bring dogs to hike this trail which would have been fun if my dogs could make it, but they're too fluffy to hike something as hot as this.
Just below the summit is Potato Chip Rock. The rock itself is wider in person than it seems in all the photos, so posing on the rock was less scary than it looks. What is terrifying is the jump you have to make to get onto the rock. It's about 3 feet and falling into the wedge between rocks probably means rolling your ankle or skinning your knee or having to amputate one of your own limbs, 127 Hours-style. Probably.
On beautiful days there will be a line to take pictures and honestly, the line is mostly caused by how long it takes people to maneuver this jump. But the plus side to having so many people around is that there is always someone to take your picture for you. Our line was giving the cameras to the people in front of them so that after they climbed down they took the photo from the best vantage point, which I highly recommend.
Although I wasn't as prepared for my picture as the hilarious girl who brought a Simba stuffed animal and recreated the Rafiki scene, I think it came out pretty great and I'm happy to have checked off another local landmark!
(P.S. - This blogger details an Eastern route that's half as long, a little shadier, and has free parking!!)