Trail Distance: 7.5 miles via Mount Woodson Trail
Elevation Gain: ~2,100 ft.
Terrain Rating: Medium
Hike Time: 3-4 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes
Recommended Seasons: Not peak summer
Potato Chip Rock is a popular (aka crowded) hike a little north of San Diego. The hike is a great longer-trail hike with sweeping views and of course, a photo opp at the end.
Trailhead: Poway, CA here ($10 parking fee on the weekends)
I was excited to see Potato Chip Rock after looking up hikes around the SoCal area. We moved to LA only 2 years ago so I’m still eager to explore new places! There are multiple ways to get to Potato Chip Rock, but we chose to go from Lake Poway. The park area itself is really nice - there were some fishing opportunities!
The hike itself starts out with some incline as you head towards Mount Woodson. From there, it is straight up with switchbacks! The terrain is more rocky which was a nice change of pace from the Santa Monica mountain dust. There was a nice view around every other corner which makes the hike really enjoyable.
Look at those views! It was a semi-cloudy day which was perfect hiking weather. The hike itself has no shade so I’d be weary of hiking in the heat of summer. You reach the top of the mountain relatively quickly and then it’s about 20 minutes to traverse to Potato Chip Rock. When we turned the corner, we were in for a huge surprise as the line to take a photo with Potato Chip Rock was 45 minutes long!!
So.. we never took a photo on top of the rock, but here’s a photo of the rock! Even without taking our Instagram photo, the hike is definitely worth it for the good vibes, full body workout, and beautiful views! Highly recommended, especially with your pup :)