Potato Chip Rock
Points of Interest & Landmarks • Geologic Formations
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
173 reviews
Excellent
116
Very good
43
Average
12
Poor
0
Terrible
2

iluv2eatntravel
San Diego, CA1,872 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
Tips: 1) Start early esp if you are taking the longer route from Lake Poway, recommend starting before 8 am or earlier to avoid the crowd. 2) Wear good comfortable hiking/walking shoes 3) Bring water 4) Plan at least a 4 hour or more round trip if starting at Lake Poway 5) Not recommended on a wet day 6) At the Potato Chip Rock there is no ‘official line’ so common courtesy and patience is needed if there is a crowd. 7) Lake Poway has ample public parking but closes at 4:45 pm.

We took the longer and more scenic route which was quite challenging because of the distance and fairly steep inclines. About 3.8 mile each way from the Lake Poway parking lot. We are amateur hikers and the climb up took us about 1 hour 40 mins with a few short breaks to catch our breath and to enjoy the views. Coming down was a bit quicker. Definitely doable if you take your time. Paths were paved but can be uneven and there were some inclines that felt like 40-45 degrees although thankfully we did not need to climb with the use of our hands. The views were scenic and breathtaking throughout the journey. Fortunately there weren’t too many people ahead of us when we got to the Rock. Getting up onto the Rock was also challenging, either climb up for its bottom or jump across from an adjacent rock which can be a bit intimidating as the landing into the Potato Chip Rock is uneven and no ideal landing. So evaluate each option and consider what Yoda said: ‘Do or do not, there is no try’. We opted to climb, and with a little patience, definitely doable and it’s rewarding to finally get onto the Rock. And yes it’s sturdy, there was a party of about 8 people who go onto the Rock and it held their combined weight. As I mentioned earlier there is no ‘official’ line to get onto the Rock, some folks opted to jump across while others opted to climb. So again apply common courtesy.

All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our hike up and would definitely do it again.
Written January 4, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sreng L
South El Monte, CA121 contributions
May 2020 • Solo
2nd time at potato chip rock in San Diego. I woke up at 8am to summit both of my papers. Afterward, decided to drove my-self 150 miles to San Diego @ Potato chip rock. what a fun day, started off strong, however, after 30mins incline, my physical exhaustion kick in, and so I took multiple breaks in between. After 1hr 30mins I finally reach my destination. It took me 20mins just to take pictures because the line was so long and people helping each other taking pictures. The first day of summer breaks off to a great start...Next stop is unknown but will be more challenge.......#saturdayfunday #quarentineday #selfcare #potatochips #sandiego #hotaummersun #rock #tree #lake #antena #firstyeargradcompleted #timetocelebrateandgetbackinshape #timetodiscipline #timetomotivate #timeforchanged #humblelove #saturdaylived #goal #focus #nevergiveup
Written June 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

7wonderstraveler
Hugo, MN1,156 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
I’ve been wanting to do this hike for years and I was thrilled when I finally got to stand on this rock. We started at 9:00 am on a Saturday and had a hard time finding a parking spot at Lake Poway. The hike is roughly 8 miles round trip, no shade, and uphill from the minute one starts the hike. Bring plenty of water, sturdy books with ankle support, and snacks. I would estimate that 3.5 miles of this trail is uphill and remember that downhill is when ankle sprains and knee injuries occur. I loved this hike and we had to queue to get the cool photo.
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

M S
Columbus, OH66 contributions
Nov 2019 • Friends
Water, bring water. If you are starting from Poway you’ll have to pay for parking. Great views all the up from the lake to Potato Chip Rock. It’s uphill the entire way. It was pretty crowded at potato chip. Keep going up the mountain a few hundred yards and you’ve made the summit of Mt Woodson. My fitness app shows the round trip at 7.5 miles with 2,400 feet of elevation gain. Please don’t exhaust your dog on this trail. I passed several pets that appeared overheated.
Written January 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Creeping_Death_LA
Los Angeles, CA4,207 contributions
May 2021
We parked at the Highway 67 entrance to hike the 4 mile asphalt trail all uphill. Free parking along this speedway. The weather was gloomy, chilly, and sprinkling so we got wet or sweaty not sure which or both. It's a very popular route and you will be in the company of many people. Once we arrived at the Potato Chip I decided not to jump because I was already slipping on the rock because it was sprinkling. It's best to climb it when it's dry or risk slipping into the crevice.
Written May 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TrMarek
968 contributions
Jul 2022 • Couples
We stayed in SD & Ubered it to the Mt. Woodson parking lot (reservoir trail entrance) $40.
You walk around the reservoir at the beginning and start ascending after that. Very dry but well marked trail. We brought plenty of water but I was sucking on Halls candy all the way up & drank very little. Up & down with pics took 4 hours. The boulders give the trail character & the views are spectacular! We were lucky, we had the potato chip to ourselves for 19 min when we arrived.
Written July 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jason G
Baltimore, MD680 contributions
Aug 2020
Pretty hike, even on the shorter 4 mile route up the access road. People seem to be pretty courteous and helpful with getting pics at the rock so the wait didn't seem that long even though it was probably longer in reality than I realized. Getting out to the ledge isn't as difficult as coming back down, but both require a bit of scrambling and nerves at times, so be sure to have good shoes and a bit of a sense of adventure.
Written August 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

cyberdiver2018
Banff National Park, Canada51 contributions
Feb 2020 • Friends
Rocky but doable hike of about 3.5 miles one way depending on your start location. Four and five star ratings between intermediate to advanced. A spectacular view of Poway valley well worth the effort. One you’ll want to repeat again and again. The super unusual natural formation is one of a kind. Pictures are a must!
Written February 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jeffrey M
9 contributions
Nov 2018 • Solo
I am a reserve park ranger at Lake Poway and would like hikers to know there are two different trails to reach Potato Chip Rock. One can take up to four hours and the other just two hours, so it can make a difference if they are pinched for time. The longer trail starts at the Lake Poway parking lot and is easily marked, but please note the park closes at dusk and gates are locked. If your car gets locked in you may have to come back the next morning to pick it up. The shorter trail is easy to get to and is only a two hour hike. To get there, use a GPS app for directions to the CAL FIRE Ramona Fire Station, on Hwy. 67, which is near the trailhead. if you don't have an app, here are directions. From Lake Poway, take Lake Poway Road a half mile from the lake to Espola Road. Turn left on Espola Road and drive 2.8 miles to Poway Road. Take a left and drive 2.6 miles to Hwy. 67. Take another left on Hwy. 67 and drive 3 miles, turning left on Mt. Woodson Road. Park near the CAL FIRE Ramona Fire Station. If parking spots are filled, go back on Hwy. 67, turn right and find a parking spot on the highway. There are usually plenty of hikers' cars parked on this section of the highway so not hard to find. The longer trail has a bigger payoff because of the views going up and down. These views include the lake, dam and sometimes the coast. The shorter trail just has views at the top of the trail. Hope this has been hopeful.
Written November 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Beth G
Poway, CA8 contributions
Apr 2018 • Friends
Most people know about the paved road up from the 67 and the trail from Lake Poway, but the most beautiful and easiest way is the Fry-Koegel Trail. It starts off the 67, just north of the Mt. Woodson paved (and very steep) route, but takes the back way around. Park behind where the cars are parked for the Mt. Woodson route. You get incredible views, manzanita trees, chapparal, and shaded areas. It is much shorter than the Lake Poway trail and easier than the Mt. Woodson way. We took the F-K trail up to Potato Chip Rock and then went back the MW paved road, which took us back to where we parked (between the 2 trailheads). Here are the coordinates for the Fry-Koegel trailhead N33 00.670 W116 57.270.
Written April 21, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Potato Chip Rock (Poway) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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