Hiking Trails – Potato Chip Rock via Hwy 67

Trail Name: Potato Chip Rock via Hwy 67
Location: 16310 Highway 67, Romona, California
Mountain: Woodson Mountain
Distance:  4.1 mile (6.5 km)
Trail Type: Out and Back
Trailhead Elevation: 1770 ft (539 m)
Rock Elevation: 2,900 feet (884 m)
Gain/Loss:  +1220 ft ( 372 m)
Rating: Moderate

Potato Chip Rock is a natural tourist attraction near San Diego, California. The rock is thin and more than 7 feet long, and it looks as if it is about to fall. It is located on the Mt. Woodson summit and is famous for resembling a potato chip. It is located in an unincorporated part of San Diego County between Poway and Ramona. There is no drinking water, toilet facilities, or rangers along any route to Potato Chip Rock. At least 400,000 hikers visit this San Diego open preserve each year.

The rock is located at the top of the mountain, at an elevation between 2700 and 2800 ft. The hike to the rock takes approximately three to four hours. Potato Chip Rock sits 100 yards below the summit. One popular way to reach the rock is through a 6.6-mile round trip hike from the Lake Poway trailhead to the west. There are two other popular routes to the top that start on the east side of Mount Woodson. A short route begins from free parking areas along Route 67, with an entrance at 16310 Highway 67, and follows Mt. Woodson Road up to the rock. This 4.1 mile round-trip hike is paved and steep. The Fry-Kogel trail is the third route to the rock, and is about 4 miles long.

In fact this chip became more popular with instgram influencers and attracted more out of state visitors to this hike. We took the 4.1 shorter but steeper route during summer of 2021. There is no trail head parking. You have to park it by the curbside on Highway 67 and take the well shaded dirt path till you reach the well paved trail. Not much of the shade but plenty of awesome views.

Screen grab of the tweet

Interesting side story:

In 2017, the rock was used as an April Fools’ Day prank by Poway Mayor Steve Vaus in 2017.[9] In a tweet, he wrote that part of the rock had snapped off and fallen into Lake Poway below. He even added a picture for “proof”. 😜

Rocky Woodson Mountain

If you find this page useful, please feel free to visit our California Hiking page to explore our other California hikes.

Happy Hiking & Exploring!