Hiking in San Diego: The Potato Chip

san diego hikes, potato chip hike, potato chip san diego, best hike southern california, mr and mrs adventure, This past weekend Drew and I went to San Diego to celebrate our friend’s recent engagement <3 On Saturday evening we enjoyed some of the best sushi we have ever had at Harney Sushi (check in on Yelp or FourSquare for a FREE small sake!), and on Sunday, once everyone was up and running, we went out for brunch at Hob Nob Hill, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It was absolutely delicious and they serve complimentary coffee! Gotta love that.

After debating various activities for us to embark on that afternoon, our friends settled on taking us to hike to the famous “Potato Chip,” which is a super thin slab of rock that, you guessed it, looks like an awesome, giant potato chip! The Potato Chip sits atop Mount Woodson, which is about 40 minutes North East of San Diego.

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There are 2 different routes you can take when hiking to the potato chip. The longer route has you park at Lake Poway Park, which costs $4, and makes for an 8 mile loop along a dirt trail(map). The other route, the one we took, has you park along the shoulder ofΒ  CA-67, near the Hedy Drive intersection, and makes for a slightly shorter loop on a paved trail (map). This route also offers opportunities to rock climb and boulder, which the other route does not provide. You can find excellently detailed driving instructions and rock climbing tips here.

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Once we parked, we grabbed our bouldering gear, water and snacks and hiked for about a mile before we reached the actual trail head. Hiking to the Potato Chip is a pretty strenuous hike, we were fine, but we definitely passed some unhappy campers. Make sure to bring along sunscreen or a hat, and plenty of water and snacks. Clif Bars and KIND Bars rock! Although we did make note that Pringles would be highly appropriate for this hike :)

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Getting to the top can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending. Once you reach the top, you will notice a meaty collection of satellite towers, don’t give them too much attention though. If you take the route that we did, go to the left of these towers, climb atop any of the numerous boulders presented and enjoy the view. The landscape is unusual and completely breathtaking, it’s what I imagine BedRock would look like in real life lol.

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Continuing along the path, which veers down and to the right, you will find yourself face-to-face with the famed Potato Chip rock! If you go on a clear, San Diego weekend, there might be a little bit of a line to get on the Chip , but it’s really just another chance to take in the awesomeness that surrounds you.

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We had no idea that the Potato Chip was going to be as cool, and intimidating, as it was! Originally I was set on doing a solo headstand until I got up there and realized that the Chip was tilted and the wind was mega strong. I opted for a supported head stand and then Drew and I hopped on the edge of the chip to hang ten and chill in the breeze. The Potato Chip is literally 2-inches thick along the edge, so thin that you can hear your footsteps echo! Weird feeling.

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Hiking down the trail is definitely a lot easier, and faster too. We thoroughly enjoyed our hike to the Potato Chip and recommend that you put it on your must-do list the next time you are in San Diego, we are definitely glad we did!san diego hikes, potato chip hike, potato chip san diego, best hike southern california

4 thoughts on “Hiking in San Diego: The Potato Chip

  1. Hi, I was just wondering if you think this hike can be done by a 38 week pregnant girl?? She’s planning on going for it this weekend. I heard it’s hard to get on top of the potato chip rock? She wants a picture on it!

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    • While we admire her sense of adventure, I would not recommend it for her at this time. While the hike up is pretty strenuous in itself, the part that I am most thinking of is right before you get on the Potato Chip. There is a huge gap right before the Potato Chip rock that you either have to jump (NOT recommended) or wedge your self down into and climb back up and out of. It’s an awesome scene and photo op, but I recommend she can wait until after the baby and someone can hand her the little one once she has made it up onto the Potato Chip. I hope that helps and I am so glad you reached out! Have a beautiful week :)

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  2. In an effort to shorten the total time for the hike, is it possible to bike from the parking lot to the base of the mountain and then hike up? From my calculations, the parking lot to the base is about 1 mile, so that would take some serious time off the trek. My big question is, “Do you know if there’s a place to lock the bikes up near the base of the climb?” Thanks!

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    • Great question! You could certainly do this to shorten the time of the hike- I can’t remember if there is something exactly at the base of the mountain to lock your bike to, however I do believe there will be a sign post near the base that you could lock it to. I think it’s worth a shot, let us know what you find!

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