As a native San Diegan, I’ve watched throughout the years as many of my friends’ Facebook profile pages have changed to various poses of them on top of a thin rock with a blue sky in the background and, what appeared to be nothing underneath them.
The first time I saw it, I was skeptical. I’m pretty sure I found out the name of the rock (and eventually the name of the trail) by Googling “Rock in San Diego that looks Photoshopped.” Ha!
Well, it’s real and there are no tricks involved. You really are standing on top of a huge, super thin rock that looks that peeks over the edge of the mountain.
Potato Chip rock is (almost) at the top of Mt. Woodson Trail in Poway, California. The hike takes about two hours to complete the loop (three if you plan on stopping a lot).
I highly recommend making the trek, but before you do, here’s a few tips to help you prepare:
1) The hike is an 8 mile loop. On your way up, it’s 99% uphill. I’m not exaggerating: I read blogs of people talking about this beforehand and the New Yorker in me that walks 1-5 miles a day mocked them (sorry, San Diegans). It’s not a hard hike, but it is LONG. Prepare accordingly: train if you think you should, wear proper attire (hiking boots are pretty much a necessity).
2) Speaking of: Bring a lot of water. My hiking buddy Yvonne brought a Camelback and I was pretty jealous.
3) Wear sunglasses. They don’t just protect your eyes from the sun but also serve as a pretty good shield for the dust.
4) Go to the bathroom before you start your hike. There’s a public bathroom and it’s actually really clean. Trust me on this one; you’ll thank me later.
5) Be prepared for what’s at the top.
• While hiking up, you’ll pretty much be on your own (don’t worry, the trail is very clearly marked and pretty much impossible to get lost on) but once you’re at the top, you’ll be surrounded by a lot of people. So take some time to think about what pose you want to do beforehand!
5) Stop and enjoy the scenery! Getting to the top and seeing Potato Chip Rock is awesome, but some of my favorite moments were when Yvonne and I stopped to take photos and talk on our way up. My favorite rock is actually a view on the opposite side of the mountain (the side you climb up on) where you can stop, relax and enjoy a view of San Diego (you can see all the way to the ocean as well as downtown SD in the distance).