San Diego: Woodson Mountain via Lake Poway

Jack up your heart rate on this 6.4-mile out-and-back past giant boulders to a sun-baked peak with incredible ocean-to-mountain views.

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Mapped by Rajeev Jain


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.1



Location: 33.0046310424805, -117.012603759766

Head E around S shore of Lake Poway (1,020 ft.) on trail closest to shore


Location: 33.0038681030273, -117.00700378418

Sandy beach to L; cross bridge over small stream and head N, looking for small trail on R to connect to jeep road heading SE


Location: 33.0046310424805, -117.005699157715

Turn L @ Y onto Mt. Woodson Trail for steep ascent along dry gully


Location: 33.0053405761719, -117.001098632812

L @ T; continue steep ascent along gully stocked with rounded, room-sized boulders (good for roped climbing)


Location: 33.0044097900391, -116.994400024414

Straight @ 3-way; Coast live oak and chaparral zone transitions to chamise and sage


Location: 33.0041198730469, -116.993698120117

Straight @ 3-way


Location: 33.0038681030273, -116.991600036621

Stay L; trail levels @ saddle peering over rocky seam of Warren Canyon before 800-ft. climb on steep, tight switchbacks


Location: 33.0082092285156, -116.987701416016

R @ Y; follow ridge, winding through more boulder piles. Locals say these bone-white rock formations were named “Mountain of Moonlit Rocks” by Indians


Location: 33.0083923339844, -116.981468200684

False summit; continue E for last 400 feet


Location: 33.0091590881348, -116.973899841309

Woodson Mtn. (2894 ft.): Panoramas stretch from Laguna Mtns. over downtown into the Pacific and to San Clemente Island. Backtrack to car

Diving Board Rock

Location: 33.0090713500977, -116.978240966797

Years of peeling layers has left this rock suspended in a springboard formation. ©Rajeev Jain