Hiking Mt. Woodson

This mountain’s correct name is actaully Woodson Mountain, after a homesteader that lived at its base over a hundred years ago. Woodson is one of the premier rock climbing spots in San Diego County. It is the rocky peak behind Poway with the many antennas, visible from just about any part of the county on a clear day, and dominating the North County skyline. With it being so much in our face all the time, it is hard for me to believe that the last time I hiked Woodson was in 1993.

I went on New Year’s Day and I got a late start, around noon. I picked one of the longer routes up, starting at the boat ramp on Lake Poway, where there is plenty of parking and much ongoing recreational activity, from fishing to pleasure boating to picnicking. The trail to Woodson from there is a little hard to find.

You need to know to go on Lake Poway loop trail, follow it counterclockwise around the lake and then pick up the Mt. Woodson trail when you see the signs. You can see by the little detour down by the lake that I picked up in the wrong direction,  going west, before I figured out I needed to stay along the lake.

From the boat ramp to the peak it is about 4 miles. The descriptions of the trail all say 2.9 miles, but it takes 1.1 miles to walk around the lake before you get to the start of the actual trail. The elevation change is 1800 feet, and it’s straigt up. There are not many flat sections. After you are halfway up you are in a completely different universe. Yes, you see roads, freeways, estates and city all around, but on the mountain you are in wilderness, rough wilderness that is. It was hard for me to fathom that I only drove 10 minutes from my front door to the trailhead, and after 20 minutes of hiking I was out there in nature. As always, I promised myself to do this much more often.

The hike took two hours up and two hours down, which included plenty of time to stop, look around, take a few pictures and, yes, take a breather. This hike is exercise, make no mistake about it.

The trail is very well maintained. It’s not a particularly rocky or hard trail, but it’s steep and steady.

Looking down from the top I saw last week’s hike to the south – Iron Mountain.

Iron Mountain from the top of Woodson

Looking west, there is home, the blue arrow annotating where our house is.

Looking Toward Home (Rancho Bernardo) from Woodson

Of course, looking southwest, there is downtown San Diego in the distance, about 35 miles away.

Downtown San Diego from Woodson

On the peak, there is the famous rock sliver (annotated). I wanted to climb onto it, but there was nobody to take my picture, so I let the urge pass.

Peak of Mt. Woodson

This was an excellent way to spend New Year’s Day.

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