Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Varied habitats, outstanding views

Add five strenuous miles to get to Potato Chip Rock.

Many trails radiate from Lake Poway’s grassy, manicured core. This is the entrance.
Many trails radiate from Lake Poway’s grassy, manicured core. This is the entrance.
Place

Lake Poway Recreation Area

14644 Lake Poway Road, Poway

The Lake Poway Recreational Area is a great place to enjoy favorite outdoor activities — from fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking to hiking on one of the many trails that radiate from its grassy, manicured core. The trail described here is a loop that not only goes around the lake but also passes through varied native habitats and offers outstanding views. The lake is a reservoir, holding drinking water for the City of Poway, and swimming is not permitted, but boating and fishing are.

Ideally, leave your vehicle in the southeasterly most parking area to begin the hike, although it may be difficult to find an open parking spot on busy weekends. The Lake Poway trail begins at the southeast end of the parking area and continues in a counter-clockwise direction around the lake. The first trail segment is on a bluff overlooking the lake. It goes up a north-facing canyon through fairly dense chaparral, with laurel sumac, scrub oaks, a few coast live oaks, mission manzanita, and broom baccharis. Wildflowers may include California poppy, cream cups, white sage, sun cups, and caterpillar phacelia in season.

After about half a mile, the trail makes a nearly 90-degree turn toward the north and continues along the eastern side of the lake. This southwest-facing slope receives more direct sunlight and is hotter and dryer as a result. The vegetation here is typical of sage scrub, with abundant California sagebrush, flattop buckwheat, black sage, golden yarrow, California matchweed, telegraph weed, and San Diego goldenbush. At slightly less than a mile into the hike, the trail forks. Keep to the left to continue your hike around the lake but avoid descending to the shoreline fisherman’s trail, which is not continuous. The right branch leads up to Potato Chip Rock and the top of Mt. Woodson, which you could explore, but it will add about 5 strenuous miles to the hike.

The Lake Poway Loop trail rises progressing northwest toward the dam, cresting as it rounds the restricted area near the dam. It then descends through a series of switchbacks to the canyon bottom near the foot of the dam. The trail again forks. The trail to the left will go back up the hillside on the west side of the dam and on to the recreation area’s concession stands, not far from the parking area. Before returning to the parking area, however, take a short hike down the trail on the right, heading to Blue Sky Reserve. The Lake Poway Campground and Picnic Area is about 0.10 mile down this path. Camping is no longer allowed and it is now strictly a day-use area. However, it offers cool shade among coast live oaks, as well as picnic tables, drinking water, restroom facilities, and is a good place to rest before the climb up the hill to get back to your vehicle.

  • Distance from downtown San Diego: About 30 miles. Allow 30 minutes (Poway). Take CA-163N and I-15N, exiting on Rancho Bernardo Rd. Go east on Rancho Bernardo Road, which becomes Espola Road when it enters Poway. Approximately 4.5 miles from I-15, make a left on Lake Poway Rd. The recreation area parking lot is at the end of Lake Poway Rd., in less than a mile. Parking is free for Poway residents and for everyone on weekdays, but there is an $8 charge for non-resident parking on weekends. It is open from 6 a.m. to dusk daily.
  • Hiking length: 2.7-mile loop. Allow 1.5 hours.
  • Difficulty: Moderately strenuous with a few steep sections, despite long stretches of relatively flat trails. Carry water, as much of the trail offers no relief from the sun on hot days. Trails are open to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and leashed dogs. Full facilities including a snack bar in the landscaped park area. Porta-potties are also found along the trail but not water.
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Stuck between two cuisines

Sushi vs BBQ
Next Article

The unsinkable Linda Broyles

“I mean, when they said I couldn’t go home, I could see Coronado!”
Many trails radiate from Lake Poway’s grassy, manicured core. This is the entrance.
Many trails radiate from Lake Poway’s grassy, manicured core. This is the entrance.
Place

Lake Poway Recreation Area

14644 Lake Poway Road, Poway

The Lake Poway Recreational Area is a great place to enjoy favorite outdoor activities — from fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking to hiking on one of the many trails that radiate from its grassy, manicured core. The trail described here is a loop that not only goes around the lake but also passes through varied native habitats and offers outstanding views. The lake is a reservoir, holding drinking water for the City of Poway, and swimming is not permitted, but boating and fishing are.

Ideally, leave your vehicle in the southeasterly most parking area to begin the hike, although it may be difficult to find an open parking spot on busy weekends. The Lake Poway trail begins at the southeast end of the parking area and continues in a counter-clockwise direction around the lake. The first trail segment is on a bluff overlooking the lake. It goes up a north-facing canyon through fairly dense chaparral, with laurel sumac, scrub oaks, a few coast live oaks, mission manzanita, and broom baccharis. Wildflowers may include California poppy, cream cups, white sage, sun cups, and caterpillar phacelia in season.

After about half a mile, the trail makes a nearly 90-degree turn toward the north and continues along the eastern side of the lake. This southwest-facing slope receives more direct sunlight and is hotter and dryer as a result. The vegetation here is typical of sage scrub, with abundant California sagebrush, flattop buckwheat, black sage, golden yarrow, California matchweed, telegraph weed, and San Diego goldenbush. At slightly less than a mile into the hike, the trail forks. Keep to the left to continue your hike around the lake but avoid descending to the shoreline fisherman’s trail, which is not continuous. The right branch leads up to Potato Chip Rock and the top of Mt. Woodson, which you could explore, but it will add about 5 strenuous miles to the hike.

The Lake Poway Loop trail rises progressing northwest toward the dam, cresting as it rounds the restricted area near the dam. It then descends through a series of switchbacks to the canyon bottom near the foot of the dam. The trail again forks. The trail to the left will go back up the hillside on the west side of the dam and on to the recreation area’s concession stands, not far from the parking area. Before returning to the parking area, however, take a short hike down the trail on the right, heading to Blue Sky Reserve. The Lake Poway Campground and Picnic Area is about 0.10 mile down this path. Camping is no longer allowed and it is now strictly a day-use area. However, it offers cool shade among coast live oaks, as well as picnic tables, drinking water, restroom facilities, and is a good place to rest before the climb up the hill to get back to your vehicle.

  • Distance from downtown San Diego: About 30 miles. Allow 30 minutes (Poway). Take CA-163N and I-15N, exiting on Rancho Bernardo Rd. Go east on Rancho Bernardo Road, which becomes Espola Road when it enters Poway. Approximately 4.5 miles from I-15, make a left on Lake Poway Rd. The recreation area parking lot is at the end of Lake Poway Rd., in less than a mile. Parking is free for Poway residents and for everyone on weekdays, but there is an $8 charge for non-resident parking on weekends. It is open from 6 a.m. to dusk daily.
  • Hiking length: 2.7-mile loop. Allow 1.5 hours.
  • Difficulty: Moderately strenuous with a few steep sections, despite long stretches of relatively flat trails. Carry water, as much of the trail offers no relief from the sun on hot days. Trails are open to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, and leashed dogs. Full facilities including a snack bar in the landscaped park area. Porta-potties are also found along the trail but not water.
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Sanctified and glorified at Encanto Southern Baptist Church

Life is important on this side of death, but what really matters is eternity.
Next Article

Oceanside Democrats feud over membership

Club stacking just part of growing pains?
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close