Summits: 1340

November 2, 2010

Woodson (SDC #48, 2901′) • mapdirections

Mt. Woodson is a popular mountain in Poway, easily recognizable with its unique shape and tower covered summit. There are two main trails on Mt. Woodson, the more popular approach via a paved service road from the east, and a longer trail with more elevation gain from Poway Lake on the west. I’d visited Woodson several times before, having been up the trail on the west a few years ago, and most of the way up the road on the east several times to do some rock climbing on Mt. Woodsons giant boulders. I’d much prefer the trail on the west when the summit is the objective, but this time out would be an after work hike and Lake Poway would be closed, so Anna and I planned on heading up the easier route from the east.

It was already dark when we parked on the shoulder of Highway 67, but there were quite a few cars parked near the California Forestry fire station, the starting point for the hike. We hiked on a single track dirt trail parallel to the highway for a quarter mile before turning right onto the paved service road running to Woodson’s summit. We passed by a few houses while we started to gain elevation, crossing paths with a handful of hiking groups on their way down. The paved road switches back and forth, weaving around the enormous boulders covering the east side of Mt. Woodson, which we followed all the way to the enormous array of towers on Woodson’s summit I eyed what I thought was the high point, a 20 foot tall rounded boulder seemingly void of any holds, beyond what I was willing to climb without a rope, not that it mattered too much anyhow. Anna and I strolled back down the same route, passing another few groups of hikers on their way up.

Its worth mentioning that Mt Woodson has a rich rock climbing history, with some of rock climbing’s greats (including some of Yosemite’s pioneers) developing routes on the east side of Mt. Woodson in the 1960s and 70s, and lots of other notable activity throughout the 80s and early 90s. With its highball boulder problems and challenging crack climbs, its an awesome and unique place to rock climb, with literally hundreds of routes on the high quality house-sized boulders littering the mountain.

The photos below are from various hikes/climbs on Woodson.




The road on Mt. Woodson’s west side



The cave



Jeff on Rockwork Orange





Woodson stats: 3.4 miles roundtrip, 1200 feet gain/loss