Potato Chip Rock, an 8-mile hike located north of San Diego in Ramona, is a mostly uphill but not too difficult climb with a great place for pictures at the top. You can hike up to the peak to see the famous “potato chip” cliff that everyone poses on, and then continue down the trail or go back the way you came returning to the parking area. Although it’s mostly uphill it’s not extremely steep, and I was encouraged seeing little kids and dogs trekking up and doing just fine. However, like most hikes in Southern California, it can be very hot and dry. There are a few spots of shade, but it’s best to bring lots of water and go on a cooler day.
The hike generally takes about 3 to 4 hours, but can vary based on your own personal ambition. Don’t forget a camera! At the top there will most likely be a line of people waiting to get their pictures taken on the dramatic Potato Chip ledge, for which the hike gets its name.
There is parking at the bottom of the mountain. You can park along the road too, as there are rarely available spots. Additional parking can be found for $10 at the Lake Poway parking lot adjacent to the park. If you park here you will start the hike at the Mt Woodson trailhead. Dogs on leashes are allowed and this hike is family (but not stroller) friendly.
I personally didn’t find the hike exceedingly challenging. The incline makes for an effective workout, but there’s no need to shy away from this trail if you’re not an avid hiker!
If you’re stopping into San Diego anytime soon, you’ve got to visit Ocean Beach. OB is directly under both Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. It also has an atmosphere that makes it entirely unique from the two. While PB has a great bar scene and Mission is a family beach, OB takes the cake in the eclectic hippie vibe, making it possibly my favorite beach in San Diego. Equipped with graffiti, hippie vans, and acai bowls, the Ocean Beach scene is different to any other beach and yet is also representative of San Diego’s laid back culture making this a spot a must see while on vacation. It is also home to Sunset Cliffs, a drop off hill where you can park your car and watch the sun set behind crashing waves. When I visited Ocean Beach I ate at the OB Noodle House Bar. This Asian fusion restaurant was delicious and wait time was only 20 minutes, giving me a chance to walk around and see the sights. There are many interesting spots, such as thrift stores, a record shop, a hostel painted tie-dye, and even a communal organic garden. I’m planning on spending a weekend in the hostel when the weather gets warmer so check back for a review on that too!
I’d recommend Mission Beach for families with young kids because of the arcade and rides. I’d recommend Pacific Beach or La Jolla for those seeking a more upscale experience. But for those who enjoy the au natural hippie scene or want to take a step outside of the norm, Ocean Beach is an adventure that will welcome you with open arms.