Monday, October 14, 2013

Mt. Woodson to Big Sky Ecological Reserve Poway, California October 8, 2013

                      Map of Woodson and Lake Poway showing the trails

Recently while visiting my family in Rancho Bernardo, California, I have done more research on hiking in the San Diego area.  What I have found is that suburban San Diego has a wealth of hiking most of which I have overlooked during my life. Last December I hiked up Iron Mountain and Bernardo Mountain. These hikes were very rewarding and gave great views.

 This time I am going to hike from Highway 67 to Espola Road through Blue Sky Reserve.  This is a one-way hike so a shuttle is necessary. The hike is 8 plus miles with approximately 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Route finding is minimal but hikers do need to read the trail signs. The approach to Mount Woodson on the eastern side is an old fire road. The road is used by maintenance workers who maintain the transmission towers at the top.

 At the top hikers can see downtown San Diego and the ocean. Make sure to stay away from the towers and structures. Today the view was obscured by haze, smog and a cloud bank off the coast. While on top I also explored the many boulders some of which are the size of two story houses. The  trail down the western side to Lake Poway is straightforward but also hot with Chaparral, Manzanita and Ceanothus as the dominant vegetation.   At Lake Poway follow The Lake Poway Recreational Trail around the eastern side of the lake to the main trail in Blue Sky. Blue Sky is a welcome respite from the heat because of its Coast Live Oaks and Sycamores however, watch out for Poison Oak which is everywhere. (My camera stopped working at the start of the hike so these photos were compliments of Google Images. All other photos on this blog unless noted I took).

Special Considerations: Bring plenty of water, wear a hat and sunscreen. There is not a lot of shade especially on the western side of the mountain.This is rattlesnake country so keep an eye out for them. Remember they are an integral part of the ecosystem so leave them alone.This is also Mountain Lion country so consider hiking in groups.

                                                  Trail up the western side

                                          Blue Sky Reserve

                                       Lake Poway

                                           View from the top