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We tried to find the east end of the Mt. Woodson Trail as described in Jerry Schad's book, but to no avail. I suspect it exists, but God only knows how to find it. We tried parking at the saddle on SR67 about half a mile south of the Mt. Woodson Road. The paved road leads to private property, while the dirt spur near the highway led to a bunch of gravel piles and then a thin trail that started down a creek drainage. There was evidence of pruning along the way, but it quickly grew overgrown and I backed out. We tried the next turnout further down the road towards the SW on the opposite side of the highway. I looked over the roadway on the Woodson side, but could see no evidence of a trail. There were some homes down in the canyon, but getting to them looked an arduous bushwhack. I couldn't find the tailings described by Schad that marked the TH. I don't think the connecting trail (to the Iron Mtn TH) was ever built as he suggested would happen.
Plan B was to hike up the Mt. Woodson Road, trip #4 in that section of Jerry's book. The trick there is that you can't drive up the road, even part way. Find the fire station just north of the road along SR67 and park outside the fire station along the highway. A crude sign at the entrance to the fire station directs you left along a wide path that leads to the gated Mt. Woodson Road.
Most people seem to take the road to the summit. Climber trails are rampant throughout the area and can be used to make the hike more interesting. My 10yr-old loved the scrambling we found there. Almost all of it is on the left (south) side of the road as you ascend. There was some mild bushwhacking that made for a good introduction for him. He really had a blast.
There are many climbing possibilities and some very large rocks in this area. Almost all of the climbs are short, half pitch wonders. Some are quite challenging. The rock is granite, but not all of it is solid. Some is even polished, so you can get quite a mix of quality.
The summit is topped with communication towers, so you can't get a 360 view of anything. There are some nice rocks to scramble on for views around various parts of the summit however, so it was still fun. There are some very large rocks at the top that are class 5. We weren't prepared to climb any of these. I thought we were going to have to leave the highpoint unclimbed until we discovered the highest is the easternmost (east of the radio towers) one that I would rate easy class 4. My son did fine on this, though I was quite nervous while I was spotting him. The top of this rock is crowned with a concrete cistern or some such nonsense from a bygone day. He was pretty thrilled to climb it nonetheless.
After we returned to the van, we drove west about five miles to climb nearby Twin Peaks. The trick here is trying to find a trailhead. From the summit there are obvious places, but from street level it was hard to find a way to get near. Much of it is on private property in the hands of developers who have put in streets, utilities and sewers, but have not yet built up the houses. The homes in this area are on the mega-rich scale, upwards of 10,000sq ft (the homes, not the land), and almost none of the roads go through as you near the base of the mountain. We ended up parking on Summit Drive up the hill from Poway High School on the NE side, then walking up the only driveway that didn't lead to a home, hopped a fence, followed a bridal trail until we reached the paved roads on the adjacent development, followed the paved roads for half a mile, then found a use trail / fireroad that took us to the summit. There looked to be more accessible trails on the west and south sides of the peak. Though not very high, the views were still pretty good from the summit, especially if you like looking down on suburban Poway and some of the very deluxe homes. Ryan pointed out the high number of private tennis courts visible from the summit. We returned the same way to the van.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Woodson Mountain
This page last updated: Sun Nov 25 19:18:36 2012
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