A climber at Potato Chip Rock near Ramona.
A climber at Potato Chip Rock near Ramona. Image via YouTube.com

County supervisors Wednesday unanimously approved upgrades to a popular hiking spot near the community of Ramona and the city of Poway.

Located west of state Route 67, the Mount Woodson Gateway County Preserve has several trails, including one leading to Potato Chip Rock, a noted tourist spot.

Planned improvements include a 209-vehicle parking lot, signage, a solar-powered entry gate and lighting, trash and recycling receptacles, and portable restrooms. The $3.5 million project should be completed by the end of this year, according to the county Department of Parks & Recreation.

Visitors to Mount Woodson now park their vehicles on the side of Route 67, which creates safety issues, parks officials said.

In 2019, the county purchased the 84 acres next to the highway, as part its Multiple Species Conservation Program, setting aside 9 acres for the upgrade.

The hiking area is adjacent to a housing development, and several homeowners voiced concerns about hikers possibly wandering on to their properties.

A representative of the Mount Woodson Homeowners Association said homeowners have dealt with trash, noise and minor property damage.

“Everybody loves the hikers but (homeowners) want to discourage any additional trespassing,” she added.

DPR officials said the county will monitor trail areas to ensure people don’t trespass onto nearby homes.

Supervisor Joel Anderson also pushed for stronger county enforcement of the hiking area and better signage, and said he hoped that would be acceptable to homeowners.

Anderson said along with better safety, the preserve upgrades would also increase the value of nearby homes.

“I can’t tell you have many offices I’ve gone into, where there’s a picture of Potato Chip Rock,” he added.