Hiking Tooth Rock Mountain

March 9, 2008 at 9:12 am 24 comments


San Diego’s field of California Poppies, at Tooth Rock Trail, Poway.

Thanks to my student, Tommy, for showing me how to get to this wonderful trail. Last week, we hiked Iron Mountain, and on our way home, down Poway Road, I saw colorful hills, sparkling with yellow, gold and purple colors. But we did not see any trail, at least from Poway Road. It looked so near yet so far since we did not know where to park and if there is a trail. What a pleasant surprise to know that, yes, there is a trail, called “Tooth Rock.”  


Tooth Rock has many branching trails. There are level trails, and there are some trails that go uphill, but the slopes are more gentle, at least compared to Iron Mountain and the latter part of Woodson Mountain from Lake Poway. These two mountains can be seen from this trail. 


I am not sure if there is a trail here that connects to Woodson Mountain, since it looks like  there is one, but we just did not go far enough in that direction since we went up Tooth Rock peak instead. The trails are wide enough, also for horseback riders. This trail is not as popular as Iron Mountain or Woodson Mountain nearby, for there are very few hikers here. The peacefulness and solitude in the midst of poppies, lupines, phacelias, among others  are truly mother nature’s wonderful treat.


The very few people I crossed path with in the trail are either the locals with their dogs, and photographers who bring with them large cameras and tripods. The trail here can be short or long. If one is only after the wildflowers, in just less than a mile from the trail head, the exploding colors will treat your eyes right away, and maybe, will take your breath away! 


However, I believe that the wildflower display will awe and inspire you to keep on going and moving, enjoying the wildflower field that surrounds your hike. The trail can be flat or uphill, short or long, depending on which one you will take. You will be in between hills or in a canyon that are mostly covered with spring colors. When I moved to San Diego 4 years ago, I was not as paying attention to the beauty around. I therefore missed the wonderful wildflower display of 2005. But since hiking has awakened me to our beautiful world in the backroads, every winter, I pray for rain to come 🙂 and always hope for a good wildflower bloom. 


The colorful display of wildflowers in this trail did not only take my breath away, but my words away 🙂 . Right now, I find it hard to find words to describe this trail 😦 . But let me say, this is truly a wonderful trail for wildflower lovers, and for nature lovers. It is nice to experience how nature recuperates herself after a wildfire, since the wildflowers here mixes with burned bushes and trees.Here are some more pictures from the trail,

1) Looking up Tooth Rock,


2) Trail curving around Tooth Rock Mountain 


3) Looking down from the top of Tooth Rock 


4) Can you identify Poway Road at the edge of the opposite cliff? View from near the top of Tooth Rock, with lots of golden poppies.


5) Lone yucca, California poppies, phacelias, among others.


6) Nature’s Flower Arrangement that caught my admiring eye. 



Spring is now here, hit the trails and enjoy the wildflowers while they still last. But remember mother nature needs us to help her to take care of herself. 

Note: Pictures above were taken March 8, 2008, for a more recent description and pictures, please click https://betchaitluc.wordpress.com/2008/03/29/life-continues-to-bloom-even-as-the-wildflowers-waned/


Entry filed under: hiking, poppy field, poway, san diego, wildflowers.

Joshua Tree National Park After the fire

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. donnoyet  |  March 9, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Very gorgeous. We will check this out today. One thig we werent sure was..how long the hike was and how far?

    “Thanks a lot. There are several branching trails in that area, and we really have not tried all of them. The hike to the wildflower fields from the trailhead is really not that long. To the top of the Tooth Rock maybe just 1.5 miles on about 500 ft plus or minus change in elevation. There are trails that looked like going to Woodson, that could be a lot longer, but we have not completed it. But whatever trail you’ll take, there are just wildflowers everywhere. I hope you’ll like it and will have a wonderful time.”

  • 2. Ben  |  March 11, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    I grew up in San Diego and even hiked on some of the trails in the area, but I never realized there was such a beautiful display of Califorina Poppies each year. Thanks for giving directions. If I’m back visiting family in the spring, I’ll be sure to go on this hike. These are wonderful shots. I particularly like the low angle of some of them.

    Thanks, Ben.

  • 3. Ray  |  March 11, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    Hi, thanks for the amazing pictures. Could you tell us where exactly the trail head is located? What’s the cross street? any sign near by?

    I tried to google this trail, but the closest search result is Twin Peak trail, which I suppose is not the same one.

    Many thanks.

    Thanks, Ray. Yes, Twin Peaks Trail is different from Tooth Rock trail. It is by Rattlesnake Canyon/Creek that can be seen from Poway Road. Will email the directions.

  • 4. richard  |  March 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    So…the pictures are beautiful. Now where exacdtly it the trailhead and the parking fo rit. I, too,. cannot find it by any googling
    MAny thanks

    :), Thanks Richard. Tooth Rock is part of Rattlesnake Canyon that can be seen from Poway Rd west of highway 67. Here is a link to the topo map of Rattlesnake canyon, http://www.lat-long.com/ShowDetail-76275-California-Rattlesnake_Canyon.html. I’ll email the directions.

  • 5. heidi cascio  |  March 16, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    After seeing your great photos last week, my two girlfriends and I went out Saturday morning, but could not find Tooth Rock. Thinking it would be close enough, we hiked Goodan Ranch, but there aren’t any flowers there. The ranger said because they had planted the valley with vegetables, there were no wild flowers. Could you tell me how to get to Tooth Rock so we can go out again this weekend? Thanks so much! Heidi

    Hi Heidi, Goodan Ranch is also a good hike but it is quite far from Tooth Rock. Tooth Rock is by Rattlesnake Canyon, the canyon you will see on your right wen you drive down Poway Rd from Highway 67. It is already about 4:40 pm now, the poppies may no longer be fully open. I hope you got my email about directions.

  • 6. netta  |  March 19, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Hi, Would you mind forwarding directions to Tooth Rock? The link two messages above doesn’t seem to work. We would like to hike the trails, too, but don’t really have a clue where this is. Thank you! Netta

    Youre’ welcome. I’ll send it through email.

  • 7. Ron Niebrugge  |  March 21, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Wow – great stuff Elizabeth! I really like the first photo.


    Thanks a lot for the inspiring comment, Ron.

  • 8. Elly  |  March 21, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Beautiful photos!! I would love to see all this glory before the season is over. Would you, please, email me the directions to this location? I hope that the flowers are still blooming this weekend.
    Thank you!!

    Thank you Elly. It still look great over there, with the concentration on opposite side of Tooth Rock already across the Rattlesnake creek. Though the poppies seem to be lesser now in terms of volume, but other flowers seem to be on the rise, and there are new wildflowers blooming that I did not see 2 weeks ago. But there are areas where the poppies just start to bloom a bunch, just enjoy exploring both sides of Rattlesnake Canyon. I emailed you the directions, and I hope you have a great hike this weekend.

  • 9. anne  |  March 21, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Hi.. I too, cannot seem to find the right trail on a map, and don’t know where to begin, even with the freeway direction listed on here.. would you mind terribly posting more specific trailhead directions or emailing them? Thank you!! I can’t wait to see the poppies!

    Hi Anne. To avoid crowding the area, I will just email the directions.

  • 10. Sean  |  March 22, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Please email the direction to me as well. I want to go hike tomorrow but can’t figure out exact directions and parking. Thank you.

    You’re welcome.I hope you have a good hike.

  • 11. Mike O  |  March 22, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Great pictures,wished I’d seen this last weekend, Please email me instructions too.

    Do you have other wildflower pictures? Have you been to other parks to see the wildflowers? Any favorites.

    Thanks, Mike. I’ve been to the one near Lake Hodges and Torrey Pines, kindly see the 2 newer posts. I have not posted pictures from Amboy Crater and Anza Borrego, both of which look great too. Hard to choose which one is favorite for they all offer different scenery or background. I hope you got the directions and will have a wonderful time at Tooth Rock.

  • 12. Eric S  |  March 22, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Hello, great pictures. Can you please email me the directions also, I would be much obliged. Thanks.

    You’re welcome. Hope you will have a beautiful hike at Tooth Rock or around Rattlesnake Canyon.

  • 13. Nicole  |  March 23, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Please, please give more information about the directions. We would love to hike out there today Sunday 22,2008 and we just have no idea how to find it 😦
    Thank you in advance!!!

    Hi Nicole. Will email you the directions. Hope you will have a beautiful hike today.

  • 14. Joel Perlstein  |  March 23, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Please e-mail me the directions to the Tooth Rock Trail.

    Is this an area that burned last year?

  • 15. Beth  |  March 24, 2008 at 11:47 am

    Please email me the directions….it looks so beautiful in your pictures I can’t pass it up!

  • 16. betchai  |  March 24, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks, Joel and Beth. I hope you got my directions. Yes, Tooth Rock/ Rattlesnake Canyon was burned last October 2007 wildfire, and also last 2003 wildfire.

  • 17. Jim  |  March 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I tried finding the path to tooth rock yesterday and could not find it. We found tooth rock road, but there were houses there so it did not look like we should park on the street.

    Can you email me the directions please?

    Thank you

  • 18. Terry  |  March 28, 2008 at 8:51 am

    Great pix! It seems that a lot of people want to hike this area, but they have been unable to find the trailhead and parking. Would you please email me the directions as well? Thanks.

    P.S. It seems silly to email directions to each person individually when you could just post them here.


    Indeed, I am that silly :). Directions and map of access to trailhead where posted there before, however, I had to delete it after the map got too many clicks since trailhead access and parking is in residential neighborhood. I wanted to respect the solitude and peacefulness of the area. In a way, that worked since only very few left me a message for the directions, compared to those who clicked the map in one day. Though the trail is public, but it is not fully open yet that parking and access is on residential neighborhood. Some parts of the trail also crosses on private property, I avoid that part. Hopefully, one day, Poway fully opens this trail and will have public parking.

  • 19. Beverly Galloway  |  March 28, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    would you please email me the directions to where you took the pics above. I, too, just recently started appreciating all the nature around us and was so grateful to get to see Death Valley’s display 2 years ago. It was absoluting amazing. I have been keeping track on DesertUSA where the wildflower blooms are and am heading off toward San Diego area this weekend. I would love love love to see the area you talked about. And I would greatly appreciate any directions you could give this Las Vegan who does not know her way around that area. Forever grateful, Bev

  • 20. Paul  |  March 28, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    These pictures are fantastic and would love to go out there this weekend to see nature’s beauty. Would you please e-mail me the directions? Thank you in advance.

  • 21. betchai  |  March 29, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Thanks, Jim, Bev and Paul. I am sorry that I have to make you ask for directions. Like what I stated above, though the trail is public, but it is not fully open yet that parking and access is on residential neighborhood. Some parts of the trail also crosses on private property, I avoid that part. Hopefully, one day, Poway fully opens this trail and will have public parking. I believe by just emailing those who were interested enough to ask helped in limiting the crowd and maintaining the solitude in the area. I am not sure about the conditions of the trail right now, since the pictures above were taken March 8. My last hike there was March 20 and the poppies seem to be getting less. Here is a link to some March 20 photos to give you idea of the condition.
    Some parts looked dry already and flowers start to fade especially the poppies, but other parts seem like the poppies have just bloomed and were still about to bloom. But definitely the orange color from the poppies is not as intense anymore, but new wildflowers were growing. Some of those who hiked there March 22 and 23rd told me they still like what theysee. Anyway, I hope they are still there after this warm week. I hope you all have a good and beautiful hike.

  • […] was overwhelmed with the sight I saw last March 8, and shared that joy here the next day ( https://betchaitluc.wordpress.com/2008/03/09/hiking-tooth-rock-mountain/ ).  Since March 8, I had been hiking in this trail whenever I got a chance, for I knew these […]

  • 23. Jane  |  November 30, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Hi, Heidi,
    I just discovered your blog. I love your photos. I also have a walking/photo blog. I live in North County and was wondering if you could email me directions to the trailhead. I haven’t found this info anywhere else.
    Thanks so much,

  • 24. Ryan  |  January 13, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Your Blog is very interesting! I live in San Diego too and would like to see this trail. Can you please email me directions? Thank you.


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