Pathfinder | 110 pts
I did this trail twice last weekend and loved it. Do not underestimate it though. It is a tough 7+ miles. No water is available on the trail, so bring a lot! The lower part of the trail is well maintained, but the upper portions are not as well kept. The area took a hit during recent wildfires (2007) as almost all the tress are just charred remnants. As a result, you are climbing in the direct sun for most of the hike. As the guide mentioned, there is a tree at the top of the first peak. It seems be the only one that survived the fires and its shade provide a nice place to catch your breath. There are several smooth rocks where you can grab a seat. It is neat to see the wildflowers and plants already working their way back from the ashes.
Another result of the fires is that many of the markers have been destroyed. After you start up the Mt Woodson portion of the trail, after a steep portion, you will reach an area that level off and the trail splits. The markers' burned remains are laying in the grass. If you want to go to the summit, go to the right. If you go to the left, that trail will work its way back down to rt 67. If you want to add a few miles to your hike, there are some great views along the trail to the left, but it doesn't loop around. You will have to back track to get back to the mountain trail or to Lake Poway.
If you go to the right you are on the stretch run to the summit. Once you get up to the top, don't be afraid to wander around between the radio and cell towers. They are each fenced off individually, so you don't have to worry about going places where you would get in trouble. There are several great views from different angles. My favorite is through the 2nd paved area to the right. If you cut through there, there is a large smooth boulder that protrudes off the peak and provides plenty of room to sit down and take in the amazing views.
Overall a great hike and a great workout.