Table Rock is one of the most iconic areas of Boise, for a few reasons. Not only does it have a giant cross at the top, which is illuminated every night, but it is also the most popular hike in Boise. Learn more about Table Rock Boise and how to get to the top.
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Table Rock is near the grounds of the Idaho State Penitentiary, a former prison complex in Boise, which is now used as a history museum. The hike to the top of Table Rock begins near the penitentiary grounds. Table Rock Boise is maintained by the Idaho State Historical Society — they also own and maintain the Idaho State Penitentiary, Idaho State Archives, and Idaho State Museum. You will see volunteers out on the trail and on top of the Table Rock making sure everything is kept in great shape.
Table Rock has a nice hike, and is located between Boise and the foothills. It has a flat rock top, making it the perfect end to a nice hike up the hill.
Table Rock was previously used by Native Americans in the area, including the Northern Shoshone, as a ceremonial space.
The Table Rock cross in Boise was built in 1956 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, according to the Idaho Architecture Project. The cross is 60 feet tall and is lit up every night, and is visible in most parts of Boise. In 2011, the lighting on the cross was replaced with LED lights. The cross has been the center of numerous controversies over the year, mainly because it is maintained by public funds. When lit up at night, you can see the Boise cross from miles away.
There was a fire on Table Rock in 2016, which caused much of the area to be burnt. The city of Boise has been working since then to improve conditions in the area.
The hike to Table Rock Boise begins near the grounds of the Idaho State Penitentiary. The trail winds up the side of the mountain and Boise foothills, gaining an elevation of 895 feet over the 3.7-mile trail.
Dogs on leashes and horses are allowed on the trail, as well as walkers, runners, and bicyclists. Although the trail is under four miles, it is a pretty steep elevation climb in that time, so be prepared for a steep climb. You will find dirty and rocks as well, surrounded by sage brush on most of the hike. There also tends to be some wildlife on the trail, including numerous encounters with rattlesnakes.
You can hike the trail every day from sunrise to sunset, all year round — although hiking is somewhat discouraged in wetter months because hiking on wet trails can actually damage those trails.
The map of the hike to Table Rock:
Can you drive to Table Rock? Many locals don’t even know that is possible to drive to the top.
If you don’t feel like walking up Table Rock, you can also get to the top by car. It is a short drive through a few residential neighborhoods, but will get you to the top of Table Rock in under 10 minutes from beginning to end.
Driving Directions to Table Rock Boise from the Idaho State Penitentiary:
- Drive northwest down Warm Springs Drive for 0.6 miles
- Turn right onto N. Haines Street, drive for for 0.5 mile
- Turn right onto Shenandoah Drive, drive for 0.6 mile
- Turn right onto Shaw Mountain Road, drive for 0.2 mile
- Take a slight right onto E. Table Rock Road, drive for 1.9 mile
- Turn right to stay on E. Table Rock Road
- You will reach Table Rock in 0.7 mile
Certain times of year and certain times of the night the final road up to Table Rock will be closed, and you will have to walk about 0.5 miles to reach the summit. But even then, the walk is an easy one on a dirt road with a slight incline.