If you are in Boise, Idaho, and love to go hiking, Table Rock is the ideal place for you. Even if you do not love hiking, you could use a bike to ride up to the top of this natural formation and take some spectacular pictures of the city from the peak.
Table Rock trails are a promise that you will always have a breath of fresh air whether you live in Boise or are just visiting. Here’s a guide to Table Rock, including a brief history, its various trails, and things to keep in mind when visiting.
A Brief History
It is said that Native Americans inhabited the Boise area centuries ago, and settled around the foothills of a massive rock formation that rose to the sky. Various hot springs emerged along the sides of this formation, which the Native Americans used for sacred ceremonies.
But that is not the same Table Rock as we know today. So, how was it formed? Continue to read to know more.
When the Old Penitentiary, which is the famous historical prison in Boise, began to be used in the 19th century, prisoners were made to carry out their penitentiary stonework using the formations from Table Rock.
Further down the years, other big chunks of stones were brought down from the Rock for use in the construction of the new state Capitol building. All of these activities changed the shape of the structure and came to be known as the Table Rock that is seen today.
Once a huge number of stones had been ferried from the rock to different parts of the country, for use in different buildings, the stone mining came to a halt. Inadvertently, the quarry miners had left behind a shape that was filled with ledges and finger holds, which ran across the city for a quarter of a mile.
A few decades later, in the 1960s, rock climbers began to take note of the massive structure and commenced climbing. Today, a large number of professional as well as casual rock climbers gather under Table Rock to experience the beauty of the city from the top.
The Various Trails
So, how do you climb this giant piece of rock? Well, there are various routes you can take, some of which begin from the Old Penitentiary. Here are the most popular trails that would take you to the top of the rock.
Table Rock Trail Number 15
This is the road frequently taken because it is an old trail with a wide road. Beginning at the Old Penitentiary parking lot, the trail takes you up to the peak via a steep and interesting hike.
Table Rock Quarry Trail Number 17
If you are not in a hurry to reach the top and expect stunning views on the way, this trail is for you. It begins towards the rear side of Table Rock and travels through sandstone cliffs. Look out for charming views of the Treasure Valley and the Owyhee Mountains as you loop through this trail to ultimately reach the peak.
Shoshone-Paiute Tribes Loop Number 19
Named after the Native American tribes that had settled in the Boise area, this loop is for climbers who wish for a simpler hike. It begins from the Old Penitentiary parking lot and moves up through an easy trail towards the west side of the rock.
The best part of this trail is that it is accessible through all seasons as it is composed mainly of sand and gravel, as opposed to the other trails that can turn muddy during showers.
Rock Island Trail Number 16B
If you are feeling more adventurous, or if you are a mountain biking enthusiast, you may explore this trail. It is a bit tricky to traverse owing to its small, rocky outgrowths, and can be dangerous for beginners.
Best Times to Visit
Although Table Rock is open round the year, it is best to avoid it during spring and summer rains, and also right after a snowfall. During these times, the trails can get mucky and could cause accidents.
Once you are there, visits to the rocky structure should be timed between sunrise and sunset as the gate at the parking lot remains closed at nighttime.
Things to Keep in Mind
Before you visit, here are a couple of things that could help you plan.
A total of 16 spots, including 1 accessible spot are available at the Warm Springs Golf Course parking lot. The main area where people love to park before hiking is, of course, the Old Penitentiary parking lot, as it provides quick access to most of the trails. https://goo.gl/maps/NvJZwBhiKMykR7SG6
Good news for pet owners! You can take your dogs and horses along with you on the hike. Dogs are allowed to remain leash-free as long as they do not cause any disturbance. Be sure to keep your dog close to you, and carry a waste bag and a leash, just in case.
View from the Top
The hike to the top is around two miles, so even beginners can easily climb the rock to enjoy the view. Most visitors prefer to plan their hiking time so that they reach the top around sunset because that is when the true beauty of the land and the city beneath begins to show.
Wait for the giant cross at the top to light up just around sunset, and leave with memories of a truly breathtaking experience. This article was brought to you by Crevand SEO of Boise, Idaho.