Interesting Stuff

Take a Trip To Table Rock

While attention is directed to various Foothills developments, we Boiseans have ignored one of the greatest natural wonders of our City–TABLE ROCK.

The flat topped outcropping of sandstone with the white “B”, cross and dozens of communication antennae overlooks the city and the entire valley. From Table Rock you can easily see in excess of 100 miles into Oregon and Owyhee County.

Like the Depot which is closed to the public most of the time, Table Rock is truly a landmark hidden in plain sight and should be promoted with directional signs throughout the city. It is a public area that should be shared with visitors and residents alike. Currently it is open only during daylight hours, but that could get changed with enough public interest.

With all the Californians moving here, they will appreciate that we have a spot that could rival Twin Peaks in San Francisco or Griffith Park in Los Angeles as a scenic overlook.

The sunsets are spectacular, the forested mountains at Bogus Basin seem close enough to touch. You can look DOWN on airplanes landing at Gowen Field and it is a great map lesson for young and old alike to identify streets, the Depot, Capitol Building, and other landmarks.

The land is owned by the Idaho Historical Society, is open to the public during daylight hours and Midwest towns would kill for such a view. We feel the overlook should be properly developed by either the State Parks Department, The Foothills Preservation Committee, or Boise City. How about everyone kicking in to put up safety railings around the sharp drop-off and improve the road?

To get a taste of the spectacular view and solitude, drive up Reserve Street behind St. Luke’s Hospital. Go past the fire station and just follow the winding road up hill. Make a Right turn on TABLE ROCK Rd. If you start going downhill you missed it. Drive slowly over the speed bumps, the folks in the expensive houses aren’t keen on traffic in their neighborhood.

The road eventually turns to gravel, but careful driving will get you safely to the top. Enjoy the view and send us your impressions–along with your your photos!

NOTE: We will not entertain any discussion for or against the cross. It is there, it is owned by the Jaycees and they own the 4 feet of ground it sits upon as well. Let’s see if we can improve an asset we already have.

Here are some pictures of our grandson, Kim Forrey, and his new bride, Brenna Forrey, who were married up there under the cross on April 30, 2006. It was a fun time with just close family.
–Barb Forrey
Forrey Wedding.jpg

EDITOR NOTE–Nice location, nice pictures, pretty bride, handsome groom. For a Thousand dollar bill you could have had the Depot too!

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Guardian, your mention of Table Rock brings back so many fond memories.

    I grew up almost literally in the shadow of Table Rock, and my memories go back to childhood. I vividly recall blisters on my heels after my first Boy Scout hike there.

    About the same time, I learnt to ride my dad’s motorcycle riding to Table Rock and back. (Those were glory days for dirt bikes in Boise… Remember? Back before it was understood how they ruint the landscape – motorcycles were banned from the foothills, and houses were built instead. I’m still a bit confused about all that…)

    Back in the day, the big “B” was formed by loose rocks. (Now it’s cemented in.) So of course, there was a constant temptation to rearrange those rocks. Since the Statute of Limitations has expired, I can now confess that my buddies and I once laboriously fashioned a peace sign… took us hours! Civic-minded people changed it back, eventually. And of course the Boise kids would try to paint it red and the Borah kids green.

    All you say about the view is true. And safety is surely one of the reasons why it’s closed after-hours. But as an old-timer, you also know that it was a traditional hangout for the local kids, some of whom would drink, break bottles, fight, vandalize, and attempt to have kids of their own. Are kids different now than they were 10, or 25 years ago?

  2. I don’t think it was safety at all that is the reason the road is closed after hours. Its the affluent folks on Table Rock Road that don’t want anything associated with the proposals contained in this post, particularly the directional signs to take the extra traffic past those homes.

    I agree with the Guardian that Table Rock is an unenhanced ammenity to the residents in the Treasure Valley. The gravel portion of the road is only the last half mile, anyone can travel it. I used to take my kids in the bike trailer when the gravel extended a couple miles further than it does now. I’ve wondered about such a proposal for a while.

    In addition to the Guardian’s fine proposal, serious thought should be given to sanitation, garbage cans and porta-pottys. The base of the cliffs are quite revolting at times. Also the entire area on top has great potential but erosion caused by unfettered motoring has taken a serious toll. I would be willing to devote time to this endeavor since I live nearby.

    Also Guardian, there are several ways up. You only mentioned the way motor vehicles can go. Table Rock is a lynch pin in the Ridges to Rivers trail system and there are many trails around and up the feature. There is ample parking behind the Bishop’s House by the Pen, or the Warm Springs golf course, or up in the Mesa. Anyone who so ventures will be impressed of the diversity of what’s available a short walk from downtown Boise. On many days these are the most popular ways to the top.

    Guardian, what cross? I thought that was a T for Tablerock?

  3. Bikeboy – so you were a part of the cool guys who did the peace sign. What is with the kids today they show no school spirit in that there is no painting. But again those were the days when the police could tell the difference between kids being kids and real criminals.

    I agree with you for the reason of only daylight hours…… Good times were had, but the broken glass from beer bottles made it difficult for children and others who may take a little trip and fall.

    On the downside of memory lane…back in my junior high days there was a friend who was also attending South Jr. High who, during the day, fell off and was in a coma for many months. Last I saw of him he was living in a nursing home – he communicated via a letter board and spelled out to me “Table Rock, my Waterloo.” His accident happened back in the early 1960’s. After the ’80’s I lost track of him.

    I agree, open it back up. Let the parties begin…again.

  4. Ahhh Table rock! My 2 favorite races of the year are Robie Creek, and Table Rock. After running up to the top you get to kiss Smoky Bear, before you start down.

    Kind of like my dates when I went to Boise High…. Drive up to Table Rock and get a flat tire….. well that’s enough said

  5. I’m amazed at the lack of knowledge ( and signs for tourists) about some of the more beautiful spots ( and enjoyable ) in Boise. The Park system, the greenbelt, the foothills, I love the history at the old vet’s cemetery behind the VA- just read the tombstones! You are looking at a graphic history of young america….and no directions on how to get there for visitors.

  6. Was the Tablerock run formerly known as the Submarine Race? I think I was invited to the Submarine Race up there once….about 30 years ago. Just wondering.

    EDITOR NOTE_…and we are all wondering if you accepted the invitation.

  7. I’ve known of several Submarine Races in this area. They generally are for the young or young at heart and are held at night. They are similar to Snipe Hunts, but not at all the same thing.

  8. If I recall correctly the young man who invited me was something of a snipe himself. I declined, just for you nosy nells. I really was a gullible thing, and did end up going on a snipe hunt with a gunny sack and a stick once. Glad I didn’t go the races.

  9. Tam
    I have run for 30 years, and have never heard of the submarine races at Table Rock. I did have a flat tire up there with my girl friend when I was at Boise High…. wish I would have thought of submarine races….All the girls knew about the flat tire trick!

  10. Boy, do I hate to admit knowing nothing of submarine races. When I went to Boise High I wore really thick glasses and hung out with guys who carried unabridged dictionaries in case a spelling or meaning emergency should arise. I always suspected other people were having a lot more fun than I was.

    What I always wondered was how the guys who hid beer under sagebrush up 8th Street road could ever find it again. We didn’t have GPS in those days and the sagebrush all looked alike. I’ve thought over the years of going up looking for really old bottles of beer off the side of the road.

  11. Railings? Are you KIDDING? How about we refrain from DRILLING in to Table Rock. Railings???? Seriously. How about we leave it alone. If people are dumb enough to fall off, that’s really their own fault.

  12. Don, I really hate it that my jr. high friend fell off of Table Rock and ruined his life, but I do agree with you.
    People in this area have removed great really high swings and the merry go rounds from the play grounds in the parks for fear that children may fall and get hurt. Well, we all have fallen and gotten hurt and it’s just the way life is. We learn to be more careful (if we survive)

    And no ugly, smelly porta potties either!

  13. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone that might have fallen — perhaps my virulent reaction to the post made my reaction a bit strong.

    But the point remains – we seem to go out of our way to protect everyone from every thing in this world. No swings in playgrounds. Those ugly yellow curb things in the north end (and elsewhere). The removal of diving boards at swimming pools.

    Frankly, I like the ability to go stand at the precipice of Table Rock, look down — and feel a bit scared. I know I’m safe. Would an ugly railing make me safer? Sure — someone could always run up and push me off — and the railing would stop it. But that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

    I come from a family of developers – so most growth doesn’t bug me. What I don’t like is when people try to change things about this area. Do we really need more people up at Table Rock? No. If our California import friends aren’t smart enough to figure out how to get up there, they really don’t deserve the help. I lived in Seattle for about nine months, and spent a lot of time out exploring. I asked locals what they liked about the city… I even just jumped in the car and went “I wonder what happens if I go this way.”

    That’s what Table Rock is to me. I think anyone with an iota of sense knows that you can go up there — part of the adventure is figuring out how. The last thing it needs is to have picnic shelters and toilets and guard-rails.

    EDITOR NOTE–The reference to railings is intended to eliminate one of the arguments against access. Table Rock wouldn’t “change”, it would simply add to the Boise Experience. Would you have left Vista village unchanged? WE SEE IMPROVEMENTS THERE BUT ANOTHER STRIP MALL WOULD BE CHANGE!

  14. Hmm. One’s a shopping center. The other is a natrual resource that’s been around for what — tens, thousands – millions of years?

    Do nothing at the shopping center and it wastes away to just that: nothing. Do nothing to Table Rock, and it continues to be what it always has been: a place with a great view, few crowds, and the danger of falling off.

    EDITOR NOTE–Table was once bigger. Some of it is in the Old Pen and some is even in the Capitol. Table can be shared with less damage than a new shopping center or housing development.

  15. Oh… and a nice place to take great wedding pictures. That shot on the right just wouldn’t look the same with some chunks of metal in the shot.

    Editor Note–The plans will call for a “natural rock” railing (wall).

  16. And the plans should also hopefully include a permanent restroom facility to avoid the ugly smelly porta potties. HH, these are admittedly better than the current method of human waste disposal up there which is nada, the fact of which, on a warm day, you can smell for miles.

    I would certainly indulge the fantasty we have an unlimited budget and can provide the facilities similar to those upon which we graced many of our National Parks. But something tells me that’s not going to happen right off the bat. Maybe we could locate the restrooms right next to the attractive chain link fence around the charming telecom facilities. Or we could undertake the less expensive but pointless act of putting up signs telling folks to hold it and cross their legs on the way down.

    This site really could be a great amenity to Boise but until something is done to enhance it, the location will remain in atmosphere nothing more than a great location for a high school kegger with a view, complete with graffiti, broken glass, shell casings, empty cans of Keystone Light and the smell of urine.

  17. Don,
    I really DO agree with you, no matter who has fallen. Railings on Table Rock would indeed ruin the place.
    It does appear to me that in modern times there is no survival of the fittest….just survival of the ones with the best income and insurance.

    FRAZ – NO RAILINGS, NOT EVEN A ROCK WALL!!!!!! Gosh, let there be some adventure in life – you’re sounding like a fuddy duddy and it’s not very attractive. In fact let’s let the entire thing drop. I like Table Rock to be a secret. Let it be. Put it into the hands of the parks department and they will ruin it!!!!!!!! It would be like putting the foot hills into their hands, soon they would plant lawn and have to water it to death.

    Sysyphus – go before hopping into the car. Women do it all of the time, I am sure that men could curb their urge to mark where they have been. 😉

  18. This is great just reading all the stories. I went to Boise High and I can not tell you how many times I went up there and painted the “B”. It was just recently that I began going back up to Table Rock to hang out. It all started when two of my friends from Baker said they had never been up there. So, we started out at the old pen and we hiked up there. Now, it is a weekly event for us and we are planning on doing the run in September and we are using Table Rock to train for Roby Creek run as well. We have a lot of hikes to the top of Table Rock before we are ready, but we have a year.

    I agree on a clean-up project. I think before we start talking rails and restrooms we need to get all of us together on this site and have a day to clean up glass and find a way to get some of the spray paint off the rock. Clean the black out of the caves. Thanks for this site it is fun to get on here and talk about a place that has been a part of our lives for so long.

  19. ok, man.. this is driving me nuts. I can’t find any driving directions to get to Table Rock in Boise, Idaho. Can some please direct me to the right place? I’ve tried mapquest but, it lead me to some neighborhood up on the hills somewhere. I tried asking for help but, the person that helped me was kinda vague on what directions should I take.

    I want to take my car up to Table Rock to look at the city of Boise. That’s all. Is there a way to drive to Table Rock?
    Please Help!

    MAP QUEST IS RIGHT…take Table Rock Road through the subdivision.

  20. I see this is a couple years old, but what the heck. I was a missionary in Boise for 2 years back in 2000-2002, and we rode bikes everywhere! One of our days off, we took a bike ride up the face of good ‘ol Table Rock. We left from back behind the old pen and took the quickest route up. It was incredibly hard, but what a thrill when we finally reached the top! I loved looking out over the city and looking down over the railing-less edge! It was quite the rush!

    I rode up with 2 friends, and one of them screwed around and gashed his arm open…only then did we learn that there was a paved road down — and thankfully with a hospital right at the bottom. (if anyone’s looking for a thrill, take a bike down that road, it’s great to fly around the corners — just don’t fly off) ;o)

    In my opinion, nothing should change up there, except maybe a group cleanup. Leave God’s creations to him, we should only appreciate and give thanks for them; not change them to fit what we want.

  21. just got back to waco, texas from your great state. had the chance to ride to the top of table rock from the golf course parking lot with one of my brother-in-laws. it was an awesome experience all the way around, from the gruelling ascent to the payoff of the view and the blessing of touching the cross and being reminded of all that is good and worthwhile in life. then with mad happiness doing 1/2 the descent down a very steep technical trail, and the second half with my tongue blowing out of my mouth…table rock was a thrill. do as little as possible to make it user friendly yet un exploited. curiosity and wonder will be motivation enough for people to find their way to it, around it, and up it….it was for me.

  22. Karan Morse
    Apr 24, 2009, 5:01 pm

    I’ve lived in Weiser Idaho for 18 years this June. I’ve always looked up at the cross when I’m in Boise. Last night my girlfriend Kristi and I hiked up to the top.
    What a view! It was so awesome to be up there. I’m so glad I finally got to go up.
    We took short cuts and boy were they steep. Great workout. We sat on the bench and just enjoyed the view. I only had my cell phone to take pictures, wish I would of had my camera. It was clean up there, except for the glass along the rocks.

    Can’t wait to do it again..

  23. My 13 yr old son and I built a big 8’X 3′ sand sifter this week and are going up this weekend to rid the sand of broken glass etc. around the base of the table. It was his idea for a school project.

  24. Will Table Rock ever going to be paved? It’s really hard to drive up a hill with my volkswagen. It ruined my exhaust system already, It costs me alot of money to repair but, I’m not blaming the city for it but, it would be nice to have the road paved for safe driving. Is that taken into consideration? I really love going up to Table Rock on a weekendly basis. Thanks for listening. – Ronald

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