Located between downtown Boise and the foothills, Table Rock is a prominent local landmark. Its earliest known use was that of a sacred ceremonial meeting place for the Northern Shoshone Indian tribe. In the early 1990s, the midsection of quarry was sold and opened to rock mining. Table Rock sandstone became a prized building material used in upscale building projects.
The cross on top of Table Rock has a long history of controversy. In 1956, the Junior Chamber of Commerce (the Jaycees) built the cross on the bluff, which was owned by the Department of Corrections at the time. In 1970, fearing future legal pressure to remove the cross, the Jaycees asked if they could purchase a 44’x70’ parcel around it. But, the Department of Corrections deemed it surplus land and gave it to the Idaho Board of Land. In 1971, the Land Board held an auction of the land, and the Jaycees purchased it for $100. From then on, the cross was considered to be on private property. Attempts to remove the cross were made by the American Civil Liberties Union in 1994 and by atheist human rights activist Rob Sherman in 1999. Thanks to community support and private land laws, neither of these actions, nor other smaller actions have prevailed. At the base of the cross, a bronze plaque rests that reads, “In appreciation of those who by their gifts and services have made possible this cross on Table Rock, this plaque is gratefully inscribed and dedicated. May this cross inspire those who see it to better citizenship, higher ideals and happier living.”
Table Rock is a popular with hikers and bikers and is a beautiful place to watch the sunset. Its trail is 3.7 miles long and has an elevation gain of 895 feet. Popular trail routes start behind the Bishop's House (next to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary) and across from Warm Springs Golf Course. The trail on average takes one hour to hike, ending on top of Table Rock and is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the week.
Both the Table Rock cross and bluff have become an icon in Boise. There are several local businesses and organizations named after it, included the new church that I (Katie) have had the joy of being a part of (www.TableRock.Church). If you have not yet taken the opportunity to hike the bluff, I encourage you to do so. When you reach the top, make your way to the rocky overlook, sit down on the wide concrete bench, and take in the spectacular views of Boise, the Treasure Valley, the Boise foothills, and the Owyhee Mountains!