14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho (2023)

Boise offers dozens of hiking trails accessible from the city itself, and hundreds more in the nearby Boise National Forest.

Many of the most visited trails are open to hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Despite the wealth of trails surrounding the city, it can get a little crowded out there at times.

Which is why this list is hiker-centric. Boise is having a bit of a growth spurt as a city. Its economy is booming, and a lot of people with active lifestyles are moving to the area who are taking full advantage of the region’s exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities.

Residents and visitors alike will find the trails on this list to include many of the best hikes that Boise has to offer. From the promenade along the Boise River to the heights of the Sawtooth Mountains, there’s a hike here for everyone.

This list includes urban greenways for those who do not care to leave the city, accessible trails in the nearby Rocky Mountain foothills, and backcountry routes for those who prefer to be far removed from the din of civilization. Keep reading to discover Boise’s best hikes, and check out these top-notch Idaho Airbnbs if you need a place to stay if you’re visiting from out of town.

Related Read: 9 Fun and Scenic Lake Camping Spots in Idaho

1. Stack Rock Trail

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho (1)

Why you should go: Climb up to a towering granite monolith and panoramic views.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 9.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1424 feet

A local favorite, the Stack Rock Trail is sure to please. It offers up a fair challenge due to its length, but it’s not a difficult hike. There are awesome views throughout the entire trek and the rock formations at its end make for an awesome destination.

This is a very popular trail among hikers and mountain bikers alike, so keep an eye out for traveling cyclists when you’re observing the distant vistas. The main route begins at a paved parking lot, but it is possible to shave off a couple of miles by driving down a dirt road to where it intersects the trail.

The path is well-shaded during the summer and is fairly easy to follow even when covered in winter’s snow. No matter when you visit or how far you go, you’re sure to enjoy this one.

2. Table Rock

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho (2)

Why you should go: A short but steep hike to a high elevation plateau.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 832 feet

While there are a number of ways to get to Table Rock’s summit, this is the most direct route. Elsewhere, there are mountain bikers and dirt roads that’ll cross your path. Though steep, this trail is mostly used by hikers.

The route starts off with an interesting tour of the old Idaho state penitentiary’s exterior. These ruins provide a look into Idaho’s Old West with its 19th-century architecture. Inside, there is more to see, but you’ll have to pay to get in.

The trail rises above the penitentiary as it climbs up toward the summit. Once at the top, you can explore the rocky plateau and venture off onto further trails if you’re looking for a longer hike.

3. Hulls Gulch Nature Trail

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho (3)

Why you should go: Rolling grassy hillsides, interpretive signage, and no mountain bikes!

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 6.3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1131 feet

Hulls Gulch Nature Trail is one of the few trails in the foothills east of Boise where mountain bikes are not allowed. That is enough reason for many to choose this trail for an afternoon hike, but there’s plenty more reason that you should give it a go.

It’s a fairly easy walk despite its length and elevation. The trail is clearly defined for its entire length, and the elevation that is gained is along a consistent gentle slope.

This trail leads hikers across miles of rolling hills that are covered in beautiful grassland and sprinkled with boulders. Interpretive signage can be found beside the trail, and much-appreciated footbridges make crossing the wet gulch a breeze.

4. Adelmann Mine and Lucky Peak

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho (4)

Why you should go: Visit an abandoned gold mine on your way up to the summit which overlooks Treasure Valley.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 9.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2435 feet

The scenery only gets better the higher you climb on your way to Adelmann Mine and Lucky Peak. You’ll start off this trek in the Boise River Wildlife Management Area and hike your first couple of miles up a double-track dirt road through an open meadow.

At about mile two you will come across a small meadow to the right with a path that leads to Adelmann Mine. The ruins of the mining operation still stand to this day.

Turn back to the trail junction and go back the way you came for an easy hike, or continue up to the summit for a greater challenge. The views get better the higher you go, and you’ll eventually make your way into a lovely forest where the shade provides a welcome respite from the sun on hot summer days.

The peak has a radio tower, a bird observatory, and yurts, as well as panoramic views. There are several dirt roads that provide access to the peak, so you’ll likely encounter a number of other people exploring the summit.

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5. Cervidae Peak

Why you should go: Get in a workout while you climb to breathtaking views above the Lucky Peak Reservoir.

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1883 feet

The hike to Cervidae Peak is sure to be a sweaty trek. Your calves are going to burn, and the trail is exposed for its entire length, so make sure to apply a coat of sunblock— especially during the summer.

It’s an awesome hike, though. There are flat spots to catch your breath between the multiple steep ascents. Once at the top, you’ll have grand views of the mountainous landscape in every direction. This is the highest peak on the north side of the Lucky Peak Reservoir, and it’s one of Boise’s four Grand Slam Peaks.

The views are phenomenal and they change with the seasons. Wildflowers, snow-draped hills, and summer activity in the reservoir all make for fascinating seasonal sights.

6. Red Cliffs Nature Center Trail

Why you should go: Mesmerizing red sandstone formations and sagebrush-steppes.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Elevation gain: 482 feet

The undulating Red Cliffs Nature Center Trail is wide, padded with sand, and well-maintained. While it has its fair share of uphill elevation gain, its rolling nature provides plenty of breaks for catching one’s breath.

There are many crisscrossing trails in the area, making sticking to the specific route difficult without a GPS device, but much of the area is worth exploring and difficult to get lost in. There are many mountain bikes around, though, so keep an eye out.

The red sandstone cliffs are the spectacle of choice for this trail. They are certainly eye-catching. Coupled with the sagebrush-covered hillside, it’ll feel as if you’re walking around in one of Utah’s spectacular parks.

7. Mores Mountain Loop

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Why you should go: A high elevation hike where most of the uphill is climbed by your car.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.0 miles
  • Elevation gain: 492 feet

You can drive most of the way to the summit of Mores Mountain, making this loop hike an easy trek to the peak where panoramic views of the surrounding mountains can be experienced.

If hiking this trail in winter, it becomes a bit harder. The road is often closed by a gate about a mile before the trailhead when there is snow. You can park your car near the gate and hike the rest of the way up, but be prepared to tack on a couple more miles and a few hundred more feet of elevation gain in the snow.

8. Polecat Loop

Why you should go: A winding trail on the edge of town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 6.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 822 feet

Polecat Loop is a popular route for hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and equestrians. Reason being that it is a fun and moderately challenging trail that is minutes from the residential areas of northern Boise.

As with most other hikes in the area, there are a number of crisscrossing trails, enabling you to make your hike shorter or longer at a moment’s notice. The route, as mapped, circles around Polecat Gulch and provides great views of Treasure Valley.

9. Homestead Trail

Why you should go: A not-so-busy trail to an old homestead.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 922 feet

Relative to many of the other trails in the foothills outside of Boise, this Homestead Trail is easy, but it does have a fair amount of elevation gain. The slope is gentle, yet consistent throughout.

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Those interested in a quick trip out into nature will appreciate this hike. It does well to showcase the grassy, sagebrush-speckled landscape outside of the city, and it isn’t frequented by many runners or mountain bikers, so you’ll find a fair amount of solitude and serenity.

10. Kingfisher Trail

Why you should go: Exceptional birding, hunting, and fishing opportunities.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 10.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 90 feet

The Kingfisher Trail starts at the New York Canal in Nampa, southwest of Boise, and then hugs the shoreline of southwestern Lake Lowell for the rest of its course. Locals still refer to this path as Tio Lane and the lake as Deer Flat Reservoir as these are their original names.

An abundance of wildlife makes this a special Boise-area hike. It is located within the Deer Flat Wildlife Refuge where over 200 avian species have been recorded. Likewise, there are countless critters scuttling about the terrain and a wide variety of fish swimming in the lake. Bring your binoculars, and maybe a fishing pole, for this one.

11. Boise River Greenbelt Trail

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho (5)

Why you should go: A city-crossing greenway along the Boise River.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 25 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet

Don’t worry about the length of this trail, because you can follow it for as long or as short as you’d like. The Boise River Greenbelt Trail follows the Boise River, hugging its banks on both sides along its entire length through the city.

The trail offers a great number of recreational opportunities. If you’re visiting downtown Boise, the trail can be a relaxing retreat to break up your urban adventure. Further down the trail, especially its southern end, birdwatching and fishing are common activities.

There is a series of parks along the pathway which is affectionately called the Ribbon of Jewels. It’s an easy trail to traverse by foot or bike, and it’s loaded with conveniences from end to end.

12. Oregon Trail

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho (6)

Why you should go: A short walk through history with an educational trail marker.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 177 feet

This section of the Oregon Trail begins at an elaborate trail marker with historical information about the trail and the historic forts of the area. The trail follows the edge of a cliff offering views of the Boise River Dam below. Also of visual interest is the columnar basalt cliff face across the way.

A junction near the turnaround of this out-and-back leads uphill to a higher plateau on another branch of the Oregon Trail that travels a similar length for those looking to stay out a little longer. There are many more sections of the Oregon Trail in Idaho and elsewhere that are worth a visit, too, for those interested in America’s pioneering history.

13. Kepros Mountain

Why you should go: A remote trail for dedicated peak baggers.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 9.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1664 feet

Kepros Mountain is one of four peaks near Boise that are known as the Boise Grand Slam Peaks. It’s located west of Lucky Peak Reservoir in the Danskin Mountains where few people other than intrepid hikers and hunters tend to roam.

Though it may look intimidating, this trail is not all that challenging. The beginning and end are where the steep bits are, but most of the journey is flat ridgewalking with stellar views all around. This is a good one for those in search of a day-long secluded escape.

14. Wees Bar Petroglyph Trail

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Why you should go: Petroglyphs, a dam, an old homestead, and a waterfall. This trail has it all.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 11.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 839 feet

Starting at the Swan Falls Dam on the Snake River, the Wees Bar Petroglyph Trail follows the river through a canyon formed by crumbling cliffs. The scenery is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

You’ll weave through the grass, trees, and boulders of the gorge. Stunning rock formations line the entire trail. En route to your destination, you’ll come across the ruins of a homesteader’s cabin which you can explore.

A large pipe on the opposite side of the river is your signpost signaling that you’ve reached Wees Bar. Here, you’ll want to turn your attention to the boulder field on your left where there are dozens of large rocks with petroglyphs etched all over them, as well as the ruins of old man Wees’ former house.

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FAQs

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho? ›

14 of the Best Hiking Trails in Boise, Idaho
  • Stack Rock Trail. Photo: Brandon Swanson. ...
  • Table Rock. Photo: Getty Images / James Molloy. ...
  • Hulls Gulch Nature Trail. Photo: Getty Images. ...
  • Adelmann Mine and Lucky Peak. Photo: Getty Images / Charles Knowles. ...
  • Cervidae Peak. ...
  • Red Cliffs Nature Center Trail. ...
  • Mores Mountain Loop. ...
  • Polecat Loop.
Sep 1, 2021

Is Boise Good for hiking? ›

With more than 200 miles of trails surrounding the city, it's no exaggeration to say that Boise is a haven for hikers. It's also a great way for families to explore the rugged beauty of our high-desert ecosystem.

How long is Table Rock hike Boise? ›

Head out on this 3.7-mile loop trail near Boise, Idaho. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 59 min to complete. This is a very popular area for birding, hiking, and horseback riding, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

What is the hardest thru hike? ›

Top 5 Most Challenging Thru Hikes In The World
  • The Appalachian Trail.
  • The Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Devil's Path Trail.
  • Mount Huashan.
  • El Camito del Rey Trail.
Sep 11, 2015

What is the scariest hike in America? ›

America's deadliest hike is Mount Ranier in Washington State. It has claimed over 400 deaths. Anything but a “walk in the park,” Mount Ranier features extreme and fast weather changes, avalanches, falling rocks, and an unpredictable volcano. Hypothermia is common, along with broken bones, drowning, and heat stroke.

How close is Boise to mountains? ›

It's only around 16-mile drive to the slopes of Bogus Basin from Boise. How many major American cities have a ski resort less than 20 miles from town? We're not sure, but we know it's not many.

Does Boise have mountains? ›

The Boise Mountains are a mountain range in the U.S. state of Idaho, spanning part of Boise and Sawtooth national forests. The highest point in the range is Two Point Mountain at an elevation of 10,124 feet (3,086 m) above sea level.
...
Boise Mountains
Borders onWest Mountains
Topo mapUSGS Barber Flat
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Why is Table Rock Boise closed? ›

City of Boise Closing Old Pen Trail at Table Rock to Prevent Damage Due to Mud. The Boise Parks and Recreation Department has entered into an agreement with the Idaho Department of Lands to manage sensitive open space near Table Rock and the trails that cross it.

Is Upper or Lower Table Rock easier? ›

Fees: None. Hiking Tips: Each of the two Table Rock mesas has its own trail, but the path to Upper Table Rock is shorter and slightly easier.

How long does it take to get to the top of Table Rock? ›

How long does it take to hike to the top of Table Rock Mountain and back? The average hiker can do the complete hike in 5 hours time – three hours up and two hours back down.

What should I eat before a big hike? ›

Eat a combination of complex carbohydrates and lean protein, 1-3 hours before a hike, for example:
  • A peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread.
  • Greek yogurt with berries.
  • Oatmeal with low fat milk and fruit.
  • Apple and peanut butter.
  • A handful of nuts and raisins (2 parts raisins, 1 part nuts)

How many Triple Crown thru-hikers are there? ›

Only about 500 people have completed the thru-hiker's Triple Crown—the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. And it's not something Craig Fowler initially set out to do.

What is the longest hiking trail in the United States? ›

Longest Hiking Trails In The United States
RankHiking TrailRoute Length
1American Discovery6,800+ total; 5,057 miles (Southern Route alone); 4,834 miles(Northern Route alone)
2Great Western Loop6,800 miles
3Eastern Continental5,400 miles
4North Country4,600 miles
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Jan 21, 2021

What hike has the most deaths? ›

Mount Ranier

Over 400 deaths have been recorded, making it the deadliest hike in America. Mount Rainer is complete with its unpredictable volcano, extreme weather which quickly changes, falling rocks, and avalanches. All of these features can lead to hypothermia, broken bones, drowning, suffocation, and heat stroke.

How many people fall off Angels Landing a year? ›

As you can see, from 2017 to 2021, an average of one person per year fell and died at Angels Landing. The number of incidents seems to be increasing, although it may just be because there are more total hikers in Zion than ever before.

What is the deadliest mountain in the USA? ›

Its popularity for hikers, skiers and climbers, and the bad weather that catches some of those people unawares, makes Mount Washington arguably the deadliest mountain in America. Since 1849, more than 130 people have met their demise on its heights.

How far is Boise from a ski resort? ›

The closest destination ski mountain in the area, Tamarack is a 2-hour 13-minute drive north of Boise. A wonderful location where skiers experience more than a half-mile in drop, powder galore, and short lines to some incredible runs. Tamarack is the closest destination ski mountain in the area…

How far is it between Boise and Mountain Home? ›

There are 42.65 miles from Mountain Home to Boise in northwest direction and 52 miles (83.69 kilometers) by car, following the US-20 route. Mountain Home and Boise are 44 minutes far apart, if you drive non-stop .

Does Boise have mountain views? ›

Mountain View Park is located in west Boise.

Is Boise Idaho expensive? ›

Boise is one of the most affordable cities in America! In fact, your dollar goes further in the Boise housing market, where the median monthly rent is $879, and the median home price is $221,475—both of which are well below the U.S. national average.

Do the Rocky Mountains go through Idaho? ›

The Rocky Mountains are a large mountain range located in the western part of North America in the United States and Canada. The "Rockies" as they are also known, pass through northern New Mexico and into Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

How far is Idaho Falls from mountains? ›

Located in Bonneville County, Idaho, Idaho Falls is a two-hour drive from the ski resorts of Grand Targhee and Sun Valley.

What happened to Table Rock? ›

Named for a large, flat slab of rock that jutted from the top of the gorge wall overlooking the falls, the “table rock” partially collapsed in 1818, with continuous deterioration of both notable and significant portions occurring throughout the 1800s – including an 1850 incident in which a man washing his carriage on ...

Can you drive up to Table Rock Boise? ›

No, only vehicle access to Table Rock Road is restricted by the gate. Table Rock Mesa is located on public property.

Is the Table Rock Trail Open in Boise? ›

Trails and trailheads are still open sunrise to sunset for pedestrian and bike access.

How long of a hike is Lower Table Rock? ›

Get to know this 6.2-mile out-and-back trail near Central Point, Oregon. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 38 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and walking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

Why is tablerock flat? ›

Upper Table Rock and Lower Table Rock are two prominent volcanic plateaus located just north of the Rogue River in Jackson County, Oregon, U.S. Created by an andesitic lava flow approximately seven million years ago and shaped by erosion, they now stand about 800 feet (240 m) above the surrounding Rogue Valley.

Are dogs allowed at Table Rock Oregon? ›

To prevent disturbance to ground nesting birds and other wildlife, dogs are not allowed in the Table Rocks Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Trails are for hiking only; the use of horses, bicycles, and other vehicles is prohibited. Aircraft are prohibited from landing on top of either Table Rocks.

Is Table Rock closed Boise? ›

Table Rock Gate to Be Relocated and Top Parking Lot Permanently Closed to the Public. Table Rock is a Boise gem. The scenic flat plateau has been a landmark in the valley since the Junior Chamber of Commerce built it in 1956.

How do I access Table Rock? ›

To find the beach access entrance, turn west onto hard-to-see Table Rock Drive from the highway (the road to the east is Eagle Rock Way) and go one block to Bluff Drive where the entrance will be on the left side. From this entrance a long steep stairway heads down the bluff to the sand on the north end of the beach.

Where do you park for Table Rock trail? ›

The parking lot for this hike is at the nature center for Table Rock State Park on West Gate Road. There is a per person fee to enter the park.

What is best to drink while hiking? ›

Before beginning, you should drink one or two cups of water, juice, or a sport drink. 2. Limit the amount of caffeine drinks such as coffee and colas because caffeine increases fluid loss. Avoid alcoholic drinks—they also cause dehydration.

Should you drink coffee before a hike? ›

Caffeinated beverages can provide a quick boost, but be careful not to drink too much caffeine before hitting the trails, or you might feel more tired than before. It is always best to hike with plenty of water and healthy snacks, but caffeinated beverages can be a good option if you need an extra pick-me-up.

What every hiker needs? ›

These items should be on your hiking checklist:
  • Hiking backpack.
  • Weather-appropriate clothing (think moisture-wicking and layers)
  • Hiking boots or shoes.
  • Plenty of food.
  • Plenty of water.
  • Navigation tools such as a map and compass.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Knife or multi-tool.

Which trail is harder at or PCT? ›

The PCT is harder logistically than the AT which has ample trail towns or a water supply nearly every five to eight miles. In the PCT desert, water is scarce. You need to fill up at water caches and carry more water through long, waterless stretches of the desert.

Which Triple Crown trail is the easiest? ›

Pacific Crest Trail

The PCT runs roughly 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, passing through California, Oregon, and Washington. The PCT is graded for horses, which means it lacks the steep scrambles found on the AT.

What are the 3 major trails in the US? ›

The Triple Crown consists of the Big Three National Scenic Trails: The Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. Completing the Triple Crown requires about 7,900 miles of hiking through 22 US States.

How many miles can you hike a day? ›

At a pace of 2 mph (slower than average), you can comfortably hike 10 miles in a day. For through-hikes, the distance varies but hikers can cover anywhere from 10-20 miles a day, with experienced hikers reaching distances of 30 miles a day.

What is the most famous trail in the US? ›

Ice Age Trail

The US's most famous long-distance trails – the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest – follow mountain ranges running from north to south.

What state has most hiking trails? ›

These states have all of the gorgeous landscapes a hiker could want, including towering mountain rages, beautiful bodies of water, luscious greenery, and even desert-scapes.
...
Best States For Hiking 2022.
StateHiking Rank
Colorado1
Washington2
Utah3
Oregon4
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Can you get in shape by hiking? ›

No matter how tricky (or easy) your trail, every hike has its perks. First, even a moderate one-hour hike can burn around 400 calories, all while strengthening your core and lower body. And as the elevation goes up, so do the benefits of hiking.

Can beginners hike Angels Landing? ›

But the trail to Angels Landing is far from a beginner-friendly hike. In fact, even those with some hiking experience will want to consider their abilities before attempting it. At 5.5 miles roundtrip and climbing nearly 1,500 feet in elevation, the trail is physically demanding.

How scary is Angels Landing? ›

First of all, it is quite strenuous, you hike about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) straight up. The last kilometer is the scary part, the pathway is very narrow and, on both sides, there are sheer drops of 1000 feet (300 meters). So hiking this trail might not the best idea if you're afraid of heights.

When was the last time someone died on Angels Landing? ›

Most recent deaths in 2020 and 2021

There were no recorded falls in 2020. Most news outlets are reporting 2 recent deaths at Angels Landing in early 2021 – Corbin McMillen (late February) and Jason Hartwell (early March).

What mountain has killed the most climbers? ›

Annapurna I (Nepal)

The deadliest mountain in the world is a specific ascent of Annapurna, another peak in the Himalayas. The route is so deadly because of an extremely steep face. Astonishingly, 58 people have died from just 158 attempts. It has the greatest fatality rate of any ascent in the world.

How many bodies are on K2 mountain? ›

As of February 2021, only 377 people have completed the ascent to its summit. There have been 91 deaths during attempted climbs, according to the list maintained on the list of deaths on eight-thousanders.

What mountain has the most climbing deaths? ›

Martin Armstrong. The main peak of the Annapurna massif is the most dangerous of the world's mountains, with a 29% fatality rate of everyone who tries to climb it. Since 1900, an estimated 244 expeditions have resulted in 72 deaths. The next most dangerous, is the Kangchenjunga is with a 29.1% death rate.

Does Boise have mountain views? ›

Mountain View Park is located in west Boise.

Where is Boise National Forest? ›

The Boise National Forest covers about 2,612,000 acres and is located north and east of the city of Boise, Idaho. Come experience the Boise National Forest. Here, elevations range from 2,600 to 9,800 feet. The mountainous landscape developed through uplifting, faulting, and stream cutting.

How many national parks are there in Idaho? ›

The six national parks, reserves, historic sites, and monuments in Idaho contain a wide variety of interesting places and experiences. These include recreational areas, archeological sites, nature preserves and volcanic parks.

Is Table Rock Idaho Open? ›

Table Rock is accessible Sunrise to Sunset daily. Walking/hiking/biking paths via the Foothills trail system provide recreational access. Parking for these purposes is available near the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Access after dark is prohibited.

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