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City of Boise Closing Old Pen Trail at Table Rock to Prevent Damage Due to Mud

December 21, 2021

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. The new agreement gives the City of Boise permitting authority to close the .6-mile Old Pen Trail #15A this winter to prevent damage to the trail tread. The trail starts at the Old Penitentiary Trailhead (2421 E. Old Penitentiary Road).

“This is an important step in our efforts to protect Boise’s natural resources at Table Rock during the muddy season,” said Boise Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway. “We continue to ask trail users to do their part and stay off wet trails to prevent long-term damage throughout the popular Ridge to Rivers system. It’s up to all of us to take care of the trails and encourage others to do the same.”

The closure period for the trail is weather-dependent. It will start Wednesday, December 22 and is expected to last through at least the second week of March. The area will reopen once conditions have dried out and the potential for muddy trail damage subsides. Trailhead parking will not be affected by this seasonal trail closure.

“Trails in the Table Rock area have a high clay content, and as such, are highly susceptible to damage from irresponsible trail use during winter months,” said Ridge to Rivers Program Manager David Gordon. “The Old Pen Trail is arguably the most susceptible to damage and by closing it this winter, we hope to prevent further damage while slowly improving tread conditions over time.”

Access to the top of Table Rock will still be possible via Table Rock Trail #15, also located at the Old Penitentiary Trailhead, when conditions are dry enough or frozen.


The Ridge to Rivers team encourages all trail users to check daily trail condition reports on Facebook or the Ridge to Rivers website before hiking, running or riding in the Boise Foothills. Conditions are currently wet when temperatures are above freezing, leaving many trails across the system muddy and susceptible to damage. If you are leaving tracks, it’s time to turn around and recreate elsewhere. This is especially true for trails in the Table Rock area that are frequently too muddy to use without causing damage during the winter months. For more information on responsible winter trail use, visit the Ridge to Rivers website.


The City of Boise leads the Ridge to Rivers partnership that also includes Ada County, the Bureau of Land Management Four Rivers Field Office, the Boise National Forest and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The Ridge to Rivers Trail System is comprised of more than 200 miles of trails throughout the Boise Foothills. These trails often cross land managed by a combination of partner agencies.