I have been making the hike up Table Rock since my elementary school field trip days. It has been everything from a fun activity with friends to a place to spend quality time with my Mom, from a spur of the moment way to kill boredom to a place to get away from the stresses of the everyday electronic (digital!) world. Currently, my boyfriend and I make the trip there whenever we both have a day off and aren't too busy with life's chores, which ends up being once every week or so.
All you need to get there is a small amount of gas (I suppose that depends on where you’re coming from, but if you’re staying at our apartment then you won’t need much). Table Rock is free to enter, and I’d only suggest bringing water, some snacks, and of course a variety of cameras!
There are actually two Table Rocks, “upper” and “lower.” Upper is the hike we always take, a little more steep but taking you to the top more quickly. I’m pretty sure dogs aren’t allowed, but in all my years going I have yet to see even one police officer and have seen countless dogs, as well as dog poop! =D
Besides housing a plethora of beautiful wildflowers and trees, wildlife can be seen and possibly even photographed if you’re quick, including lizards, snakes, birds and rabbits. Another restriction I believe is that it’s only “open” during the daytime, but again I have gone in the evening many times and ran across fellow hikers, never of whom were cops. The nighttime hike can be spooky, depending on how many people you have and whether or not you remember your flashlights!
My understanding is that Table Rock was once a sanctuary for certain Native American tribes, but I have also heard talk of it being an airplane landing area (maybe just gossip due to it’s literally flat shape; both Table Rocks are cliff-edged mesas). Driving towards them you will truly see giant tables from far away, and I continue to be amazed every time I reach the top and think “wow, I am standing on top of that huge table!”
I have yet to get bored of taking photos during this outing. Different cameras, films, and even states of mind help to capture all this beautiful, natural place has to offer. I could probably take this hike for the rest of my life and never quite capture all of it’s beauty and tranquility.
We need more places like this where you can spend quality time with friends, family, and significant others without needing to spend money or sign papers just to get in. I hope everyone that can ever visit this place appreciates it as much as I do.