Capitol State Forest
Located southwest of Olympia in the Black Hills of Grays Harbor and Thurston counties, the 100,000-acre Capitol State Forest is both a timber-producing forest and a popular recreation destination. Like many of the forests DNR manages, the lands in Capitol State Forest are trust lands managed to provide sustainable revenue in support of schools, state universities and local county public services.
The chief sources of trust revenue in this forest include timber production, biomass byproducts, communication tower leases, and other activities. Capitol State Forest is one of DNR's highest timber-yielding forests and is conveniently located near where the department's replanting effort seedlings are grown, at Webster Forest Nursery.
In addition to earning income, Capitol Forest’s undeveloped working lands provide habitat for native plants and animals, water retention and water quality benefits, and diverse recreation opportunities.
When working or visiting Capitol State Forest, always remember to:
- Be alert for other road users, ranging from heavy vehicles to bicycles, and check your speed accordingly.
- Know the fire risk and of any burn restrictions or Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL) restrictions before entering.
Those interested in learning about planned forest activities in or near Capitol State Forest may use our Habitat Conservation Plan, recreation planning, Forest Practices Application Review System (FPARS), and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) web pages to find out about proposed and authorized timber harvests, thinning projects, road projects, planning efforts, and other activities.
Just a short drive from Olympia, Capitol State Forest has trailheads, day-use areas, and campgrounds with access to the forest's hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and off-road vehicle riding trail systems. From horseback riding at Mima Falls, to mountain biking and off-road-vehicle riding at Rock Candy, Capitol State Forest provides a variety of recreational opportunities. Horseback riding-oriented campgrounds, like the Margaret Mckenny, offer corals and hitching posts, while off-road vehicle-oriented campgrounds, like the Middle Waddell, provide access to the forest's motorized trail system. Visitors should follow these rules to keep their trips safe and fun.
- To access recreation sites on DNR-managed land with your vehicle, you'll need a Discover Pass, your ticket to Washington's great outdoors.
- Campsites available first come, first served so there's no need to make a reservation.
- Capitol Forest campgrounds are closed Dec. 1 - April 30 for the winter season.
- Limit stay to 10 days per year. Camp only in designated campgrounds, from May 1 to November 30.
- Enjoy campfires in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds only. Check for burn restrictions.
- Pack out what you pack in. No dispersed camping allowed.
- Trails are open to foot traffic year-round.
- Off-road vehicle riders and horseback riders can enjoy Capitol State Forest trails from May 1 to November 30 only.
- Dogs allowed on leash. Horseback riders and mountain bikers may bring unleashed dogs controlled by voice command.
- Capitol State Forest has areas closed to target shooting. No shooting allowed
- On a 5-mile corridor on the C-Line, starting from D-4000 up to Low Bank Pit.
- On the D-4000 between the C-Line and D-Line.
View a trail map of the Capitol State Forest trails. Or, download our georeferenced map to your smartphone using the Avenza PDF Maps Mobile app. For downloading instructions, visit our blog.
DNR's Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve is located just near the Capitol State Forest and offers a short nature walk. The nearby Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve and Chehalis River Surge Plain Natural Area Preserve also provide low-impact recreation opportunities. Use our statewide interactive recreation map to find recreation opportunities near you.
2017 Events Calendar
To see what's happening in Capitol State Forest in 2017, click here.
To see what's happening in Capitol State Forest in 2017, click here.
Fall Creek Campground and Trailhead
This campground is a favorite among local equestrian groups. The trailhead provides access to hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking opportunities. Fall Creek Campground has eight campsites, a horse corral, and toilet. No campfires currently allowed.
Recreation alert: Expect high use during the Friends of Capitol Forest's Capitol Forest Classic on Aug. 11 and 12. While still open to visitors, Fall Creek Campground and surrounding trails will be heavily used during this event. To find other DNR recreation sites and trails to explore, visit dnr.wa.gov/go.
Directions: From Waddell Creek Road continue west on Sherman Valley Road. At intersection of Noschka Road go west on C-Line Road 3.3 miles. Turn left on C-6000 Road and go south 2.5 miles. Trailhead is on right. Get directions.
Margaret McKenny is an equestrian-oriented campground with horse corrals. The campground has 24 sites, three toilets, and a camp host site with a shelter. Trailhead provides access to non-motorized trails in Capitol State Forest.
Recreation alert: As of Thursday, July 13, the hand pump for water for horses is currently broken. Check back for updates.
Directions: Continue on Waddell Creek Road from Mima Mound Natural Area entrance for 1.6 miles. Turn left. Go .2 miles to site. Get directions.
This 1.5-mile hiking-only trail offers an excellent location for viewing wildlife and is open year-round. While the trail takes hikers along the creek, visitors can also view the beaver pond in the day-use area. View our trail map.
Directions: Start 4 miles west of Olympia at Mud Bay exit of US-Hwy 101. Go south on Delphi Road for 3.3 miles. Turn right for .4 miles to site. Get directions.
This ORV-oriented campground offers access to Capitol State Forest's 89 miles of motorized trail. Campground has 24 campsites, and four toilets.
Directions: Continue west on Waddell Creek Road from Margaret McKenny entrance for 1.2 miles. Turn left .1 miles to site. Get directions.
Mima Falls Trailhead
This equestrian-oriented trailhead has a horse ramp and room for horse trailers. The trailhead provides hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers access to Capitol State Forest non-motorized trails.
Recreation alert: Starting Saturday, July 29, DNR and volunteers will spend the next two to three Saturdays replacing a bridge on the Mima Falls Trail. The worksite is located on the Mima Falls East Trail between the first road crossing (E-9000 Road) and the Mima Falls Tie Trail. Staff and volunteers will try to keep the trail oepn during construction, though visitors should expect a detour or delay. Check back for updates.
Directions: Start in Littlerock. Go west for .8 miles. Turn left on Mima Road. Go 1.3 miles. Turn right on Bordeaux Road. Go .7 miles. Turn right on Marksman Road. Go .9 miles. Turn left. Go .2 miles to site. Get directions.
Porter Creek Campground is a popular area for motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), and picnicking in the day-use area. This 16-campsite campground is near Porter Creek and surrounded by large Douglas-fir trees. No campfires currently allowed.
Directions: Start at junction of SR-12 and Porter Creek Road. Go northeast on Porter Creek Road for 3.4 miles. At the intersection, go straight on B-line Road for .6 miles. Site is on left. Get directions.
Rock Candy Trailhead
Rock Candy Trailhead is a trail system primarily for off-road vehicle and mountain bike riders, as well as hikers. Trail ascends to an open summit with views of the Olympia Mountains and the Puget Sound. Toilet at trailhead.
Directions: From the intersection with US-Hwy 101, go west on SR-8 for 4.5 miles, to the Rock Candy entrance to Capitol Forest. Go south on B-Line Road for .2 mi. to site. Get directions.