Capitol State Forest
Conveniently located just 5 miles from Olympia, Capitol State Forest is a popular place for a variety of recreation opportunities. Open to the public since 1955, campers, hikers, hunters, horseback riders, mountain bikes, and off-road vehicle (ORV) riders all play here. Whether spending a week in a campsite, an hour picking mushrooms, or taking an afternoon drive for the scenic views, an estimated 800,000 people visit the forest each year.
Capitol Forest is divided into two parts to prevent conflicts between motorized and non-motorized recreation. Motorized recreation, such as ORVs, is allowed on the northern half, and horseback riding is limited to the south. Mountain bikers and hikers use both halves of the forest, with some trails limited to hikers only.
Trails are open year-round for hikers and mountain bikers. Trails for motorized vehicles and horseback riders are open from May through November, along with the forest campgrounds. Trail closures during the winter help DNR protect forest soils and streams that are important for fish habitat.
NOTE: Capitol State Forest is a working forest with active timber harvests occuring throughout the year. Some trails and roads may be closed temporarily. Before you head out to the forest, check the status of the roads and trails.
With Washington's population increasing, and more and more forest land being developed, there are fewer forests for people to enjoy. As a working forest, Capitol State Forest can continue to be a place where people work and play outdoors, where the harvesting and replanting cycle brings an unending stream of revenue to the school and county trusts, and where native plant and animals and their habitats thrive—for centuries to come.
Volunteers help create a better forest experience
DNR relies on the good work of volunteers to help build and maintain campgrounds and trails in Capitol State Forest. They pick up garbage, restore damaged areas, and provide information to visitors. Many people volunteer in organized recreation groups, some as individuals, and all care about the forest.