Capitol State Forest
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Color photo of trees in Capitol 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:
Those interested in learning about planned forest activities in or near Capitol State Forest may use our Habitat Conservation Planrecreation 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.
 

Recreation

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. Limit stay to 10 days per year. Camp only in designated campgrounds, from May 1 to November 30.
  • DNR currently has a statewide burn ban through September 30, 2015. This burn ban prohibits campfires in state forests, state parks and anywhere else on the 13 million acres of Washington forestlands DNR protects from wildfire. Learn more about outdoor burning.
  • 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 may bring unleashed dogs controlled by voice command.
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.

Recreation Sites

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.
 
Directions: Start at intersection of Waddell Creek Road and Noschka Road. Go west on C-Line Road, 3.3 miles. Turn south on D-3000 Road and go 2.5 miles. Trailhead and campground are on the right.
 
Margaret McKenny Campground and Trailhead
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.
 
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.
 
McLane Creek Nature Trail
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.
 
Recreation alert: McLane Creek will be closed Wednesday, July 29 for invasive weed control. The site will re-open at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 30.
 
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.
 
Middle Waddell Campground and Trailhead
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.
 
This equestrian-oriented campground has corrals, six campsites, and one toilet. The trailhead provides hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers access to Capitol State Forest non-motorized trails.
 
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. Go past trailhead .2 miles to campground.
 
Porter Creek Campground
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.
 
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.
 
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.