Capitol State Forest

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. Click here to view a map of completed and proposed Capitol State Forest timber sales. 
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.


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.
  • There are five reservable campsites available at Margaret McKenny campground.
  • Capitol Forest campgrounds are closed Dec. 1 - April 30 for the winter season. 
  • Limit stay to 7 days per year. Camp only in designated campgrounds, from May 1 to November 30.
  • Enjoy a campfire in approved fire pits in designated campgrounds only. Always check for burn restrictions before lighting a campfire. 
  • Don't Move Firewood: Help protect Pacific Northwest forests by preventing the spread of invasive species. Firewood can carry insects and diseases that can threaten the health of our western forests. Please purchase firewood near your campsite. Find more information here.
  • Pack out what you pack in. No dispersed camping allowed.
  • Trails are open to foot traffic year-round.
  • E-bikes (motorized assist bikes) are considered motorized vehicles, and are therefore allowed only on DNR trails that allow off-road vehicles. 
  • 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. 
  • Triangle Pit is open to target shooters. Click here for an infographic with target shooting rules when there is not a recreation alert in place. Noncompliance could lead to closure. 
    • Triangle Pit has limited winter hours from Nov. 2 to March 10. The pit is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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.
2018 Events Calendar
To see what events our partners are hosting in Capitol State Forest in 2018, click here

Leave No Trace 

For your safety and the safety of our wildlife, please follow "Pack It In, Pack It Out" guidelines. Food and garbage that is left behind or improperly disposed of can attract wildlife and create potentially dangerous situations for visitors. Please store all food items and garbage in your vehicle or secure it in a bear canister. NEVER feed wildlife.

Recreation Sites

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. 
Directions: From Waddell Creek Road continue west on Sherman Valley Road. At the 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 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.
There are five reservable campsites in Margaret McKenny Campground. Reservations must be made at least three days before and no more than three months in advance of your visit. You may only reserve one site.
Submit your reservation request to with the following information:
  1. Your first and last NAMES
  2. The SITE you are interested in reserving (A-5, B-4, B-6, C-4 or C-5)
  3. The DATES you are requesting to reserve the site (start date and departure date)
  4. Whether you will accept another site if the site requested is not available
  5. Primary vehicle LICENSE NUMBER, including STATE (if arriving by motor vehicle)
  6. Total number of vehicles
  7. Size of recreational vehicle (RV) 
  8. Total number of people
  9. Whether your group has horses (B loop sites) 
Please allow at least 24 hours for a reply. Reservations are first come, first served based on date and time email is received. The campground is open May 1 to December 1.  
Further instructions will be emailed to you when your reservation is processed. If your RV is over 24 feet in length please specify so we can ensure your site will accommodate your vehicle. 
Information regarding voluntary material or volunteer labor donations to assist operations in the campground will be provided in the reply email.
Sites with unfilled reservations are available after 7 p.m. on a first come, first served basis, one night only.
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: Hungry Hippo Timber Sale and Harvest (learn more)
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. The 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. Find a map of the Mima Falls trail system here.
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
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. 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