Capitol State Forest is located five miles southwest of Olympia, the state capitol of Washington. It is a 110,000-acre forest that is used for both recreation and timber production. The forest offers 61 miles of trails dedicated to hiking, biking, and horse riding, as well as 82 miles dedicated for motorcycles and ATV.
This forest is loved by locals for its vast amount of trails and how easily accessible it is. In recent years the forest has grown in popularity among fast hikers and trail runners. It is home to numerous official and unofficial races. The forest is often referred to as the “hidden gem” amongst the trail running community.
While the forest is close to the city of Olympia, it is important to remember that it is full of wildlife. There have been numerous bear and cougar sightings in the area so remember to always be prepared. The forest also offers a few areas that are open for target shooting. Be sure to check if your hike goes near these areas and take necessary safety measures.
One of the most popular hikes within Capitol State Forest. This short hike is 2.1 miles roundtrip with just 134 feet of elevation gain. This heavily trafficked loop trail takes you to a small lake and on raised boardwalks over wetlands. Depending on the time of year you can see groups of spawning salmon and ducklings.
Just 30 minutes from the city of Olympia, this 6.5 mile hike is easily accessible and offers views of waterfalls and the lush forest. With less than 1,000 feet of elevation gain, this loop hike is great for all skill levels. The trail is open to dogs but they must stay on leash.
Standing at 2,659 feet, Capitol Peak offers incredible views of the Pacific Northwest. On a clear day, those who make it to the top, will be rewarded with views of Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Mount Adams, the Olympic Mountains, Grays Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. This 11 mile hike is perfect for a long day of hiking or trail running.
This forest gets its name because of the close proximity to the Washing state capitol, Olympia. Located at the southern end of the Puget Sound, Olympia is just minutes away from Capitol State Forest. The land where Olympia sits has been home to the Steh-Chass Tribe for thousands of years. The city offers a quaint downtown with local shops and restaurants perfect for visiting after a hike in the forest. Be sure to also check out the waterfront for a quiet view of the Puget Sound.
Located just 31 miles northeast of Olympia, Tacoma is the second largest city in the Puget Sound. It is home to the state’s highest density of art and history museum and is home to a restored urban waterfront. The city is considered a haven for hikers, runners, and cyclist with its proximity to places like Capitol State Forest.