Capitol Forest Loop

May 2nd, 2016

I did this Capitol Forest Loop hike after an invite from my friend Craig. Craig wanted to scope out some of the trails in and around the Capitol Forest near Olympia for one of his upcoming urban trails books that he is currently working on. Capitol Forest has many miles of trails. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on what user group you are in), I would estimate that over half of the trails are open to ORVs. Typically the northern trails are open to ORV, while the ones to the south are muscle powered only, via foot, bike or horse. The good news is that Capitol Forest is a big place and there is more than enough room for everyone, although it might be a little noisy on the weekends.

We started our hike from the Fall Creek Trailhead and hiked the Wedikind, Crestline, Greenline loop going clockwise.

Start of the Wedikind Trail near the trailhead.
Lots of signs just like this one all over the Capitol Forest.
Craig. Always working. The mountain biker was one we met at the trailhead. Since it was a weekday, we only saw maybe 2 or 3 people all day, mostly on bikes. At the end of our hike, there were several more mountain bikers at the trailhead preparing for an after work ride, but Craig and I had the place mostly to ourselves during the day.
Back to the task at hand. Hiking!
The trails were in great shape, as were the many bridges we crossed. You can tell the Cap Forest is well loved by it's various user groups.
Another bridge
Great singletrack.
The views started to open up. There are actually lots of great views up here if you can get over the fact they they are all due to the clear-cuts. Capitol Forest is a working forest. If you look closely you can just make out Mt Saint Helens in the distance.
Rainier in the distance.
Great signage up here.
This was on one of the bridges. I believe the bridge, as well as a lot of the trails in Cap Forest are maintained by these guys.
Craig taking notes on the start of a clear cut.
The forested sections were covered in a carpet of this flora. It was really quite lovely.
We followed the Wedikind trail to the Crestline Trail.
Hmm....
We got off the Crestline Trail near the connection with the Greenline Trail and followed the road up to the top of Capitol Peak.
Lots of good views from here. Rainier.
Mt Adams
Mt Saint Helens
Craig at work.
Panorama from the summit
It wasn't all beautiful however.
I guess if there have to be TV, radio and cell towers, Capitol Peak is as good a place as any other summit to have them. Someone will no doubt complain about them where ever they are placed.
Entering another clearcut on the way down the Greenline Trail
Uhhh...
Fall Creek
Great Trails
Friends Of Capitol Forest handiwork
They (heart) these trails
Beautiful trails
Almost finished
Birds Eye View

In summary: The Capitol Forest is a lot of fun. Would I go here in the summer to hike when the high mountain trails open up? Probably not. But I do think it would be fun to come here in the winter months to keep conditioned since lots of low elevation (snow free) miles can be done here. If I lived near Olympia I would be coming here a lot. Mountain biking this would be a blast.

 

Driving Directions to Fall Creek Trailhead: Southbound & Northbound on I-5 take exit 95 (Maytown), go WEST towards the Farmboy Restaurant. Follow Maytown Road to stop sign by the Littlerock School. Proceed STRAIGHT (128th) going past the gas station and the tavern and head up the hill. At the stop sign turn RIGHT and follow Waddell Creek Road SW. Turn LEFT on Sherman Valley Road and continue west. 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. (Disclaimer; I admit that I wasn't paying attention to how we got to the trailhead. These directions are cobbled together from a couple different sources I found on the internet. Use at your discretion. Another good reason to buy Craig's book when it comes out.)

 

Click here to learn more about Craig Romano and some of the books he has written.

Click here to view other hikes I've done with Craig.

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