Olympia is located on the south side of Puget Sound 60 miles south of Seattle.  It’s also the gateway to the Northern section of Olympic National Forest.  50,000 residents claim the capital of Washington as their home.  Olympia is also known for its art scene and Evergreen State College.

Capitol State Forest is located on the southwest side of Olympia and boasts 150 miles of trails in the 110,000-acre working forest.  A Discover Pass is needed to park at all the trailheads and campgrounds.  There are several trailheads into Capitol State Forest, with Fall Creek Campground and Trailhead, Margaret McKenny Campground Trailhead, Mima Falls Trailhead, and Rock Candy Trailhead being the popular entrances to start a run. Porter Creek Campground is a popular spot on the other side of Capitol State Forest near Elma. The 2600+’ summits of Capitol Peak and Larch Mountain are located smack dab in the middle of Capitol State Forest.  Friends of Capitol Forest maintain the trails here and others trails around Olympia.  For more on how this forest is managed for recreation, industry, and land use, see the Ear to the Ground article on the DNR site.

For the latest trail information in the Capitol State Forest check with the South Puget Sound Region office of the Department of Natural Resources.

South Puget Sound Region Office
950 Farman Avenue N
Enumclaw, WA 98022
Olympia also has Priest Point Park near downtown for a quick trail run.  Kennedy Creek, Chehalis River Surge Plain, and Mima Mounds, are natural areas with short trail systems that are worth a visit if in the area.

Capitol State Forest has over 150 miles of trails and forest roads

Olympia Trail Runs

Margeret McKenny-Mima Falls Loop is an easily accessible trail 13-mile loop in the Capitol State Forest.  Add the Lost Valley loop to round it to a 20-mile run.

Rock Candy Mountain  is a great way to get a good climb in less than 10 miles from the Northside of Capitol State Forest.

Priest Point Park Run is located near downtown Olympia which makes it easy to get a short run done.  The Olytrailrunners meet for a run here every Thursday night.

Millersylvania Park is located just south of Olympia with 8.1 miles of flat trails in 903 acres surrounding Deep Lake.

LBA Park in SE Olympia has a few miles of wooded trails maintained by Friends of LBA Woods Park.

Trail Races

Capitol Peak Mega FatAss 25k and 50k– An out and back from Margaret McKenny Campground to Fall Creek or Capitol Peak event put on by Olytrailrunners.

Capitol Peak 50-mile and 25k – An Olytrailrunners race from Fall Creek Campground featuring some of the most rugged and serene single track trails and grinding sections of gravel road, and, depending on toss-of-the-coin for weather in April, spectacular views.

ScaryAss 25k and 14k– Another Olytrailrunners that features Halloween costumes and lots of fun in the Capitol State Forest.

Mountain Marathon and Hillbilly Half – Guerilla Running race from Rock Candy Mountain trailhead.

Porter Creek Trail Runs 5k, 10 mile, 25k – A low key event from Guerilla Running with multiple distances and a training group (for those interested.) It’s also a great way to show your holiday spirit in the great outdoors of the PNW.

Kennedy Creek Chum Run 5k, 10k, Half Marathon – The Kennedy Creek area is home to a recovering Chum Salmon run.  This Northwest Trail Runs event highlights a great variety of trail sizes and profiles, from flat and wide forest roads through a tunnel of tall trees, to narrow single track that twists and turns it’s way up steep slopes.

Little Backyard Adventure 5k, 11 mile, 18 mile – A little league baseball-themed race in LBA Park directed by Einmaleins Events.

Millersylvania 10k, 30k, 50k – A loop style fun and flat trail race from Rainshadow Running that benefits Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter.

Rock Candy Mountain Run 10k, 30k, 50k – A new race from Einmaleins Events using the trail of Capitol State Forest from Rock Candy trailhead.  Each loop is 10k with 2000′ vertical climbing.

Trail Running Groups

Olytrailrunners started in 2004 by a few trail running enthusiasts who wanted to invite others interested in running on the trails in Olympia area parks.  They have Tuesday and Thursday night group runs and meet at various places on the weekend.


Thursday night group run at Priest Point Park



Olympia Coffee has five locations, including three in Olympia.  Olympia Coffee has won several roasting awards of its fair-trade coffee.

Batdorf & Bronson is located in downtown Olympia and serves freshly roasted coffee and locally baked pastries.  Warm-up next to the cozy fireplace.  Their sister company Dancing Goats Espresso Bar is located in the Olympia Market Centre a half-mile north.

Mud Bay Coffee is a small batch roaster that also serves pastries and wheat and gluten-free cookies.  It’s located in the retail area near Cooper Point and Black Lake off 101 which is a little closer than downtown to Capitol State Forest.


Oly Taproom is located downtown and features Northwest craft beers and ciders.  Look for the Olytrailrunners here on Thursday nights after its Preist Point Run.

Fish Tale Brewpub is Olympia’s oldest brewpub produces Fish Tale Ales.  The pub offers a robust menu featuring local, meat, bread, and produce along with 24 taps of beer and cider.

Three Magnets Brewing is known for its More Reverb IPA and Giga Snap Imperial Stout.  The downtown brewpub serves its beers on tap along with cocktails and cans and bottles of beer and cider from its rare beer fridge.  Three Magnets serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Well80 is a brewery and brewpub built on the site of one of downtown Olympia’s famous Artesian wells.  It’s a great way to get unique brewpub food of burgers, sandwiches, and pizza and sample the Well 80 craft beers.

Matchless Brewing, Hoh River Brewing, and Triceratops Brewing are taprooms just south of Olympia in Tumwater and a little closer to the south side of Capitol State Forest.  They don’t serve food, but you can bring your own.