Capitol Forest contains one of the most extensive trail systems in the region, and it's all open to mountain biking, much of it quite rigorous. The loose rocky trails, muddy bogs, and sharp hills on this ride demand a full supply of both stamina and riding skill.
But the beautiful lush forest and out-and-out adventure of it all make the hills seem more like minor nuisances than lung-busters. Like the Porter Creek loop, Mima Creek is located on the nonmotorized side of Capitol Forest. You won't be bothered by engines, but you will have to contend with trails chopped up and pureÃ©d by horse hooves. Ride with care as hikers, runners, and equestrians use these trails extensively.
From the parking area, ride back toward the campground entrance and find the Green Line 6 and Trail 8 access trail. Stay on the main trail - ignoring spurs - as you wind down to Waddell Creek, 0.3 mile. At creekside, bear right and pedal for a short distance to a bridge, 0.4 mile. Cross the bridge and ride up the trail on the opposite bank. The trail switchbacks up to a fork - turn right (passing the 'DO NOT ENTER' trail on the left). Pedal up a steep hill to a road at 0.6 mile. Ignore a singletrack back to the right just prior to the road. Ignore another trail straight across the road. Turn right onto the road. At 0.65 mile, ignore yet another trail on the right. When the road divides at 0.7 mile, bear left and ascend. At 0.8 mile, find the Waddell Loop Trail on the left and take it.
At 1.5 mile, cross a gravel road and continue down the beautiful trail on the opposite side. Ignore a trail back on the right at 1.6 miles. When the trail splits again, turn right, riding away from the Firearms Impact Area. At 1.8 miles, bypass two trails on the right and continue ascending gently through a clearcut on a loose trail. At 2.2 miles, reach a T at Green Line Trail 6 and turn right on Mima-Porter Trail 8. At 2.4 miles, cross a road. The trail narrows. At 2.8 miles, bypass a lesser trail on the right. Cross over a bridge at 2.9 miles. Ignore a trail on the right at 3.1 miles. When the trail forks at 3.8 miles, go left (the right fork is Trail 10). Just after a bridge at 3.9 miles, reach a fork and bear left.
Arrive at Mima Falls, 4.2 miles. At 4.7 miles, after a downhill traverse to a bridge and a short climb, reach a road. Continue on the trail across the road. The trail crosses another road at 5.1 miles. From here, a long grueling hill begins. Ride straight across another road to the trail on the opposite side, 6.2 miles. The climbing and switchbacking continue up to 7.3 miles, where the trail levels somewhat. Stay on the main trail, ignoring the short spur roads. At 7.8 miles, ride across another road to the trail opposite. At a 4-way intersection, 8.2 miles, continue straight on the main trail.
At 9.4 miles, reach an intersection of gravel roads - D-4000 and D-5000. Find the trail diagonally across the intersection. At a fork in the trail, 9.9 miles, turn left, staying on Mima-Porter Trail 8. (A right turn onto Trail 20 shortens the ride by 7 miles; pick up the ride again at the 17.4-mile mark when Trail 20 intersects with Green Line Trail 6.) From the intersection, the rocky trail descends along Lost Creek to its confluence with Sherman Creek at 11.5 miles. Just before Sherman Creek, the trail divides - turn right, riding up Sherman Creek on Mima-Porter Trail 8. The trail up Sherman Creek changes from smooth to muddy to rocky, crossing numerous bridges in various states of repair.
At 14.4 miles, reach the junction with Green Line Trail 6. Turn right onto Trail 6, toward the McKenny Camp. (Fall Creek Camp sits across Sherman Creek to the left.) From here, the climbing begins in earnest. Cross a road to the trail on the other side, 16.4 miles. Pass Trail 20 on the right at 16.6 miles - stay on Trail 6, left. At 16.9 miles, cross a road. At 17.1 miles, ignore a trail off to the right; stay on the singletrack. At 17.4 miles, the trail parallels a gravel road then drifts away from it. Cross gravel roads at 17.8 miles and 18.0 miles. From here the route drops quickly down a very rough trail.
At 20.2 miles, a gravel road marks the junction of Trail 6 and Trail 10. Turn left just before the road, to remain on Green Line Trail 6 toward McKenny Camp. When the trail forks at 20.6 miles, turn left onto Trail 6A. At 20.8 miles, cross a dirt road. At 21.1 miles, ignore a trail on the left then immediately cross a road to the trail opposite. Things should look familiar. When the trail forks at 21.2 miles, bear right and descend to Waddell Creek. From the creek, ride up the access trail to the McKenny Camp parking area, 21.7 miles.
Directions: From Seattle, take Interstate 5 to Exit 95 south of Olympia. The exit ramp wraps around to Highway 121. Set your odometer to zero when you reach Hwy 121, then turn left (west) toward Littlerock. At 3.0 miles, pass through Littlerock, following signs to Capitol Forest. At 3.8 miles, reach a T and turn right. At 6.3 miles, just after entering Capitol Forest, pull into Margaret McKenny Campground on the left. Take note of a trail on the right immediately after entering, but proceed straight. Take the second left to find the day-use parking and equestrian staging area.