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Equine Loop at Capitol State Forest

The Equine Loop, located about five miles south of Olympia, Washington, is the only trail among Capitol State Forest’s nearly 50 miles of non-motorized trails that doesn’t allow mountain bikes.  It’s also the only trail in the forest that is open year-round.  And it offers a view of Mt. Rainier!

Equine Loop at Capitol State Forest

Difficulty:  Moderate

Distance:  4 miles round trip

Elevation:  300 to 550 feet

Equine Loop at Capitol State Forest

The Ride

The Equine Loop starts at Margaret McKenny Campground.  You’ll ride out on the Margaret McKenny Trail, which will take you to the Equine Loop Trail, crossing the bridge over Waddell Creek on the way. 

Equine Loop at Capitol State Forest

The Equine Loop goes through pretty second-growth forest and through clear cuts, providing plenty of variety in what you’ll see on the ride.  The view of Mt. Rainier is near the halfway point on the Equine Loop. 

Equine Loop at Capitol State Forest

The Camping

Margaret McKenny Campground has day-use parking for 10+ trailers, plus six equestrian campsites for overnight stays.  Five of the sites have 1-horse or 2-horse corrals with concrete floors, and each site has a manure bin.  All sites have fire rings, picnic tables, and trees for highlining. Read all about it at

Equine Loop at Capitol State Forest

Getting There

From I-5 south of Olympia, take Exit 95 and head west on Maytown Road SW toward Littlerock.  After 3 miles the road goes through Littlerock and becomes 128th Avenue SW.   Continue straight for another 0.8 mile and turn right on Waddell Creek Road SW.  The campground is ahead on the left in 2.4 miles. 

Learn More

You’ll find more information about the Equine Loop in the Capitol State Forest chapter of Riding SW Washington Horse Trails, by Kim McCarrel, (Ponderosa Press, 2018), available at

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