So You're Looking for a Great View?
Well, this is one of the best views over looking the Olympia area!
2,659 feet above sea level, Capital Peak provides a wide view of the Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier, and a wide panorama of the surrounding areas. Accessible year around depending on your mode of transportation, a visit up here is nearly always a pleasant experience. (weather dependant of course) Capital Forest encompasses about 91,000 acres in the Black Hills. It's a "working forest" providing many uses including recreation, forest research, forest production, and natural habitat for fish and wildlife.
My suggestion for best viewing is to plan when the air quality is good but winds are low. Not an easy thing to time I know, but if the summer haze is out, the viewing distance will be cut down. Just something to think about anyway.
There's a labyrinth of roads and trails criss-crossing Capital Forest, so a map is highly recommended. Try the local outdoor outfitters or the Park Headquarters on Black Lake Blvd across from Lumbermens. The Dept of Natural Resources manages the forest, and is the maker of the map I use. The trail system is divided into two user groups. The South side of the forest is dedicated to horse riders and hikers. The North is for Off Road Vehicles (ORV). Mnt bikers can access all trails.
This abbreviated map does show the main roads (black)and a few of the trails (red). Note Capital Peak in the southwest quadrant. This is not even close to showing all the side roads and trails intersecting the forest. The road approaching Capital Peak from the SE is marked C-4200 on my map. But while driving back down, we discovered the signs said 7000, no wonder I missed it driving up.
There is a gate at the bottom of the hill leading to the top. It's open sometimes, but not always! So there is a possibility of having to hike the last stretch to the top. It's a steep walk, so I'm rating the terrain accordingly in case it is closed. If the gates open the terrain is much easier since its nearly a drive up cache. While placing the cache, we noted a 300' elevation gain and approximately 1/2 mile from gate to cache.
Sitting on the peak is a complex of communications equipment and towers. Just keep looking in awe at the external view and accept the equipment as a necessary evil for progress I guess. There are many other caches with fine views in Capital Forest, so be sure to look for others to find while enjoying a day in the Forest. Don't forget your camera and have fun!
Nominated for Cache of the Month: August 2007