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  1. #1
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    Riding near Olympia?

    Hello,

    It looks like there is a chance we might be moving to Olympia for my wife's job. I've done a bit of digging around and it seems the only trails really close by are Capitol State Forest. I've checked out the sticky thread and have looked at evergreenmtb.org. Is there anything else substantial within an hour's (or so) drive where you could go ride all day without doing laps? If I have to drive much more than that I'm staying for a weekend.

    We currently live in Western North Carolina where with a 10 minute car drive I have access to hundreds of miles of trails. I like steep, technical, and epic, generally the more rocks and roots the better. We get almost 50 inches of rain a year here but way more sunshine than Olympia.

    Any other info/opinions about bike commuting, the job market, or Olympia in general would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    ssjohn

  2. #2
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    Capitol Forest is a great place to ride. There are plenty or rocks and roots for you up there! I think there is enough riding to keep you pretty busy for a long time. I'm not sure of the actual mile count of MTB trails, but it's enough that you could ride all day without doing more than one lap on a loop. Plus we're talking about lots of elevation change too, the peak sits at 2600ft, so you could ride way up and way down if you wanted to.

    Taken from the forest web site: Capitol Forest Washington
    "Capitol Forest is - 91,650 acres, 166 miles of singletrack, 575 miles of road, base 600ft and summit 2659ft "

    Some of the 166 miles is dirt bike trails, but there is no reason you couldn't ride those... in the off season.

    If you drive north, south, east or west, there are trails and parks here and there that are pretty great. I have not been up north, but Seattle has some MTB parks and trails that sound pretty awesome!

    Hope that helps!

  3. #3
    Johnny Dependable
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    You might have to drive a bit further then you are used to if you want some variety beyond the extensive trail network Capital Forest has to offer, but there will be plenty of riding within your reach. If you are a laid back person who likes to live simply and naturally then Olympia is one of the best towns in the pacific northwest. I think you will love it there.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info. One thing I couldn't completely decipher from the capitol forest website was the mountain biking "season schedule". Are certain trails off limits during the summer because of OHV's?

    We're currently in Asheville, NC which is incredibly laid back and chill. It is basically a beer drinking artsy hippie town with a bunch of hardcore outdoor enthusiasts. Does Olympia have any kind of local beer scene? I'm also a climber so I'll have to look into areas for that as well.

    How good/extensive are the trails in Olympic National Forest? Looking at google maps, it looks nice and mountainous and there is a decent list on the forest service website.

    Other places we might wind up are Medford, OR, Fort Collins, CO, or Richmond, VA. The only place I'm not really a fan of is Richmond.

    Thanks for all the help!

  5. #5
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    Medford OR has some great riding nearby too. Though it's a pretty isolated place to live in general. Much drier then western WA, but also a lot hotter in the summer.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssjohn View Post
    Thanks for the info. One thing I couldn't completely decipher from the capitol forest website was the mountain biking "season schedule". Are certain trails off limits during the summer because of OHV's?
    No, not off-limits. Mt. bikers will have preference to ride the OHV trails as an alternative, and will usually avoid em in preference to the Greenline (non-motorized) trails. Horses and motos are seasonal there, but that doesn't guarantee great trail conditions (clay, overgrowth etc)
    Once you learn the system you maneuver to where the conditions are best, if you're looking for variety and getting off the main staples.

    Capitol Forest Washington Capital Forest Washington Mountain Biking Equestrian Horse Back Riding Trail Running ATV Motorcycle Department of Natural Resources

    Quote Originally Posted by ssjohn View Post
    How good/extensive are the trails in Olympic National Forest? Looking at google maps, it looks nice and mountainous and there is a decent list on the forest service website.
    There's not much worthwhile riding in the Olympic National Forest in terms of opportunity, mainly due to Wilderness Designation, and National Parks restrictions. The more popular trails are a bit of a drive, such as Dungeness/Gold (Sequim), or LBQ(Quilcene). But one of the nicer river trails in this state is the Skokomish, and it's not that far from Oly.

    Most of the mountain rides open in Summer/Fall are in the Cascades.
    .~...|\
    ...~.|.\
    ..~..|..\
    .~...|...\
    ~....|....\
    ...~.|.....\
    ....~|____\
    _____||_________
    .\....FAILBOAT..../

  7. #7
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    I've been to Ashland OR before for a few days and enjoyed it. I'm not 100% positive, but I think we drove over to Medford one evening to visit a climbing gym.

    It looks like Sequim is almost in Canada, lol. The wife's job applications are in so now we wait and see...

  8. #8
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    I'm at nearly 13 years in Olympia now. I too moved here for a job and did not think I would stay originally. Capital is a great place to ride, trail heads are about 25 to 40 minutes from down town. Plenty of elevation, plenty of loop options, good quality of trail. In terms of just mountain biking, you should probably get into the mindset you are downgrading from your current location though, and I don't know anything about where you are from. We just aren't 10 minutes to 100's of miles of trail.

    But our access to the ocean, big mountains for biking and skiing....kills NC no doubt. I like Olympia because within a 2 hour drive, we can go for a ton of various killer options for outdoor rec.

  9. #9
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    I live in Olympia and feel very blessed to be so close to Capitol Forest. It has a little bit of everything, depending on the mood you're in. You can do 100 miles out there and not repeat a section of trail. Mountain bikes are allowed all year long, but other users are restricted to the summer/fall months. It can be confusing if you are new to the area though. There are group rides every Wednesday night at 6:00pm and Saturday at 10am. If you go to the Capitol Forest website and join the Yahoo group, you can hook up with some other local riders as well.

  10. #10
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    The riding at Capitol Forest is great for short or epic after work rides. On the weekends you'll have easy access to the Seattle and highway 510 trail systems. If you're willing to drive a few hours, you can also hit up the Anacortes and Bellingham trails, or Hood River in Oregon. Whistler is also doable in a weekend (4 to 5 hrs driving each way) Plus the Pacific Ocean is close for non-bike related activities. As for the beer scene, it's small, but there is a decent bottle shop, the fishtail brewery, and the Eastside Club Tavern will blow your mind (Pliny the Elder almost always on tap...). Seattle is less than an hour away, and Beervana aka Portland is around 2. If I had to leave bellingham (which will never happen!!!) I wouldn't have much problem living in the Olympia area.

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