Take a summer hike or trail run to Mima Falls


Jhere is something mystical about waterfalls. The endless symphony of water crashing beneath the canopy is more than just an example of gravity at work. As water descends, it splits air molecules, creating negative ions that positively affect our brain. Just half an hour from Olympia, a year-round waterfall in the Capitol State Forest is the perfect, peaceful reward at the end of a summer hike or trail run to Mima Falls. .

Enjoy the tranquil nature and explore the Capitol Forest with a hike to Mima Falls. Photo credit: Krysta Carper

What’s fantastic about Mima Falls is that it’s accessible to almost anyone, regardless of their level of hiking experience. Along the trail you will come across many different types of people, young and old, tourists and locals. Runners, walkers and even those on horseback enjoy this gem with wildlife viewing, flowers and a wide shaded non-motorized trail. This is a perfect summer hike in the Black Hills for the family, including the dog, as long as it is on a leash.

Mima Falls Hike

A $35 annual discovery pass or $11.50 per day is required to park in the upper and lower parking lots, but if the cost is prohibitive, be sure to check out the library collections of things in a local Timberland Regional Library. Several options offer backpacks for exploring nature, complete with a Discover Pass for use.

There are many trails accessible from the upper Mima Falls trailhead. Take the time to take a look at the signage and the information board offering details of the trails in the area. There is ample parking, space for horse trailers, an assembly block, water and restrooms.

Hiking Safety Tips

Gunfire is commonly heard in the area as a target beach is nearby, but don’t worry, as the trail goes deeper into the woods the sounds are drowned out by birdsong and the wind blowing in. trees.

Cougars and black bears inhabit the Capitol Forest. It is essential to leave no trace. Food or garbage attracts wild animals, putting them and you at risk. Pack what you bring and do not feed any animals encountered.

Trek Mima Falls

Mima Falls in the Capitol Forest
Summer is the perfect time to visit Mima Falls and enjoy the sounds of cascading water. Photo credit: Krysta Carper

There are various routes to the falls, but a favorite is the Mima Falls East Trail. The well-maintained trail to the falls wanders through lush forest and tranquil wetlands for about five miles. Cross several bridges while enjoying the cool shade offered by the green forest of varying ages. It’s an easy hike, manageable by almost anyone, with only about 400 feet of elevation gain.

At the 25-foot falls that are open year-round, find tables offering a place to rest or picnic. Be sure to descend to the bottom of the falls for the best view and to take advantage of those negative ions in the air. Then, spend some time exploring the creek, looking for summer wildflowers, and viewing the falls from different angles.

Hike the Capitol State Forest trail system

Capital Forest Mima Falls Trail Foliage
The forests surrounding Mima Falls are of varying ages, offering insight into cultivated forests, young plantations and wetlands. Photo credit: Krysta Carper

Mima Falls takes its name from the unusual Mima Mounds nearby, and Mima is a Native American word meaning “a bit further”. So go a little further and add to the adventure by taking one or more of the other trails from the falls.

There are plenty of opportunities for an extended hike or run with the designated equine loops, logging roads, and other more challenging trails from the falls. Bringing a map and compass is useful if you are doing one of the longer routes.

One way is to continue hiking Mima Falls West past the waterfall where the incline is steeper but the reward is fantastic views of some of the clearings. The combined Mima Falls West and East trails equal approximately 15 miles of exploration in the Capitol State Forest. Or take the McKenny Trail and Horseback Loop, connecting to nearby Margaret McKenny Campground offering a place to stay for those looking for an overnight adventure in the area.

Getting to Mima Falls

Hiker Donna Wardine enjoys a peaceful break at the top of Mima Falls. Photo credit: Virginie Schnabel

Just half an hour from Olympia, Mima Falls can be found off I-5 using exit 95 and on Maytown Road SW for 2.8 miles where it becomes 128th Avenue. Go 0.7 miles and turn left at the “T” onto Mima Road SW for 1.3 miles. Turn right on Bordeaux Road SW for 0.6 mile. Turn right at Marksman Street SW. After one mile, continue straight at the bend in the road. Follow the gravel loop to the parking lot.

A visit to Mima Falls is a great way to spend time outdoors, alone or with others. It is a sight to see the water rushing cascading over the rocks surrounded by verdant foliage. The highest point in the vast Capitol State Forest, visit Mima Falls this summer for a hike or run and experience the area’s natural beauty.

Get more information on outdoor activities by visiting: Outdoor Activities in Olympia and the Pacific Northwest | Discover Olympia.


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