Capitol Peak + Larch Mountain / 國會峯+落葉松山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Capitol Peak and Larch Mountain are in the Capitol State Forest near Olympia, Washington. Multi-use trails make their way up the peaks. And both summits boast views of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains.

Capitol Peak above the rubble
Capitol Peak above the rubble

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Capitol Peak and Larch Mountain at a Glance

Access: Road C-7000 @ mile 0.9
Round Trip: 7.5 miles
Elevation Range: 1200′-2660′
Gear: microspikes
Route Info: Matthew Pahs
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Capitol Peak and Larch Mountain

I first saw the two peaks from the top of Kamilche Hill. Then later, I found out it was in the Capitol State Forest. So it led me to seek out these two highest points of the Capitol Hills.

I wanted to visit Capitol Peak first because I was short on time. But if time allowed, we would also go up to Larch Mountain. So we drove up Road C-7000 and parked at the hairpin turn.

Roadside attraction
Roadside attraction

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Capitol Peak East Ridge

The east ridge looked like the shortest route. So we walked the road past the Divide Trail South junction. We would’ve come up from the bottom of the trail had we had more time.

Shortly, we reached the turnoff to The Grunt. Then we took the multi-use trail and went straight up to Capitol Peak. Lots of debris strewed the path. But behind us to the east was the constant sight of Mount Rainer.

Trail signs
Trail signs

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Capitol Peak Summit

Later, snow showed up at the junction with Capitol Peak Trail below the summit. Then we followed old boot trails through a couple of inches of fresh snow. Before long, we were up by the radio towers.

Mount Rainier has been at every turn from the get-go. Though, it’s not often that I get to see the mountain from the west. Views of the Olympic Mountains were spotty because of the trees. But we had time to check them out on Larch Mountain, under two miles away. Yay!

Mount Rainier from Capitol Peak
Mount Rainier from Capitol Peak

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Next Stop, Larch Mountain

Later we dropped onto the north ridge from the towers and went into the semi-open forest. Then we came out onto Road C-4000 before the saddle. From the pass, we went back into the trees on a side trail.

Soon, we came out onto Road C-4400 and walked up to the ridgetop. The snow was only ankle-deep, and microspikes worked well for traction. Shortly, we were on the summit of Larch Mountain at the road’s end.

This way to Larch Mountain
This way to Larch Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Larch Mountain and Larch Towers

Clearcutting has taken out a massive chunk of the ridgeline. All that left were the rubble and tree stumps. I looked across the basin to Capitol Peak. Even though it’s shorter by an inch, it seemed taller. The Olympic Mountains were the main focus here.

Later we walked over to Larch Towers on the northeast end of the ridge. We circled the fence to get a better view of Puget Sound. I didn’t expect to see Mount Baker from here. But there it was. I also saw Seattle in the distance.

Northern panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains
Northern panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains

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Outro

On the way out, we walked the road down to the saddle. During which, we met a couple with their pup as they came up the hill. Later we took the Capitol Peak Trail and hiked back to the fork with The Grunt.

The lighting improved past noon. So the view of Mount Rainier just kept getting better and better. I must’ve stopped every minute to photograph the mountain until the clouds eventually covered it up.

Finding our way home
Finding our way home

See more trip photos here.

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