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Lost Valley Trail and McKenny Trail Loop

MODERATE 68 reviews
#3 of 27 trails in

Lost Valley Trail and McKenny Trail Loop is a 7.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Olympia, Washington that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, horses, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 7.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1,177 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

forest

views

bugs

A Discovery Pass is required to enter Capitol State Forest. Off-road vehicle users and horse-back riders can use Capitol State Forest Trails from May 1 - November 30 only. This loop begins by following the Mima Falls Trail West (Trail No. 8 across for the parking spot) for 0.4 mile down to a junction in the Lost Valley Creek. The trail on your left is your return route. These trails are in excellent shape thanks to the volunteer work of the Back-country Horsemen (and women) of Washington. Head right on Trail No. 20. Climbing gradually, pass a few big firs, a lot of skunk cabbage, and an active beaver pond. In 1.4 miles come to a junction with Trail No. 6, the Green Line ( It will say Green Line as soon as you cross the Logging Road). Turn left and follow this good trail. Climb a bit more, and after crossing a logging road enter a mature second-growth forest. Begin a long descent into the Sherman Creek valley. At 2.6 miles emerge from the forest to cross a recent cut. Notice the temperature change. Notice Capitol Peak and Larch Mountain in front of you. At 3.25 miles reach the lovely Sherman Creek valley, where you'll come to another trail junction. The trail right crosses the creek (bridge out as of summer 2006) and heads to the Fall Creek trailhead and onward to the Capitol Crest. You'll want to continue left for an enjoyable journey down the valley. Plenty of lunch spots along the way will entice you to take a break. After about 3 miles of hiking along the creek you'll come to an old trail junction. There used to be a trailhead on the other side of the creek, but it and the road no longer exist. This decommissioning has helped return a little solitude to this region. The trail now leaves Sherman Creek to follow Lost Valley Creek upstream. This is the best part of the loop. Under a canopy of moss-draped alders and big cedars, the trail uses an old logging railroad bed. After 1 mile of heading up Lost Valley Creek, look for trestle remnants. Look, too, along the creek for relics from the old logging days. Broken bricks and porcelain plates litter the area. Be sure to leave these artifacts for others to enjoy.

Pretty forest with openings here and there with the occasional view of surrounding hills. Decent signage on the trail, poor signage in the trailhead parking lot. Great length for a day outing. Took us just over three hours. Trail was slippery in places with packed dirt from rain earlier in the week. Would do again and better than some other trails. Not as much elevation gain and views like I prefer on the I-90 corridor.

running
2 months ago

Great trail run! Start at the Fall Creek Trailhead and just follow the signs for Lost Valley Loop the whole way. The trail head for this loop is off of the parking lot at what looks like the dead end of the road to the parking trailhead.

hiking
2 months ago

The trail is lovely and in a great condition. Vegetation along the trail has been trimmed recently - great job! We were here on a July weekday and only saw one mountain biker and two hikers. Beware that there is a discrepancy between the "Getting there" directions and the "Directions" that will link you to Google Maps - those will take you to the Falls Creek trailhead, which doesn't match the description of the trail. We checked the map at the trailhead and were able to orient ourselves. From this trailhead, we clocked the hike at about 9 miles. It's a moderately difficult hike, with just enough elevation change to make it fun. Our dog enjoyed it, too.

hiking
3 months ago

Trail was dry, I didn’t feel it was very scenic but it was away from the city and a nice walk.

hiking
4 months ago

trail was amazing we loved it and will be going back. great views and nice glimpses of the river - bridge&knuckles ✌

hiking
5 months ago

My son and I hiked this loop on April 20th. It was still a little muddy is some spots after this week of rain. Overall the views were worth it totally awesome. Highly recommend for a moderate hikers. All of the trees that had fallen from the winter storms have been cleared from the trail great job!

After following directions on Apple Maps for over and hour......getting re-routed......then finally hearing that I need to park my vehicle and walk 300 ft. to my destination.....only to start trekking down and see no trailhead or trail in sight. From the other reviews I look like the only person having issues locating trailhead so take this review with a grain of salt. I passed a trail crossing for this trail along my adventure of trying to find the trailhead. Right now only 1 Star because of unclear directions on how to get to trailhead. Will do some more research and hopefully find out where the actual trailhead location is then go enjoy what looks like a great trail!

hiking
6 months ago

All the snow is gone! Many toppled trees to climb over. Outside of that trail is in great shape. Trillium, red currant, skunk cabbage blooming. Little if any mud.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

Hard to accurately review this one. Was a nice trail with some great views in a couple spots but the snow made it rather difficult/slow to cover ground (hour longer than my usual pace!) I hiked it with my dog today (3/11) and we got smoked! I would estimate over 80% of the trail is hiking through snow. Partially frozen, I only sunk knee deep in snow about every fourth step or so. Lol Would definitely recommend snow shoes if you plan to hike it in the next month or so. Also, there were A LOT of places where fallen trees/brush completely blocked the trail, even in snowy areas. This definitely causes some safety concerns if you aren’t careful (almost rolled my ankle pretty good falling through snow while traversing one of these obstacles) I will be waiting until the snow melts to hike this trail again. I’m sure it will much more enjoyable without the frustrating, unexpected sinking into snow. But without the snow it would undoubtedly be a pleasant, short hike. Also, if you’re starting from the Fall Creek Campground, it’s more like 8.4 miles.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

Beautiful trail. However, there was still a lot of snow and quite a few fallen down trees/branches.

hiking
9 months ago

My spouse, two dogs and I hiked this trail two days after Christmas. It was peaceful and quiet. This was our first hike in the Capitol State Forest, which came highly recommended by a mentor and colleague of mine. A first was our hiking through deforestation; it appears the loggers in this area “cleaned up” the region far better than I have seen elsewhere. It was good to see the state or had undergone a vast replanting effort in the deforested sections of the park. This trail gives you an up close view of the beauty of forested land, mountain lookouts, deforestation, and reforestation (if that’s a word). You’ll enjoy this hike.

mountain biking
Sunday, September 02, 2018

Great trail for Mt. Biking. Depending on which way you go around the loop you could end up biking uphill most of the way. My 8 year old boy did the whole loop and loved it.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Great trail! The only downfall is it having potholes. And, don't bring your 55 yr. old dad.

hiking
Monday, July 16, 2018

My girlfriend and I loved this. We did it in conjunction with Mckenny Trail and had a great 9 mile hike. I would say moderate/easy difficulty as there are not many sustained climbs. We did run into a couple folks on horseback and several bikers. There is some horse manure but it was not enough to warrant any frustrations for us. If I could do this trail again it would be on a mountain bike. Would have been great to ride in my opinion.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

its hot n to many horses n poo

hiking
Sunday, June 24, 2018

This was a great trail. Very well maintained. The only downfall is the amount of horse poo and the trail is to narrow to both horse riders, Hikers and bikes to be on at the same time. But besides that I’d do it again.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Great hike we did about 6.6 miles there and back no loop. Camping: sunset campground if you want to get punked by A bigfoot and spooked at 10:30 at night. Go on Fathers day weekend. Truth

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Great to get up in Capital Forest

Monday, May 07, 2018

nice trail. well kept up. not hard at all but it did have enough elevation gain to remind me just how out of shape I've become over winter. Glad I went south to start, along the creek, and slowly gain altitude rather than heading off to the left and climb the mountain all at once. only hiker then after 4:00 a small handful of cyclists appeared. will be doing this one again.

hiking
Saturday, January 13, 2018

we took lost valley trail. lots of different trail systems. easy to find. easy to navigate. perfect bike/horse/hiking trails. only a slight uphill grade and great for kids of all ages. we did 8miles in 3hrs. not as challenging as we like but it was a nice walk in the woods with multiple water crossings. No place for discovery pass get one before you go out no cell service to buy it online. 1-12-18

hiking
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

This is actually called the lost valley trail

hiking
Saturday, September 16, 2017

Trail was cool until we encountered a swarm of bees. Happened about 1 mile in not too far after turning left onto McKenny trail. Everyone in our group was stung multiple times. Luckily no allergies. Not sure if it was a nest or what, took off quick back toward the car. Bee careful!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

the trail is actually called "lost valley". and u hike part of the Mckenny trail to make it a loop. good long hike.

hiking
Sunday, August 27, 2017

I was going off the mileage (7.9) posted on this app, but I ended up walking 10.2 miles (adjusted for pre-hike walking). Not sure why there is such a huge difference. Other than that debacle, really good trail: I experienced all types of terrain though it was all in moderation. You should try this out if you are nearby.

hiking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

Nice hike on a sunny day. At the start of the loop, we went left and dealt with the elevation gain up front. Made for a nice downhill hike for most of the remaining 5.5 miles or so. Trail was in good shape mostly.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Really wet today took the boy out with me, large amount of trees down covering trail. Great scenery, will be vack soon to finish it off

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Very very well-kept trail. Lots of shade with a few open breaks. Only saw three mountain bikers and no one else on a Tuesday morning and afternoon. Very quiet with no car or airplane noise even. Nice even doses of easy uphill, easy downhill, and nice straits. Just a very good trail all the way around. Would definitely come back again. If you follow the directions on the app GPS you end up driving past where the trail crosses the road by a few hundred yards. The actual coordinates are 46.925837 -123.112538.

hiking
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

To Get There: From Seattle take I-5 south to exit 95. Follow Maytown Road west for 3 miles until reaching the small town of Littlerock. At a stop sign proceed west on Littlerock Road, which soon turns left. Bear right here onto 128th Ave, following sins for Capitol State Forest. In less than 1 mile turn left at the T intersection on Mima Road and after 1.5 miles turn right onto Bordeaux Road. Follow the paved road for 3.5 miles until the fork in the road. Bear right and following the D line for 0.6 mile to a four-way intersection on a hill crest. turn right onto the the D-4000 Line and follow this good gravel road for 2 miles to its junction with the D-4400 Line, where you find the trailhead. There is one small parking slot and the trail you want to take is across the road (there are two trailheads). This loop begins by following the Mima Falls Trail West (Trail No. 8 across for the parking spot) for 0.4 mile down to a junction in the Lost Valley Creek. The trail on your left is your return route. These trails are in excellent shape thanks to the volunteer work of the Back-country Horsemen (and women) of Washington. Head right on Trail No. 20. Climbing gradually, pass a few big firs, a lot of skunk cabbage, and an active beaver pond. In 1.4 miles come to a junction with Trail No. 6, the Green Line ( It will say Green Line as soon as you cross the Logging Road). Turn left and follow this good trail. Climb a bit more, and after crossing a logging road enter a mature second-growth forest. Begin a long descent into the Sherman Creek valley. At 2.6 miles emerge from the forest to cross a recent cut. Notice the temperature change. Notice Capitol Peak and Larch Mountain in front of you. At 3.25 miles reach the lovely Sherman Creek valley, where you'll come to another trail junction. The trail right crosses the creek (bridge out as of summer 2006) and heads to the Fall Creek trailhead and onward to the Capitol Crest. You'll want to continue left for an enjoyable journey down the valley. Plenty of lunch spots along the way will entice you to take a break. After about 3 miles of hiking along the creek you'll come to an old trail junction. There used to be a trailhead on the other side of the creek, but it and the road no longer exist. This decommissioning has helped return a little solitude to this region. The trail now leaves Sherman Creek to follow Lost Valley Creek upstream. This is the best part of the loop. Under a canopy of moss-draped alders and big cedars, the trail uses an old logging railroad bed. After 1 mile of heading up Lost Valley Creek, look for trestle remnants. Look, too, along the creek for relics from the old logging days. Broken bricks and porcelain plates litter the area. Be sure to leave these artifacts for others to enjoy. The trail comes to an end on a road with a decision of going left or right. We went right and walked the road to the next T then went right again. At the next intersection (D-4600) we used out GPS and decided that left was the way to go which put us back on D Line. I think that we may have had a shorter walk (our route was 10.2 miles) if we had gone right. But take your GPS and do some figuring. I got the above directions on Washington Trails website and corrected it to the best of my memory. It was a beautiful hike and I will definitely go back and do it again with a pad and pen.

mountain biking
1 month ago

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