If you are a military family, or a Service Member and live in the Pacific Northwest, then come talk to Malcolm Miller for low interest loans! He is not only a Loan Officer and and expert on home loans,  but he can also recommend how to have a little fun outdoors this upcoming Spring / Summer season. He is a loan officer at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation based in Lacey.  When he isn't in the office, you can find Malcolm on either a pedal bike, ATV or motor-driven dirt bike attacking the terrain at Capitol Forest. "When I want to get outside, Capitol Forest is one of my favorite places to go.  There are always adventures to be found. I've ridden dirt bikes my whole life, so being able to do that here has been fantastic. If you can get yourself or your family out to Capitol Forest, I highly suggest it" Miller says. 

Image courtesy of Rider Planet

According to Rider Planet USA, "There are many fun activities in the cool and wet climate of the Northwest. The weather is pleasant most of the year, and the number of local sports are mind boggling. There are plenty of dirt trails for bike riding, and the fun can be overwhelming." Malcolm agree's there are some great activities here, "If you’re new to the Northwest or have been here for a short time, the amount of activities that are available here is absolutely ridiculous" he notes.

One of Malcolm's favorite places to ride near Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) is the Capitol Forest because of it's close proximity. And he says its a "great place to ride for all seasons and all adrenaline levels." This area is only 40 minutes away from JBLM.  The Forest has three separate staging areas as well as a separate race track. For minors and beginners, try Rock Candy Mountain. This staging area is huge but is largely flat and never paved. Its forgiving nature is perfect for beginners or the young rider. Find this area just off Highway 8. Take a left at the sign of the same name.

Image courtesy of Rider Planet.

Another turnoff near Capitol Forest is the Summit Lake Grocery, which actually precedes the Rock Candy Mountain Road exit. This is the perfect stop because the trail map for the course is available here. The whole of Capitol Forest is 110,000 acres, and it features a total of 150 miles of trail. The area is maintained by the Department of Natural Resources which has been helpful in clearing wood debris. They have also made the forest "very user friendly and accessible. There are camp grounds, Horseback/Mountain bike riding trails" Malcolm notes.

The services for the area include camp grounds as well as trail that are used by both bikers and horseback enthusiasts. Non motorized trails do not cross paths with motorized trails it would freak the horses out.  A special area called Triangle Pit is available for target shooters.  The Pit is regulated and only available from November 2nd to March 10th and only from 9 am to 5 pm.

Capitol Forest is open to bikers / riders and campers from the 1st of April to October 31st. It is no coincident that shooters and bikers are given separate seasons. The trials are muddy in winter and the noise pollution ruins camping anyway. For those who do love to ride in warm weather, the trails cover a huge diversity of terrain. Even the most athletic  and skilled riders will find challenging terrain.

Trails range in width, with narrower trails being preferred by more advanced riders. There really are some huge hills to climb, which can offer a breathtaking view to both peddlers and motorbike enthusiasts. There are some huge climbs available because the whole of Capital Forrest is actually a gently sloping mountain. It has a maximum height of 2600 feet. "One of the best things about riding capital forest is the diversity of the terrain. Trails range from single track with switchbacks to wider trails for intermediate riders and even wider trails for beginners. Let’s not forget about the monster hill climbs. There is one particular hill climb all the locals know about. Many have tried and lots have failed!" Malcolm asserts. Can't find these famous hills? "To find these special hill climbs...  you'll have to ask one of the locals. But don’t be surprised if they ask you if you’re sure and wish you good luck!" he says.

None of the trails at Capitol Forest have extremely dangerous slopes, but riders should still be careful.  Malcolm recommends "using caution when riding. Capitol Forest is one of the most dangerous train in the state!" If you're not careful Malcolm says you'll have to be "prepared to lean over your handlebars to keep the front end down while you’re popping through the gears to make the climb on some of the hills!"   There are also a few offshoots that are effectively rest areas for bikers. A beginner should take regular rests because their body might not be used to the strain. Even in cool weather, a rider should expect to sweat quite a bit, "often times, usually later in the day,  by the time you get to a logging road you’ll  be happy to see it. trust me, you’re gonna sweat. One of the best things about capital forest is that you can ride from one staging area to the next and potentially cross the entire forest, just make sure you get back before the sun goes down!!"

All riders should invest in a helmet, sturdy boots, and a chest protector. Again, the trails are managed year-round and are kept clear of fallen limbs. This does not mean that limbs do not fall regularly, as the area is partially wooded and a huge course means that obstacles do pop up unexpectedly. Also beware of mud puddles. There are a lot of riders, and mud and water can mix deeply after a heavy rain. Beware of puddles at the base of slopes. For more information, check out these resources from the Washington State of Natural Resources here.

Want to connect with Malcolm? He would love to chat about Mortgages or Dirt Bike Riding! You can reach him by clicking here.  Service Members, Active Duty Military, National Guard, Veterans and their families should contact Malcolm and ask about zero-down loan options for qualified applicants.