This ride describes the outermost trail perimeter of Capitol State Forest, the idea being to circumnavigate the forest in one huge single-track loop. For this reason,it is possible to begin at any number of points, including Porter Creek, Rock Candy, Sherman Valley Y, Margaret McKenny CG, Mima Falls, or wherever you prefer along the way. A good option starts at Porter Creek CG, going clockwise. Hop onto North Rim #1 to Rock Candy East, then up and over to the Middle Waddell trail, which in turn will deposit you finally at the Sherman Valley Y. From here get behind Margaret McKenny (via either road or trail)to continue along ## 6A, 6, 10 and, finally, the length of Mima-Porter #8 to return to Porter Creek. This is a challenging ride of nearly 70 miles, which accumulates over 11,000 feet, and is best attempted by strong riders who are already well familiar with Capitol Forest. Most riders will want to carry the DNR map. Plan 9-12 hours.
From the town of Porter, along Highway 12 (accessed via I5 or HW 8 near Elma), follow the signs for Capitol State Forest (Porter Creek Entrance) to Porter Creek CG. Just beyond the campground, bear right along the B1000 road until you come to a trail access point on your left. This accesses North Rim #1 (left at the first T-intersection). Later, you'll be returning via Mima-Porter #8, which will deposit you a little further along the B1000 road, where you will turn left to get back at your car.
Summary: Anyone who studies the DNR map carefully and understands the logic of the Capitol Forest trail system will appreciate that this ride has an abstract quality. That is, it's an obvious loop (sort of), judging from the map anyway, but one which is likely to be dismissed as too long or impractical for most riders. It certainly isn't a ride for every day or for every rider. But if you count yourself as a Capitol veteran, or one of the peculiar few who ride in Capitol regularly, year round -- or one who simply wishes to challenge their mountain biking stamina -- then this is certainly a must-do candidate, and one which -- like its slightly less ambitious epic partners, Big Red and Big Green-- puts real flesh on Capitol Forest's much under-publicized possibilities. So, don't delay (as I did for years), shovel down a big omelette at Farm Boy, throw a leg over, and git er done!
Besides all that, this happens to be a fabulous, fun route! If you were hoping here for a better description of the trail itself, well, that suggests that a little more of Capitol in smaller doses first might be a good idea. That way you'll know exactly what to expect (and won't be able to blame me ;-)
Recommended Route: As posted.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Big Red, Big Green (AKA Mean Green)