Rochester, Washington is a community of approximately 2,300 in southwest Thurston County, along US Highway 12 west of Interstate 5. Many residents commute to nearby Olympia (22 miles) or Centralia (12 miles).
Rochester is a pleasant mix of rolling, forested hills, and open prairie grasslands, with the Chehalis River just to the south.
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Located in Rochester School District, it is served by the following schools:
- Rochester Primary School (K-2)
- Grand Mound Elementary (3-5)
- Rochester Middle School (6-8)
- Rochester High School (9-12)
- H.E.A.R.T. High School
- Rochester Early Intervention Program
- Mason Dixon Line – BBQ, steaks, chicken and seafood
- Highway 12 Diner
- Highway 12 Drive-In
Just a few miles away is the Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel, owned and operated by the Chehalis Tribe. Here you can find a wide variety of gaming, dining, and entertainment.
- Bailey’s IGA
- Rochester Mercantile
- Country Corner Market
- Meagan’s Candy Cottage (currently closed for renovation)
- Rochester Fruit Stand
Nearby Scatter Creek Wildlife Area features 915 acres of prairie land along Scatter Creek. Available activities including hunting, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and dog field trials. The adjoining timber land is owned by Port Blakely Timber (check their Public Access Policy page for any current restrictions).
Also a few miles away is the 100,000 acre Capitol State Forest, a working timber forest managed by the Washington DNR, which offers hiking, camping, trail riding, and mountain biking. Horse-friendly camping with corrals is available at the Margaret McKenney and Fall Creek campgrounds. In addition, trail riding access is available from the Mima Falls Trailhead. Note that horseback riding and off-road vehicles are only allowed in Capitol Forest between May 1 and November 30.
The third Saturday in June marks the annual Swede Day Midsommar Festival. Events at Swede Hall include a pancake breakfast, games for the children, and vendor and information booths. At 11 AM, there is a parade on Highway 12 from Paulson to Albany streets, concluding at Swede Hall.
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