If you’re heading down to the coast range make sure you hit up some of the amazing trails the area has to offer. One of my favorites is a trail called Drift Creek Falls located in the Siuslaw National Forest near Lincoln City. It’s an unexpected hike and definitely worth the trek you’ll take deep into the coastal range to find. This route really has something for everyone including a suspension bridge, 75 ft waterfall and of course the beautiful coastal forest we have all come to love and cherish.
The drive down to this trailhead is pretty twisty but who doesn’t love a good mountain drive to make you antsy to jump out and get on the trail? The view you get a glimpse of along the way make it totally worth the drive up those mountain roads though.
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Start Here: Drift creek falls trailhead
End: Drift Creek Falls
Elevation gain: ~ 500 feet
Seasons: luckily year round
This hike is really enjoyable, for the most part the trail is wide and well maintained weaving through 50-year-old regrowth crossing a stream every now and then, the only downfall if you could call it that is the backwards elevation gain, where it’s mostly downhill on the way to the falls and an uphill climb on the way back. The hike starts on a ridge and slowly meanders down through into a small canyon where you soon round a U in the trail and continue along the other side. Just past this crossing you arrive at a junction that not very clear. Take the lower trail, the upper version arrives at the same destination however may add some unwanted elevation gain to your hike. Continue down the trail and soon you will arrive at a large creek crossing, which also a pretty level area for taking a break or letting the dogs, or kids play in the water. The trail follows the creek until you reach a decently sized bridge where you cross.
Beyond this bridge you hike a little further, most likely wondering if your almost there, passing a few giants and a more recent clearcut before you reach “the bridge”. I have never seen a suspension bridge in person let alone walked across one ( insert fear of heights right here) and this one kinda sneaks up on ya, just as you crest a small ridge, there it is. The little creek that’s been there along our hike is suddenly plummeting 75ft over the edge into drift creek canyon.
upon first arriving at the bridge you just have to admire the feat it must have taken to construct this beauty which allows you to walk straight out over this canyon 100 feet above it. Hanging in suspension by cables, it’s easily a captivating experience to walk across and admire the waterfall and the deep canyon below you. It truly must be seen with your own eyes to be fully appreciated. The trail does continue on to the bottom of the falls after the bridge, however since we happened to visit in December on a typical rainy pnw day, we didn’t continue down to the bottom it can be kind of treacherous in wet conditions.
If you do decide to try your hand at high suspension bridges remember to purchase a NW Forest Pass before arriving and if you forget to go before you get there rest assured there are facilities available at the trail head in the form of a lovely vault toilet. Happy trails!
I have always thought of Drift Creek Falls as one of those quintessential Pacific Northwest destinations. The falls, rock and forest all contribute, but there is something about that massive bridge emerging from the dense woods that really fits my mental image of that region.
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Couldn’t agree more! I was so happy we had the trail to ourselves the day we chose to hike it.