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Drift Creek Falls Hike

From Oregon Hikers Field Guide

Drift Creek Falls (Paul Gerald)
Looking up at the bridge from the base of the falls. Photo courtesy of Sahale, LLC. Photograph by Carroll Vogel
Drift Creek Falls (Greg Lief)
Suspension Bridge (Greg Lief)

Contents

Hike Description

This hike offers something for everyone, a waterfall, a huge suspension bridge and a nice view of Coast Range forest. The trail is wide and well maintained. The only flaw may be that it's elevation backwards; you have a nice stroll down, then you need to climb back out, though the well-graded trail makes the climb fairly easy.

The trail starts by contouring down the forested slope below the trailhead. The trail is timbered in 50 year old regrowth, but there's a nearby clear cut, visible through the trees. Together, they create an interesting study of the forest healing itself. After a bit, the trail rounds a gentle ridge and heads back westward into a small side canyon. You may hear voices from across the way and soon you'll see that the trail goes back down the other side of the valley, creating a charming little U turn with a couple of small bridges over trickling, seasonal creeks. Just past the U, there's a trail junction. The uphill trail is a longer, alternate loop that rejoins the main trail in another half mile. It's not as well maintained as the main trail and has more elevation gain, but includes some old growth forest.

Continuing down the main trail, you'll again round a ridge and start heading down to a larger stream. You'll hear the water as you descend, crossing a small footbridge where you will and see a larger bridge over Drift Creek, below. Towards the bottom of the canyon the trail meets the alternate route at a switchback, just before the trail reaches the bridge over the Drift Creek. There's a bench on the opposite side of the stream and this is a reasonalby safe area for kids to wade in the creek here, as well.

Beyond the footbridge over Drift Creek, the trail passes a few large trees and more recovering forest of young conifers draped in moss and lichens. Soon, you'll abruptly arrive at "The" bridge. Here, Drift Creek suddenly plunges 75 feet into a basalt gorge, 100 feet below the suspension bridge. The bridge is certainly sturdy enough to carry you, but it does sway a bit as you cross, so can be intimidating to those uncomfortable with heights. There's a clearing in the first that serves for a good picnic stop, but the best view of the falls is about a quarter mile further, where the trail switchbacks once to a photogenic view of Drift Creek Falls. There's a bench here and boulders along the stream that make for a good resting spot.

Maps

Fees, Regulations, etc.

  • Northwest Forest Pass required at trailhead

Trip Reports

Related Discussions / Q&A

Guidebooks that cover this hike

  • 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Portland by Paul Gerald
  • 100 Hikes / Travel Guide: Oregon Coast & Coast Range by William Sullivan
  • 120 Hikes on the Oregon Coast by Bonnie Henderson

More Links

Contributors

Oregon Hikers Field Guide is built as a collaborative effort by its user community. While we make every effort to fact-check, information found here should be considered anecdotal. You should cross-check against other references before planning a hike. Trail routing and conditions are subject to change. Please contact us if you notice errors on this page.

Hiking is a potentially risky activity, and the entire risk for users of this field guide is assumed by the user, and in no event shall Trailkeepers of Oregon be liable for any injury or damages suffered as a result of relying on content in this field guide. All content posted on the field guide becomes the property of Trailkeepers of Oregon, and may not be used without permission.