The Drift Creek Falls hike winds through a dense, damp forest. Ferns carpet the ground, blanketing everything in shades of green. As you walk, the hike may seem to be leading you in endless circles, but soon enough, the forest’s secret is revealed.
About Drift Creek Falls
Located in Oregon’s Siuslaw National Forest, this 3 mile out-and-back style trail winds through regrowth forests and over small footbridges with trickling creeks below. The wet, wide, and well maintained trail offers an easy downward slope, on the way in. But be prepared to climb that slope on the way back to your car.
One and a half miles down the winding, dense, and sloping trail you will suddenly stumble upon a 240-foot suspension bridge. Hanging 100 feet above the river below, the Drift Creek Falls suspension bridge offers a unique view of Drift Creek Falls Oregon. We had seen photos of the bridge online, but nothing can prepare you for the immense size and shock of seeing it the first time. I felt completely in awe seeing how out of place the bridge seems, but yet, it seamlessly blends with the landscape.
Built in 1997, the 3-foot wide suspension bridge is supported by large cables anchored into the bluffs on either side of the bridge. The slight sway as you venture across it adds an extra element of suspense that I did not care for.
The closer you walk to the bridge, the louder the sound of rushing water becomes. And once on the bridge, Drift Creek Falls will be in full view. The powerful rushing water hitting the rocks creates a calming background noise as you look at the river 100 feet below.
As you walk across the bridge, if you can bear it, take a moment to snap photos and enjoy the view. During our rainy trip, we encountered a few other hikers, but it is not uncommon for the bridge to be cramped with hikers.
Once you have taken in all the views from the bridge vantage point on your Drift Creek Falls hike, we suggest you walk the additional ¼ mile to the base Drift Creek Falls. From there, you will find a fantastic photo opportunity of the falling water with the suspension bridge in the backdrop.
This is also a great place to stop and enjoy lunch at one of the nearby picnic tables, or cast a line in and see what fish you can catch. Just be sure to follow Oregon’s fishing rules.
The Drift Creek Falls Hike Secondary Trail
If you are looking for a way to expand the Drift Creek Falls Hike experience, try the north trail. After some small bridges on the main trail, well before the suspension bridge, there is a fork in thepath.
If you opt to take the North Trail, which is 0.8 miles long, it will lead you to and through an old growth forest. This trail can be quite muddy, but is often less crowded and can make for a more peaceful hiking experience.
After 0.8 miles, the north trail connects back to the main trail so you can continue on your journey.
Directions to Drift Creek Falls Hike Trailhead
To find the Drift Creek Falls hike trailhead, which is located in Otis Oregon, head to the junction of Oregon Highway 18 and Highway 101. From there, travel 4.5 miles down highway 18 then turn south on Bear Creek County Road. After three and a half miles, turn onto Forest Service road 17. Continue 7 miles to the trail head.
In the past, the Drift Creek Falls hike was easy to access from Lincoln City, but a recent rockslide has closed the road which provided access. Now, you can only access the trailhead from the north, as described above.
Things to Know Before You Go
At the Drift Creek Falls hike trailhead, there is a restroom, and a hike information sign where you place your $5 parking fee.
Plan to spend 2-3 hours on this hike, but add an additional hour if you plan to add the northern trail to your journey.
The trail is open year round during daylight hours and well behaved, leashed pets are allowed.
Be aware that the Drift Creek Falls hike can be crowded on weekends. The parking lot is small and can only hold about 20 cars. On busy days with warm weather, plan to arrive early to score a parking space and avoid crowds.
Expanding the Journey, What to See Nearby
For an additional piece of history while hiking Oregon, make sure to stop and see the Drift Creek Covered Bridge about one mile down Bear Creek County Rd. Built in 1914, this covered bridge is the oldest one in Oregon. It was used on the main north/south route along the Oregon Coast.
By the 1960’s the automobile traffic had been rerouted to a concrete bridge and the Drift Creek Bridge was used for pedestrian only traffic. In 1988 the bridge was deemed unsafe and closed to all traffic. It was dismantled in 1997 and moved to its current spot on Bear Creek County Rd.
If you are heading to Drift Creek Falls hike from the Corvallis or the surrounding area, take the Kings Valley Highway to Lincoln City for some additional sightseeing.
If you take Highway 20 out of Corvallis to Highway 223, you’ll find a small roadside spring between mileposts 15 and 16. Here, you will find fresh, cool, and clean water coming from a small rock outcropping. The locals often stop here to fill up jugs for remarkable tasting drinking water. Coming from the south, the spring is on your left directly after a curve in the road. There is a small gravel parking lot on the opposite side where you can park.
About 5 miles after the spring, in the small town of Peedee, Oregon, you’ll find another covered bridge on your right. The Ritner Creek Bridge was built in 1926 and was almost destroyed in 1974. The community came together to raise the funds to save and refurbish the bridge.
THINGS TO DO NEARBY
Chinook Winds Casino Resort– 38 minutes away
Kyllo’s Seafood and Grill– 38 minutes away
Small roadside spring- see above
1 thought on “Drift Creek Falls Hike- Oregon’s Most Surprising Hike”
Comments are closed.