Drift Creek Falls

  • Level: Easy (Beginner Level: Doable)
  • Length: 3 miles
  • Elevation: 400-500 ft. gain
  • Type: out and back
  • Open: all year
  • Permit: Northwest Forest Pass, or $5
  • Drive time from Portland: 2 hours
  • Google map: “Drift Creek Falls Trail”
  • Features: Siuslaw National Forest, waterfall, huge suspension bridge
  • Pair with: any of the Cascade Head trails, coastal adventures near Lincoln City

This trail is suitable for anyone who wants a lower impact trail and, of course, enjoyable for anyone who wants to see some beautiful nature. I used it as a warm-up to a trail at Cascade Head (only 35 minutes away in Lincoln City). This definitely seems like a popular one on weekends and when the weather is ideal. I went on the Friday before Memorial Day and there were a lot of loud teenagers and men making noise for the sake of it.

The path is very well-graded and just as you reach the falls there’s an awesome 240-foot suspension bridge, 75 feet up in the air. Could be terrifying for someone afraid of heights, which I am, but I didn’t have any problem with it. The trail continues on about 0.2 mile past the bridge, gently switch-backing down into the canyon near the falls where you can climb over some big rocks to the foot of the falls. This isn’t ideal when it’s slippery, which it was this day. Save yourself the trouble and take the scramble trail that starts just after the end of the bridge on the right where those huge downed logs are. It isn’t scary. Or, just skip the jaunt down to the base because there isn’t anything you can’t see from the top.Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good photos at the base because there were too many teenagers taking selfies. I kind of admire that they don’t give a fuck who sees them. I’m not as bold.

From the trailhead:

Trail begins near the left side of the parking lot. Stay right at all trail junctions (or don’t, this side trail loops back to the main trail adding 0.7 mile). At the 1.3 mile mark, you’ll reach the suspension bridge with Drift Creek Falls on the right. Take one of the two options listed above to get down to the falls, or make this your turnaround point.


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