The easy for all skill levels Drift Creek Falls Trail descends through Coast Range Forest to the picturesque Drift Creek Falls and the 240-foot long suspension bridge.
The well-designed trail #1378 with gentle changes in grade over entire route is 1.25 miles to the bridge. While hiking along the trail, you will enjoy a beautiful second-growth coastal woodland with Douglas firs, Sitka spruce, western hemlock, sword ferns, salmonberries, huckleberries, vine maples, and salal bushes. There are a variety of wildflowers and mushrooms on the route. After a mile, the trail passes the creek over a footbridge and soon you are able to hear waterfall sounds. The rest quarter of mile path runs along the creek and eventually, you arrive at the largest in the states of Oregon and Washington pedestrian suspension bridge. There is the alternate a 3-mile trail known as Northern Loop that starts and ends on the Drift Creek Trail.
Extending 100 feet above the canyon floor, the bridge anchored in the rock on one side by ties and cables and firmly cemented on the opposite side. Built in 1997, the bridge is dedicated to Scott Paul who died in a fatal construction accident in 1993. Crossing the bridge is itself an exciting experience as it provides a spectacular aerial view of the 75-foot Drift Creek Falls, the misty canyon, and beautiful cascading Drift Creek.
From the bridge, the trail continues next 0.25 miles downhill to the base of the waterfall. This last piece of the trail is steep and can be muddy after the rains and is challenging enough for unprepared hikers.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Distance (round trip): 2.5-3 miles (4-4.8 km)
Trail Type: Out & Back
Trailhead coordinates: 44.933,-123.8504
Max Elevation: 911 ft (278 m)
Elevation Gain: 380 ft (116 m)
Location: Coast Range, Siuslaw National Forest, Trail #1378
Service: Vault toilet at the trailhead, no water.
Usage: Moderate to heavy
Dogs: Allowed on the leash
Other Activities: Fishing, nature viewing
Directions to Drift Creek Falls Trailhead
- From I-5, take exit 289 toward to Tualatin and follow 4.6 miles to Highway 99 West
- Continue on Highway 99 West 14.9 miles and then turn left onto Highway 18 West
- Cross the Willamette River over the Marion Street Bridge and head West for about 16.5 miles by Highway 22 West to Highway 18
- Merge to Highway 18 West
From Portland and Salem
- Take Highway 18 toward the Coast and follow for about 15 miles to North Bear Creek Road (milepost 5)
- Turn left onto North Bear Creek Road and drive 9 miles to Drift Creek Falls Trailhead
- At the junction with Schooner Creek Road, bear right
- The paved road occasionally becomes old logging road with a lot of curves. In many places, the road is gravel and narrow with only room for one car. By the time you arrive at the trailhead Bear Creek Road becomes Forest Road 17.
Driving along North Bear Creek Road, give you an opportunity to see the oldest in Oregon Drift Creek Covered Bridge.
From Lincoln City
- From Highway 101, follow to milepost 119, the south side of Lincoln City and turn east onto South Drift Creek Road
- Turn right to stay on the same road and turn left in 0.4 miles onto South Drift Creek Camp Road
- Follow 0.9 miles on South Drift Creek Camp Road to Forest Road 17
- Turn left onto Forest Road 17 and continue 9.4 miles to the Drift Creek Trailhead parking area.
- At the junction with Forest Roads 1929 and 1730 keep left.