Drift Creek Falls is located in the Siuslaw National Forest. You can get to the trailhead from either Hwy 18 or from Hwy 101. The route via Hwy 18 is a single lane paved road that has pull outs so that you can pass oncoming traffic. The road was not heavily traveled. Choosing the Hwy 18 route you also get the opportunity to visit the Drift Creek covered bridge.
The day that we went (July), the trail head parking lot was full. This is a fee area and requires a pass or you can pay the $5.00 fee at self service trail head entrance. There is a vault toilet at the trail head. I will warn you the day we were there it was pretty intense. (Most of the time your eyes don’t burn in these facilities but this one was the rare exception.)
The hike is a gentle sloping trail down the side of the hill through a some old growth trees and ferns and moss. There was a fire in this area many years ago and you can see some of the remnants of this. We passed old growth cedar trees that were literally 5 feet across. Keep in mind as you traverse this trail that you are gradually dropping in elevation. I remind you of this because you are going to have to make the trip back up. Bring some water along, hold your photos until the return trip so you have a reason to catch your breath and it isn’t bad at all.
The suspension bridge is a surprise. All of a sudden is just appears. It is 240 feet long and about 100 feet above the creek and off to the right you will see the falls, tumbling about 70(ish) feet into the creek below. Prior to August 2010 there used to be a pool at the bottom of the falls… now there are a lot of rocks as you can see from the pictures. That August a large portion of the rock face tumbled into the creek below.
You can continue on the trail down to the creek side and enjoy getting wet. Navigating your way to the falls can be interesting as those rocks are quite a bit larger than they appear from the top.
The total distance is about 1.5 miles each way. You should plan to take 2-3 hours and enjoy your time while you are there.
Video: Grants Getaways
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How to get there:
From HWY 101, south of Lincoln city, turn east on Drift Creek Road, right on South Drift Creek for 1/4 mile. Then left on FS Rd. #17 (don’t take Anderson Creek Rd.) for about 10 miles to the trailhead.
From HWY 18, 4.5 miles east of HWY101, turn south on Bear Creek County Rd. for 3.5 mi., then continue straight for 7 miles on FS Rd. #17 to the trailhead.