Grant’s Getaways: Drift Creek Path

Drift Creek takes you on a wonderful hike along a classic pool and drop stream in the Siuslaw National Forest.

DRIFT CREEK, Ore. – When you spend enough time outdoors in Oregon, you will realize that luck is a good partner when it comes to winter weather.

It was recently on a walk along the riverbank into a watershed, where rain is often measured in feet rather than inches, and great surprises await at the end of the walk.

Drift Creek takes you, perhaps where the imagination travels, on a wonderful hike along a classic pool and drop stream in the Siuslaw National Forest.

Flanked by ferns, alders and maples Drift Creek Trail winds through a classic rain-soaked coastal forest made of hemlock and fir.

“You can come out and hike this trail most of the year as it’s a fairly gentle descent with lots of switchbacks,” said retired USFS manager George Buckingham. “It’s only a 3 mile round-trip and a pretty easy touch so you can bring young children and they’ll do fine.”

Buckingham and USFS employee JW Cleveland were our guides for an incredible adventure in a unique area of ​​the forest. It was a hike that paid off wonderfully for our time and efforts.

JW warned, “Rainwear is a must at this time of year! Make sure you have it in your vehicle, then call when you get to the trailhead. It can get very wet here so you may need the equipment. You want to make sure you have a camera too because you are going to see some pretty amazing things. “

The Drift Creek Trail is awesome until you get to something even better and bigger that will take your breath away: a 240 foot cable suspension bridge!

“The feeling you have is really a bit like being hung off the floor.” A hundred feet off the ground, observed Buckingham. “There is a stream below you and a waterfall flowing in so that your auditory senses are really triggered too. It’s a pretty nice experience. “

The bridge is anchored with cables and zip ties cemented to opposite cliffs and holds over a hundred and fifty thousand pounds. The bridge isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

While the bridge offers a bit of bounce, the 30 “wide profile is perfectly safe and the bird’s eye view will cast a spell over you.

As is Drift Creek Falls, a 75-foot freefall, a whopper of a waterfall that’s right below you.

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Buckingham said something, “A lot really happened here not so long ago.”

A few years ago, the entire rock face of the falls plunged into the creek below and the creek is now actually under the rock. It goes underground where there used to be a pool. “

George was right! After millions of years of standing, more than 150 feet of basalt rock wall fell into Drift Creek.

“There’s a boulder down there that would fill most of the parking lot in front of my office,” remarked Buckingham with a chuckle. “As you can see, columnar basalt has strong vertical joints, but water has worked there over time, probably for thousands of years in this humid climate. Eventually gravity took over and boomed, it just slipped off. “

The sound of the crashing rock face must have been deafening, maybe even terrifying! Fortunately, no one was in the area when it happened in August 2010.

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Even so, seeing from above is a thrill and it’s the kind of hiking experience best enjoyed this time of year.

“Now is the time to come out and see the falls,” added Cleveland. “This is especially true after a major rain event. If you come here in the summer when the water flow is less it just isn’t the same. “

“People love to come here,” added Buckingham. “It is fantastic to provide unique places like this where people can relax, approach a harsh outdoor environment, and play sports at the same time. Well worth your time to visit. “

Directions to the Drift Creek Trail:

From Portland, travel south on US 99W, then west on Oregon 18. Look for signs at Rose Lodge and turn left on Bear Creek County Road. Travel approximately 3.5 miles to the intersection with Forest Service Road 17. Follow the sign and continue seven miles to the Drift Creek trailhead and parking lot.

From Lincoln City, travel south on US 101 for approximately one mile. Turn left on Drift Creek Road and then a quarter mile right on South Drift Creek Road. Turn left on 17 Forest Service Road and travel approximately 10 miles to the Drift Creek trailhead and parking lot.

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Be sure to keep track of my Oregon adventures over the new Grant’s Getaways Podcast I tell behind the scenes stories from nearly four decades of television coverage.

You can also learn more about many of our favorite Oregon trips and adventures in the Grant’s Getaways book series, including “Grant’s Getaways: 101 Oregon Adventures” “Grant’s Getaways: A Guide to Wildlife Viewing in Oregon” and Grant’s Getaways: Oregon Adventure With The Kids. ” The collection features hundreds of outdoor activities across Oregon and promises to keep a child of all ages involved.

My next book, Grant’s Getaways: Another 101 Oregon Adventures, will be published in 2022.

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