Looking for a fun and easy hike the whole family can enjoy? Drift Creek Falls is located near Lincoln City, Oregon, deep in the Siuslaw National Forest. The drive there is a bit complicated and GPS isn’t reliable due to the lack of phone service out in the forest, so we encourage guests to either print a map or download a Google Map to their phone before leaving their Oregon Coast Rental.
Length: 3 miles
Elevation gain: 480 ft.
Type: Out and Back
Approximate time to hike: 2-3 hours
Parking: Drift Creek Falls Trailhead
Cost/Pass Required: A recreational pass is required, and a day pass can be purchased for $5 on the official website.
Dogs allowed? Yes, on a leash
Family/Kid Friendly? Totally! This is a great hike for all ages and skill levels!
Getting to Drift Creek Falls Trail
The Drift Creek Falls trailhead can be reached via two different directions one coming from near Lincoln City via Highway 101, and the other coming from off of Highway 101/Highway 18. The drive is mainly straight forward, but does have some turns in it that are necessary to know, especially if you are coming from Lincoln City, rather than using the Hwy 18 route.
The Drift Creek Falls Trail is approximately 3 miles long, and rewards hikers with a gorgeous view overlooking a beautiful waterfall from a long suspension bridge. Open year round, this hike is great for all age groups, and you can even bring your dog, so long as they are kept on a leash.
The trail starts out relatively easy with very manageable switchbacks that wind down the forested slope below the trailhead. After a bit of hiking and crossing small streams and bridges, you’ll come to the main attraction – the 240ft suspension bridge over the trail, the largest suspension bridge in Oregon. The view from the bridge is breathtaking, and the sound of the water crashing below is something to behold.
Once you’ve made it to the bridge, make your way across and then wind down to the base of the falls. At the bottom of the falls you’ll find a picnic table crafted from an old fallen tree, which is a perfect place to stop and get some rest. We recommend taking a break here before heading back, as hiking back to your car is more difficult than the path into the forest was. The way back is much steeper, whereas the first half of the hike was mainly downhill. If you brought a snack or lunch, the base of the falls is a great place to stop and eat!
Foot traffic is heavy during the summer months and lighter during the winter. You must also purchase a pass to park at the trailhead, or pay by cash once you’ve arrived ($5). If you plan on beginning this hike close to dark, bring a flashlight along with you, as the canopy of trees lets even less light in, making it harder to see the path in the late afternoon/evening hours.
All in all, this is a very approachable trail, even for beginner hikers. Seasoned adventurers will also enjoy hiking Drift Creek Falls trail, as the reward for making it to the end is breathtaking by any standards. You’re sure to see plenty of others while hiking here, so be sure to share the trail, stay safe, and have fun!