We finally made it out to the coast and this hike definitely did not disappoint!
Directions: From Portland take I-5 South to exit 294 for 99W. Take 99W through Newberg and Dundee for 22.9 miles, then take a left for Highway 18 (Dayton/Oregon Coast). Take Highway 18 for 48 miles and pass through Grand Ronde and reach Rose Lodge where you will take a left onto Bear Creek Road (there is a sign for Drift Creek Falls). Drive 3 miles (the last part of this road is gravel but in good condition) where you will come to a junction and stay straight (the pavement begins again here). Quickly you will come to another junction, go left onto Forest Road 17 which is a one lane paved road. Drive another 1.5 miles and stay right at a junction for Drift Creek Camp. In another 3.5 miles you will come to a junction, stay right on the paved road. About a mile later you will come to the trailhead on the left.
The hike is all downhill on your way in, which makes it all uphill on your way out. Normally this would be a bit tiresome but this hike is pretty well graded which makes it a fairly easy hike out.
From the trailhead you’ll head down one long switchback which takes you to a ridge that you will round and continue down to a few footbridges and a U turn in the trail. Soon you will come to a junction in the trail. Stay straight (going left or up will take you on a trail that isn’t maintained but does eventually meet up with the main trail again) and follow the trail around another ridge that takes you down to creek level. There is another footbridge here that you cross, continue on and just a short time later you will come to the main bridge. This is a 240 foot long suspension bridge that’s over 100 feet above Drift Creek. It’s not a common sight to see on a hike which makes it even more amazing.
After crossing the suspension bridge the trail continues on and switches back down to the creek where you get a great view of Drift Creek Falls and the bridge from below. Drift Creek Falls is a 75 foot “horsetail” type falls and in the summer of 2010 big chunks of the cliff broke off and fell to the base of the falls. The giant rock pieces did make for some nice places to take pictures and get a little closer to the waterfall.
This is an out and back hike so turn around and head back the way you came. Be sure to stop on the bridge on your way out and take in the waterfall from above!
Distance: 3 miles (easy)
Elevation: 500 feet (easy)
Pet Friendly: Yes
Good For: Most. The bridge on this hike may cause problems for people that don’t like heights.
Parking Fee: Northwest Forest Pass
Popular: Yes on nice weekends.