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Hike Drift Creek Falls and its 100-ft Suspension Bridge

drift creek falls summertime flow

Are you ready for an adventure? How about walking across a long suspension bridge that hovers above the forest floor? Or viewing the natural beauty of the Oregon Coast Range Mountains’ dense forest. Or how about viewing a stunning waterfall that falls over the cliffside? Drift Creek Falls is a great hike along the Northern Oregon Coast that will give you an experience to remember!

Drift Creek Falls is located in the Siuslaw National Forest, about 16 miles east of the Lincoln City area. While it is a popular destination for hikers in Oregon, I have been to this trail at least 10 times and I’ve never found it overrun with other hikers so you can expect to experience the peacefulness of nature while you are there. There are other great hikes in Oregon that I have had the opposite experience so if you looking for a quieter hike, this is a good one. If you are looking for a great day hike near the coast, check out the following info to learn all you can about this great hike. 

Hike Drift Creek Falls and its 100-ft Suspension Bridge

drift creek falls suspension bridge

All About Drift Creek Falls Trail

Drift Creek Falls is a roughly 3-mile-long trail round trip. This trail has an elevation gain of approximately 525 feet. This trail has a difficulty rating of easy. One thing to note is that the elevation gain is actually on your return trip on this hike, so your 3 miles round-trip will be a little more difficult on the way back.  

Are There Bathrooms at Drift Creek Fall Trailhead?

Yes, there are pit toilets available at the trailhead. 

Do You Need a Permit to Hike Drift Creek Falls Trail?

You will need a Northwest Forest Pass to do this hike, it is $5 for a one-day pass parking fee or you can use your Annual NW Forest Pass

When is the Best Time to Visit Drift Creek?

​While you can visit this hike any time of year and it’s a great hike year-round, the best time to visit is December through May for the best greenery and the best flow from the waterfall. During the late summer months, the waterfall itself is quite unimpressive. 

​All About the Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge

suspension bridge

Roughly 1.25 miles from the trailhead you will come upon a huge suspension bridge. This is one of the most talked about things about this trail and for good reason! This bridge was built to allow hikers to cross the canyon to get to the falls. The bridge hovers 100 feet above ground and is almost 250 feet long!  The bridge was built in 1997, with all of the parts being flown in via helicopter. If the idea of a suspension bridge makes you nervous, don’t worry! This 240-foot suspension bridge can remarkably support 165,000 pounds. It may sway a little and move a bit while you are crossing it, but it is very sturdy and very cool.  (I’m a bit of a bridge junkie, so this is definitely my favorite part of the hike). 

All About the Falls

drift creek falls upper view

One quarter mile after the bridge, at the end of the trail, you will find Drift Creek Falls. Drift Creek Falls is a 66-foot-tall waterfall and the bottom of the falls ends on a pile of massive rocks. You may be tempted to walk on the rocks at the base of the falls, but please don’t as they are most often wet, slippery and moss-covered and therefore pose a danger to your safety. You can still get some great shots of yourself with the falls in the background without the dangers of climbing down to the base of Drift Creek Falls. 

Is Drift Creek a Family-Friendly Hike?

This is an easy hike with a wide, groomed, and well-graded trail that is perfect for families! There are relatively few drop-off dangers to stress about, which is unlike many of the waterfall hikes that I have been on in the past. It’s a great trail for pointing out different tree species, such as western hemlock, old growth trees,  and other coastal forest trees. These are just some of the reasons that this is such a popular hike for families. 

Is There Parking Available at the Trailhead?

There is a small parking lot that holds roughly 20 cars at the trailhead. I have only seen this parking lot crowded maybe once or twice during all of my visits to this trail, but I’ve never been unable to find a spot for my car in the parking area. 

Is Drift Creek Trail a Crowded Hike?

Drift Creek Falls can be busy if you don’t time your visit right. If you are the type that prefers seeing less people on your hikes, I would certainly try and avoid visiting on the weekends, especially during the summer. 

​What Else Is There to Do in the Area?

​Drift Creek Falls is located off of a forest service road, so nearby you won’t find it packed with things to do, but since you are just 16 miles east of Lincoln City, you won’t have to go far to find stuff to do! We tend to work our Drift Creek Falls hikes into coast trips so we can do lots of fun stuff at once! 

Here are some of our favorite activities to do in the area:

Beach Day 

We all love a good beach day so we pack up a kite, the beach blankets, and the beach toys and prepare for a day on the sand. 

Visit the Casino!

Okay, so you actually have several options here. Drift Creek is only about 30 minutes away from Oregon’s most popular casino, Spirit Mountain Casino, located in Grand Ronde. Or, you can visit Chinook Winds Casino located right in Lincoln City. We aren’t big gamblers, but Chinook Winds has a great arcade for the family to play! 

Eat Some Local Seafood

The Oregon Coast has a plethora of great seafood restaurant options if you are looking to enjoy some local seafood! Don’t forget to stop by Mo’s for their famous Clam Chowder! 

Just for fun, be sure and read all about these Fun Facts About Hiking!

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