I had been drooling over the chance to hike the Drift Creek Falls trail ever since I had first heard about it. The spectacular backcountry 240 foot suspension bridge was calling my name after I had seen pictures of it’s magnitude.
This trail is located near the Oregon Coast just east of Lincoln City, about a 45 minute drive off HWY 101. Head south on Bear Creek Road for about 3.5 miles then exit off onto Forest Service Road 17 and drive 10 miles on the winding scenic road to get to the parking lot of the trail head.
The trail is a 3 mile out and back but there is an option for a longer hike by taking the “North Loop” fork which adds about another half mile and it reconnects with the main trail.
The trail starts with beautiful scenery from the get go as the forest envelops you in its charm. There are multiple switchbacks as you descend down into the ridge. The trail is wide like a sidewalk and marked very well. Lush growth of ferns, trees, clovers and plants surround you from every side in a sea of green.
There’s a really scenic switchback along the trail so you can see other hikers marching along from the other side of the ridge. For me it felt like I was one of Snow Whites dwarfs whistling through the mountain as we strolled along this enchanting land!
The real treat is when you finally reach the bridge. Seriously such an astounding work of architecture! An engineer by the name of Scott Paul designed and began constructing the bridge only to be tangled in a rigging line and he fell to his death. The project was later picked up by a Seattle contractor and the bridge was completed many years later. A memorial plaque for Scott Paul sits at the entry point of the bridge and you can feel his spirit live on through his creation.
The bridge is 100 feet above the ground and it does sway slightly so if you are scared of heights then good luck! I absolutely loved going across the bridge, it is truly spectacular.
The other highlight of this trail is the dramatic 65 foot waterfall that plunges down from the basalt gorge below. Being on the bridge gives you a great vantage point of the waterfall.
Once you cross the bridge there is an open area to enjoy the views. We saw lots of little wildlife scampering around this area. You can hike down to the base of the waterfall where there is a picnic table carved out of a tree. This is a great spot to get your feet wet and play around in the water.
We had our kids with us as this trail is very family friendly. Our 4 year old had no problems, she really enjoyed this hike and had so much fun at the bridge. We had the one year old in a backpack carrier but I even saw a few strollers along the way. It is not a strenuous hike, however going down is always much easier than coming back up.
So next time you’re in the Oregon Coast area put Drift Creek Falls on your list! You will not be disappointed!