Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike

Central Oregon Coast, Oregon

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Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike

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  • Entering Drift Creek Wilderness.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Trail covered in a layer of hail.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Older Douglas fir.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • One of the larger Douglas firs next to the trail.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • - Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • - Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Lush understory along the trail.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Horse Creek North Trail.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Rough skinned newt.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Banana slug.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • One of the campsites at the bottom of the trail near Drift Creek.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Drift Creek running high in the winter.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Drift Creek running high in the winter.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • A downed western redcedar that had a 5-foot diameter.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
  • Sign located at the trailhead parking area. Locals know this trail as Drift Creek North, but it has been renamed recently to Horse Creek North.- Horse Creek North/Drift Creek North Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Old growth. Solitude. Camping near the river.
Cons: 
Remote. Inconsistent water level.
Region:
Central Oregon Coast, OR
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for: 
Hiking
Total Distance: 
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,495.00 ft (455.68 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

Drift Creek Wilderness area is situated in the heart of the Siuslaw National Forest. The area features access for hiking, backpacking, fishing and camping. Three trails provide access to Drift Creek, a tributary of the Alsea River, which carves through the remote coastal canyon. All three trails are challenging and difficult to connect with each other, and each offers a slightly different experience.

The Horse Creek North Trail offers access to the north side of Drift Creek. The trail enters the Drift Creek Wilderness after only 0.6 miles, and you immediately encounter large Douglas fir, hemlock, Sitka spruce, and western redcedar.   

Upon entering the wilderness area the trail actually climbs nearly 300 feet and tops out just shy of 1,800 feet. Once the ridge is gained, it is all downhill over the next 3 miles. The trail finally levels off as you reach a nice open area adjacent to Drift Creek. Several developed campsites are available. If you are looking for more privacy, there are additional and more primitive campsites to the north or south on the same side of the creek. 

The trail is accessible in all seasons, but be sure to check river conditions before heading out. The water level is typically fairly high from late fall through spring, and access to the creek can be very limited. Keep an eye out for rough-skinned newts and banana slugs. The creek is also a spawning ground for Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout.

For a longer trip, consider linking the Harris Ranch Trail or the Horse Creek South Trail. This will require multiple vehicles and route finding, but either route can make for a great addition to the adventure.

Note that logging operations are active in the area, so be alert for logging trucks on the roads.

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Published in collaboration with The People's Coast

A profound concept originally envisioned by governor Oswald West, in 1967 the Oregon legislature ultimately realized his vision of making the entire Oregon Coast forever open to the public in a piece of landmark legislation titled the Oregon Beach Bill, officially making all 363 miles public land. "The People's Coast" is truly a one-of-a-kind coastline, a unique blend of mountains and rocky stacks, towering old growth forests, marine sanctuaries, tide pools and kelp forests, charming towns, historic fishing communities, world-class golfing, breweries, and simply jaw-dropping scenic beaches. We encourage you to plan your next trip at visittheoregoncoast.com or by calling (541) 574-2679.

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