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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

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 South Trail offers access to the south side of Drift Creek and begins at a small parking area along Forest Service Road 3446. The trail can really be separated into two distinct sections.  The first section starts off as a gentle descent through a second-growth forest. The trail is fairly wide open and follows an old logging roadbed. 

The trail begins to change dramatically as it reaches the border of the Drift Creek Wilderness. Both the terrain and the foliage begin to radically change. Large Douglas fir, western redcedar and western hemlock fill the forest. In addition, the trail also narrows and starts to descend more rapidly.   

From the trailhead to the creek you will lose a total of 1,720 feet, and 1,200 feet of that is in the final 2 miles. Unlike the other trails in the area, you will not find many areas for camping upon reaching Drift Creek. Only a few campsites have been cleared, so plan to arrive early. The water level is typically fairly high from late fall through spring, and access to the creek can be very limited. 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 North Trail. This will require multiple vehicles and route finding, but either route can make for a great addition to the adventure.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Old-growth forest. Fishing. Swimming holes. Solitude.

Cons

Steep trail. Limited campsites.

Trailhead Elevation

1,920.00 ft (585.22 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,720.00 ft (524.26 m)

Address

NF-3446
Tidewater, OR 97390
United States

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Wildlife
Bird watching
Big Game Watching
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Fishing
Big Game Watching

Location

Field Guide

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