Towering Sitka spruce and western hemlock that sometimes reach seven feet in diameter shade the Coast Range's largest rainforest stand of old growth.
The steep canyons of rock-splattered Drift Creek may give you the impression of mountainous country, but the forested hills rise only slightly above 2,000 feet.
Soaked by as much as 120 inches of annual rainfall, moss and ferns as thick as six inches cushion the ground along numerous streams shadowed by overhanging big leaf maples.
Roosevelt elk and black bears share this lush territory with two endangered Oregon species: northern spotted owls and bald eagles.
In fall, Drift Creek comes alive with spawning Chinook and Coho salmon as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout.
At a Glance
Flat clearings along the creek make for ideal campsites, but please remember to camp at least 100 feet away from the stream. Camp stove use is recommended.
Drift Creek Wilderness is located in the Oregon Coast Range, 7 miles north of Waldport and south of Newport, Oregon.
From the south, the Harris Ranch trailhead is located 2 miles north of Highway 34 and is the portal to the southern half of the wilderness area.
On the north side, the Horse Creek trailhead is approximately 15 miles east of Highway 101 and allows hikers to explore the northern half of the wilderness area.
Turn east off Highway 101 on Beaver Creek Road at Ona Beach for 3.7 miles, then turn right on N Elk Horn Road for 5.9 miles. Follow the Horse Creek Trail sign at the FS Road 5100 junction and turn left on to FS Road 5000. After 1.3 miles, continue on FS Road 5000 and veer right for another 2.8 miles to the Horse Creek trailhead.