Drift Creek Wilderness

Area Status: Open

looking up creek in mist with mossy branches overhanging

Drift Creek Wilderness is located in the Oregon Coast Range, 7  miles north of Waldport and south of Newport, Oregon. 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 bigleaf maples.

Roosevelt elk and black bears share this lush territory along with northern spotted owl, woodpeckers, bald eagles, banana slugs, salamanders and many others. In fall, Drift Creek comes alive with spawning chinook and coho salmon as well as steelhead and cutthroat trout.

The Drift Creek Wilderness (5,798 acres) is one of three wilderness areas established on the Siuslaw National Forest and the largest on the Coast Range. There are two main trails, the Horse Creek Trail and the Harris Ranch Trail. Stock use prohibited due to fragile soil conditions.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: No Bikes, or motorized vehicles allowed.
Closest Towns: Waldport, OR
Newport, OR
Information Center: Central Coast Ranger District
1130 Forestry Lane
Waldport, Oregon 97394

General Information

General Notes:

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.


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.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Viewing Wildlife

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:

Viewing Plants

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Plants:

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
5,798 acres

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
Sea level - 2,000 feet