Drift Creek Wilderness: Horse Creek Trail North

Often my adventures take me towards the Cascades. I was recently asked why I didn't ever check out the Coast Range. After thinking for a moment, it came to me, the Coast Range usually depresses me. It's pretty much impossible to get to any hikes without passing the massive clear-cuts that the state of Oregon allows on private land. If it wasn't for forward thinking conservationists we would only have photos of what a native Oregon rainforest looks like.

Drift Creek Wilderness is a relatively small but incredible place. There are only 2 trails and a 'thru-hike' of the Wilderness requires a ford of Drift Creek, which in Winter can be dangerous if not impossible. I'll save the Harris Ranch Trail for another entry.

The trailhead is about .6 miles from the Wilderness
As you walk down the old logging road take note of the large stumps to your right, it's very surprising that this wasn't the fate of Drift Creek Wilderness. After climbing over or walking around quite a bit of wind fall you'll come to fairly large clearing, the trail veers left into the forest. As of May, 23 it had some trees across the trail. 

The trail veers left into the woods here, despite the blockage.
After a short uphill section you come to the entry to Drift Creek Wilderness. It has always been foggy and rainy the 4 times I have been here,  it's always exciting finally getting into native forest. 

Entry to Drift Creek Wilderness

The first massive tree you see is pretty interesting... 

Aside from climbing over quite a bit of down trees and the first 2.5 miles of the trail are nearly flat. The decent to Drift Creek is fairly rapid, with a few spots being very steep! With the nearly 120 inches of a rain a year this area gets, the trail is often muddy in those more steep areas. 

Recently fallen giant along the trail

There are serval small campsites on the north side of Drift Creek, the largest would probably handle 3 tents very snugly. 

'Large' Campsite near Drift Creek

Access to the creek itself is easiest if you walk upstream on the most well defined trial leaving the large campsite. Otherwise you will likely end up sliding down to the creek... 

View from another campsite

In Fall there are runs of both Chinook and Coho salmon as well as serval kinds of trout. I still haven't made it out for these, but definitely would like to. If you would like to spend a few hours or days in some of the most incredible and nearly human free native forest Oregon has to offer go to Drift Creek. 

Access: Driving Directions  2-wheel car safe. Though currently there is a lot of broken trees, you might have to move. 

Hike Distance: 7.3 miles

Hike Type: Out and Back

Elevation Gain/ Loss: 1,720 Feet

Usage: Light, I've never seen anyone here. 

Difficulty: 3 out of 5 because of downfall and the rapid climb. 

Getting there can be half the adventure

Popular posts from this blog

Maxwell Sno-Park: Mountain View Shelter Loop

Make a Homemade Planter Box For Under $30

Redwood Creek to Tall Trees Grove: Backpacking Redwood National Park