Valsetz to Drift Creek Falls
About Valsetz to Drift Creek Falls
Drift Creek Falls is a large, dramatic, and powerful waterfall about 15 miles east of Lincoln City. This is an out-and-back route from the ghost town of Valsetz. The route is 36 miles, with 3300' of climbing, and is 95% unpaved.
Starting location: Valsetz (see location). Parking is available at a gravel lot at this location.
Distance & drive time (from downtown Corvallis) (see route): 37 miles; 1 hour and 15 minutes
RWGPS route map: 36 miles; +3300'; 95% unpaved
Description: From Valsetz, follow Siletz River Road for about 6 miles before turning north on Gravel Creek Road and traveling 12 miles to the falls.
Limitations on public access: This route uses roads owned by private timber companies that are subject to limits on public access and fire season restrictions and closures. This area is most likely to be open between Mid-September and early July. Non-motorized travel and passenger vehicles are allowed 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunrise. The following activities or vehicles are prohibited: Camping; fires; electric bikes; motorcycles; ATVs; target shooting; trapping.
More information: I published this route on the MTB Project: First, take Siletz River Road (mile 22 to mile 16.6) and then take the Drift Creek Falls Gravel Ride.
Places on the route
Drift Creek Falls is a dramatic and powerful waterfall about 15 miles east of Lincoln City. It is about 66 feet tall and a 240' pedestrian suspension bridge spans a canyon overlooking the falls. The trail from the parking area to the falls is about 1.5 miles long. For more information, see: Siuslaw National Forest - Drift Creek Falls information and Map (PDF); Hike Oregon; The Hiking Project; Oregon Hikers; Photos of Drift Creek Falls (Google); Grant's Getaways (video).
Valsetz was a timber company town that was established in 1919 and had a population of over 1000 in the mid-20th century. It was decommissioned by the company and destroyed in 1984. Today, you can still see some of the towns streets, the foundations of buildings and houses, and the remains of a large reservoir known as Lake Valsetz.
Ride with GPS route map
Active logging operations: These areas are subject to active logging operations, which means you could encounter log trucks. Such activity typically occurs during the work week, and less so on weekends, particularly on Sundays. If you hear a log truck approaching, get off the road and wait for it to pass. This is for your own safety and in recognition that you are a guest on private property.
Log truck gravel: Most of these roads have reasonable sized gravel much of the time. For that, I recommend a minimum recommended tire width of 40mm. However, these roads are subject to being freshly graveled with big and loose gravel from time to time. For this kind of gravel, you likely will be happier on tires that are at least 2" (~50mm) wide.