A few days ago, Laurel, the family canine (ZuZu), and I headed off to a place here in Oregon we'd never been to before -- Drift Creek Falls.
It's not far, about 90 minutes from Salem, where we live. And quite a bit of that time was spent going the 10 miles or so to the trailhead from Highway 18, mostly on a very curvy, narrow, yet (thankfully) paved Forest Service road with a few gravel areas.
Bring $5 with you for the vehicle fee at the trailhead, if you don't have a Recreation Pass.
The round trip from the trailhead to the falls and back is only 3 miles, 1.5 miles each way. It's an easy hike on a smooth well-traveled trail. We encountered all sorts of people -- all ages, all fitness levels, dogged and dog-free.
We picked a good day to go. Unusually warm and sunny for early April. Laurel and I aren't at all conventionally religious. But looking up, I felt a sense of natural secular sacredness.
Looking down, also. Western Oregon has been in a dry/warm spell, so the forest wasn't as moistly lush as it'd be in a more rainy period. Still, the ferns looked wonderfully fern'y.
A creek. Good place for the dog to get a drink.
Which required some leaping over a log. Well, actually it didn't. But ZuZu preferred the water on the other side of the log. Probably, from what I know of our dog's mind, because it was on the other side of the log.
A Zen-ish rock pile had been left in the water.
Between the creek and the falls, the trees become larger.
Ah, finally! The 240 feet long suspension bridge.
The bridge barely sways. Just enough to be interesting.
On the other side of the bridge, views of Drift Creek Falls beckon.
Continuing down the trail, you can get down to creek level. Spring or fall would be the best time to make this hike. The falls must be much smaller in the summer.
Through my magical powers, during our spring visit I was able to make the falls temporarily small enough to fill my water bottle. It didn't take long!
The coast is just a few miles away. So after the hike, we drove the short distance up Highway 101 to Neskowin. ZuZu made friends with the dog in the far background. Some racing around the beach left her in a tongue-hanging-out mood.
Then, ZuZu was in a sit down mood.
There's a lot to like about Oregon. Mountains, waterfall, ocean, beach -- all within a short distance. And Neskowin Beach was pleasingly uncrowded. (I think the small white dot on the right side of the photo is a person, though.)