Description: This is a wonderful wilderness run that flows through the Drift Creek Wilderness and as long as you get an early start you can do it as a day trip. You can expect to see wildlife along the river and the occassional steelhead fisherman who ventures into this gem of a river. The whitewater consists of splashy class II and some fun little boulder gardens. You can expect a log jam portage or two. While the whitewater is not difficult this is a remote wilderness area so use appropriate caution.
As you emerge from the wilderness the character of the run begins to change but just as you pass a couple barns on river left you come to the most challenging drop on the run, a fun class III. After this the action tapers off and the whitewater is pretty much done. You will float under a private bridge and continue along farm fields for the next few miles. A highlight on this section which is a spectacular set of waterfalls that cascades in from river left. The last few bends of the river are influenced by the tide so an outgoing tide is beneficial but not necessarily essential. As you float under another bridge you are at the take-out which is easily accessible from a parking area on the downstream river left side of the bridge.
Logistics: To reach the take-out from Waldport on Highway 101 take North Bayview Road on the north side of the Alsea River up 6.7 miles and bear right at the Y on North May Road. Take this road 2.6 miles to a bridge across Drift Creek. The take-out is on the downstream river left side of the bridge.
To reach the put-in from Waldport on Highway 101 take North Bayview Road on the north side of the Alsea River up 2.6 miles and turn north on South Beaver Creek Road. Take the road 5.3 miles to the T junction with North Beaver Creek Road and turn right headed up the valley (you will be joining this road at mile post 1.0). You will climb up along Beaver Creek and at milepost 12 you will come to a T junction with the 1000 Line Road (aka FR 31). You join this road at milepost 5.3 (it starts down in Toledo and it's possible to come up from there). Continue to milepost 9.5 and turn right on the 1100 Road (alternatively you can continue on up the 1000 road for a put-in higher up). Within half a mile of turning on to the 1100 Road you will see a farm and then Drift Creek as you head downstream along river right. At mile 1.0 you will cross Drift Creek and this bridge serves as a put-in. You can continue downstream (to stay on the 1100 road stay left at the Y at mile 2.0) and at mile 2.2 you will cross Drift Creek again at another access point. If you have high clearance you can take an immediate left after crossing the bridge and head downstream on river right for a short distance to the lowest possible put-in.
For the shuttle you could cut across on the FR 51 Road but road conditions are better if you just go back to South Beaver Creek road.
The takeout bridge on N May Rd is no longer accessible to the public. I tried accessing it Jan 2020 for trip planning purposes and found a wooden "Beware Private Next 4 MI" sign on N Bayview Rd just before the junction with N May Rd. N May Rd had an established metal sign stating vehicular access was no longer allowed. An alternate takeout could be the south shore of the Main Alsea. There doesn't appear to be any good place to takeout between the wilderness boundary and the Main Alsea.
The season for this run is the winter rainy season. Pat Welch publishes an estimate of flow for Drift Creek and recommends 400-2000 cfs with 700 cfs being optimal.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Drift Creek Wilderness
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