Hiking the Harris Ranch Trail to Drift Creek

This past weekend Josh and I embarked on our first overnight hiking trip together. We recently celebrated our two year anniversary and this was our celebration trip. We hiked the Harris Ranch Trail to Drift Creek – around 6 miles round-trip – located in the Drift Creek Wilderness portion of the Siuslaw National Forest.

I had to work Saturday so we got a bit of a late start. We arrived at the trailhead around 5. The hike down to the creek was all downhill, and took us about an hour and a half. There were 4 or 5 other groups camped along the creek in the well-established camping spots. We didn’t want to be close to anyone, so we continued along the trail. Parts of it were quite a bit overgrown and full of underbrush that we fought through. There were also a few downed trees over the trail that we needed to scramble over. However we found a few good camping spots with existing fire rings and settled on one about 50 feet back from the trail. We picked a great spot, because right behind our tent we found this old car, rusted away and buried in overgrowth.


Drift Creek was beautiful. Summer is winding down right now and since it’s been relatively dry ┬áthe creek was low. We didn’t attempt to ford it but there were plenty of spots that I would have considered it if I’d brought an extra pair of shoes. I imagine the creek gets a lot deeper and faster in the fall and winter. ┬áThe creek was also loaded with bright red crawdads


The hike back up on Sunday was KILLER! I am still quite a bit out of shape, so 3 miles uphill with my pack on took a lot out of me. I was grateful for my trekking poles because they helped take some of the weight off my legs, and helped me keep my balance. We took plenty of breaks on the way back up to enjoy the scenery. Mushroom season is upon us, so we got to see a lot of different varieties growing near the trail.

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t rely on just one headlamp, even if you’re in a hurry to pack and can’t find one.
  • Freeze-dried scrambled eggs aren’t very appetizing. Everything else we had was good though. I enjoyed the Chili Mac with Beef
  • Pillows are useful and shouldn’t be skipped over.
  • Magnesium fire starters are useful but take a bit of practice.


We’ve decided that for future trips we are interested in investing in hammock tents. If anyone has suggestions or recommendations, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!