Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge, 1997

Hebo Ranger District, Siuslaw National Forest, OR

Satellite view of bridge. View Larger Map

Drift Creek Bridge, 100' above the falls.

USE:  Pedestrian

SPAN:  240'


TOWERS:  29' tall x 12 1/4" x 18" penta treated douglas fir glu-lams

ANCHORS:  28 cy concrete deadmen (one side)1 3/8" x 10' rock bolts (one side)

MAINLINES:  1.250" Galv. 6 x 19 wire rope


Keith Monohan at tower top, with Kaya below Drift Creek Falls Suspension Bridge is located in the Coast Range of Oregon, about 10 miles east of Lincoln City and Highway 101. Hugely popular, an easy 1.5 mile hike brings the visitor to the bridge, which vaults the Canyon more than 100 feet above Drift Creek. Crossing Drift Creek Bridge is an other- worldly experience as it carries the visitor through the forest canopy, offering a birds-eye view of the 80' tall falls cascading below. Drift Creek Bridge is dedicated to the late Scott Paul, a trailbuilder with the U.S. Forest Service, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, WA, whose vision and commitment to trails was the inspiration behind this incredible project.

Sahale became involved in the Drift Creek project after the design had been completed and the Forest Service had fabricated many of the bridge materials. Work on the project had stopped during excavation of the abutments and anchors when the Forest Service Construction Foreman, Scott Paul, lost his life on the project in a tragic rigging accident. Sahale owner Carroll Vogel, long an associate of Scott's and a fellow trail builder, resolved to assist the Forest Service with completion of the project as a tribute to his lost friend and the community of trailbuilders in the Northwest who had lost one of their own.

Reliant on their familiarity with cable bridges, Master Builder Carroll Vogel and Engineer Al Highberger assessed the design they inherited and incorporated improvements; changes to the anchor systems, tower configuration, truss assembly, wind cable connections, and railing system. As eventually built, the Drift Creek Bridge incorporated a quasi-stiffening truss in the deck--a design feature unusual among light suspension footbridges, offering increased stability.

The Drift Creek bridge terminates at rock anchors on one side of the gorge, with the other side anchored in concrete deadmen. Materials, including concrete, were mobilized to the site via helicopter, and the mainspan was erected from a skyline hung more than 100 feet above the canyon floor. The photos on this page show a view of the bridge and falls from below, and a view of the finished bridge with Keith Monohan at the tower top. This was Keith's first of many, many bridge projects with Sahale.

Bridge near completion, prior to fence installation; note personnel basket hanging in background