Archive for the 'Hikes' Category

A Beautiful Day for the Four T’s Hike

September 13, 2008

Saturday was a beautiful day for a walk in Portland, so I decided to do the Four T’s hike, so named because it incorporates a trail, tram, trolley and train all in one trip.

The four-mile hike begins at the Oregon Zoo, which can be reached by car or MAX train, according to your desire and schedule. Normally I like to park at the Zoo, but today I opted to ride the train and leave my car at the Beaverton Town Square parking lot near the Beaverton Transit Center. It was a good decision because the Zoo lots were overflowing with visitors and they were running shuttle buses from the next exit on Highway 26.

To begin the hike, walk downhill from the Zoo toward 26 and cross the bridge over the highway. Turn left on the freeway on-ramp toward Portland and walk on the right side. The trailhead for the Marquam Trail is about halfway down the on-ramp on the right. The trail immediately begins an uphill climb toward Council Crest, the highest point in the city of Portland.

Follow the trail until it reaches a short staircase at SW Patton Road. Turn right on Patton and take a quick left at the stop sign at Talbot, heading uphill. Follow this road to the entrance to Council Crest Park, taking the paved path toward the top. This path is the rail bed for a former streetcar line that used to travel to the top of the park.


Enjoy the views of the city and several Cascade mountain peaks visible on clear days. (Sadly, I was so out of breath when I reached the top, I did not get any decent shots from Council Crest.)

The Marquam Trail continues down the other side of the park, beginning at a trailhead next to the off-leash dog area and the view of Mt. Hood in the distance. Following the trail downhill leads to SW Fairmount and a nice walk among many unique homes built into the steep hillsides and canyon walls of the West Hills.

A left turn on SW Marquam Hill leads to Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland aerial tram, which takes riders from OHSU to the South Waterfront neighborhood.

Today was my first opportunity to ride the tram and it was a lot of fun. The views were pretty amazing. It doesn’t run on Sundays, I believe.


There was a good deal of controversy surrounding the design, cost and construction of the tram before it was built. I quickly noticed that, despite city leaders promises to homeowners below the tram route that their privacy would be protected, any passenger over three feet tall could easily see every detail of the homes and yards in the tram’s path.

At the bottom of the tram, take the Portland Streetcar (aka the “trolley”) toward the city center past Portland State University and the Park Blocks.

Depart the streetcar at the Multnomah County Library and walk one block north to Morrison and catch the Max train back to the Zoo (or your other starting point).

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

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