Portland is known for its many and varied parks from the well coiffed Rose Garden to the wild and natural Forest Park. Portland is also known for being a leader in public transportation. The mixture and proximity of trails and transit makes for some fun excursions. The Oregonian had a nice article this morning on the unofficial 4T Trail . This of course, reminded me of the original 4T Trail that debuted in 2009.
The original trail was the vision of Portland neighborhood activist and retired timber executive Don Baack. Yes, in Portland a retired timber executive really can be a neighborhood actrvist, but that is another story. The original trail is a nine mile loop starting at the Oregon Zoo. From there one hikes to Council Crest, the highest point in the city, allowing views to Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier and of course Mt. Hood. A bit more hiking brings you to the aerial tram, connecting Oregon Health Sciences University’s Marquam Hill Campus to the South Waterfront Campus. The Portland Tram is actually part of Tri-Met, our public transportation provider.
From the tram drop off at the South Waterfront, the Portland Streetcar runs along the waterfront, up through Portland State University and into downtown. Change from the streetcar to MAX for a quick train ride back to the Oregon Zoo. Make note, on the way to the zoo you’ll be in the deeepst tunnel in the United States.
The unofficial, slightly more urban version of the 4T Trail starts at Council Crest, with a walk down to the Orgon Zoo. Entering the Zoo, you can take time to see a few exhibits, before boarding the Zoo Train to Washington Park. Here you can stroll the International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden, before taking a short walk to the shops and restaurants of NW 23rd Avenue. NW 23rd might be the place to grab some lunch or a snack before boarding the streetcar for Powell’s Books.
Don”t get too involved in Powell’s as you still have a ways to go. Board the streetcar again, to wind through downtown and Portland State University to the tram station located at the South Waterfront. Ride the tram up to Oregon Health Sciences University. From OHSU, walk back up to Council Crest.
Both of these “trails” have a lot to offer, both have their share of verticle rise in hiking, varying modes of transportation and access to distinct parts of Portland. Enjoy!
Check out this video on taking transit to trails in the Portland area.