Listen up, Portlanders. It’s mid-August already – how does the summer always fly by so quickly in Oregon? – and you’ve only got a few weeks of nice weather left. If you haven’t yet tried the 4T Trail Loop Hike, then it’s definitely time to give it a shot.
The name behind the loop is simple: 4T for trail, tram, trolley, and train. The adventure can begin at whatever point you choose, but most people recommend starting with the hiking portion, along the Marquam Trail to Portland’s fabled Council Crest. At 1,073 feet, the peak is the highest point in the West Hills, with a view to prove it. On clear days, the mountains are visible in all their snowcapped glory, and the Tualatin Valley is spread out below like a lovely patchwork quilt. If you aren’t up for the 4.5-mile hike, use handy shortcuts to cut it down to a little less than 4 miles (Take heart: from here on out the journey is air-conditioned!)
Now catch the tram from OHSU, a free ride if you’re going down – though beware, it operates during limited hours on the weekend and on holidays. Once there, feel free to enjoy the beauty of the South Waterfront District, or proceed directly to the next T portion: trolley. Portland’s cheerful streetcar system will take you into MAX territory, where you can catch the train back to your starting position.
If you are coming from downtown, of course, feel free to begin your trip with the train ride, and conclude with the trolley. An excellent PDF containing directions and a map can be found here, so explore your options before setting out. The beauty of this trail is that as long as you’ve got $2 in your pocket and the tram is running, you can do it any time. But that still shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of this beautiful summer weather!