The T’s of the 4T Trail stand for Trail, Tram, Trolley (Portland Streetcar), and Train (MAX). When combined, these T’s create an approximately nine-mile loop and a quintessential Portland experience. The 4T highlights some of the city’s best assets: urban parks and trails, stunning views of several Cascade Mountains and cityscapes, a tram ride, and our legendary public transportation. For all these reasons and more, the 4T makes for an excellent outing for anyone.
What Makes It Great
The “Trail” segment of the adventure involves a 4.5-mile hike from the Zoo, up to Council Crest, then over to OHSU. Though you can technically start out at any of the 4T Trailheads, I recommend starting with a MAX Train ride from downtown. Then you can end where you started for dinner and drinks. The trail is marked with signs at each turn, which makes this a simple trail to follow.
If you start from downtown, take the MAX on the Red or Blue line from Pioneer Courthouse Square. Go ahead and buy an all-day, 2-zone pass for $5, which is good for both the train and the streetcar. Take the MAX to the Oregon Zoo stop, which is in the nation’s deepest tunnels. Ride the elevator up to the zoo and take a minute to explore before you continue following the 4T signs.
Then head across Highway 26 and start on the Marquam Trail, which is also signed for the 4T trail. After 1.3 miles you’ll get to Council Crest Park, which is the highest point in Portland. Take in the view of the city while you rest from the climb. Head down from Council Crest and cross the Southwest Greenway and Fairmont Street and follow the trail through Marquam Nature Park for 2.2 miles. That will lead you to the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). Follow the 4T signs to the upper terminal of the Portland Aerial Trail. The tram provides some gorgeous views of the Willamette and some of the Cascades Mountains. Finally, take the Portland Streetcar, which is accessible from the tram terminal and will take you back downtown, only one stop away from Pioneer Courthouse Square.
For a delicious food and drink option, hit up the food carts at 9th and Alder or head to Maya’s Taqueria across the street from the 10th Ave MAX Station.
Who is Going to Love It
The 4T Trail is accessible for most people, though the hike up to Council Crest Park is fairly steep. Once at the top, everyone will enjoy taking a break and enjoying the city view. The rest of the trail is fairly easy, even downhill in some segments, so it is well worth it to see the city in a new and very unique way.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
For an adult ticket on the MAX, WES, and Streetcar, it is $2.50 for 2 hours or $5 for a 1-day pass. The Streetcar runs from 5:30AM to 11:30PM on weekdays, 7:30AM to 11:30PM on Saturday, and 7:30AM to 10:30PM on Sunday. The first train gets to Portland at 4:44 AM on weekdays and 4:45AM on weekends and the last train leaves Portland at 11:49 daily. The tram runs from 5:30AM to 9:30PM on the weekdays, 9AM to 5PM on Saturdays, and it is closed on Sunday.
Round trip fare for the tram is $4.35. The TriMet annual and monthly pass, the Portland Streetcar annual pass, C-TRAN annual and monthly pass, and March Wellness Member cards are all honored.