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Trek Portland’s 4T Trail

Explore the city by three different forms of public transportation — plus your feet.

A silver aerial tram car heads uphill with skyscrapers and Mount Hood in the background.

Feeling adventurous? Explore the 4T Trail — named for the modes of transportation you’ll take (trolley, train, trail, and tram).

Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday

Table of Contents

There are only four words to describe the 4T Trail — tranquil, thrilling, triumphant, and terrific.

Well, we suppose trolley, train, trail and tram would work too, since those are the modes of transportation you take on this unique circuit around Portland.

Since its official ribbon-cutting in 2009, traversing the 4T has been a bucket list achievement for local hikers — one worthy of souvenir patches.

Before you go

You can start your adventure anywhere on the loop and travel in either direction. Allow three to five hours for the trip, depending on your pace, coffee breaks, and the public transportation schedule. Bathrooms and drinking fountains are located at various points along the way, and parking fees will vary depending on where you start. And as always, dress for the weather.

Trolley

Head to the South Waterfront’s OHSU Plaza streetcar station, purchase a $5 TriMet day pass, and catch the North/South Line to ride into downtown. Hop off at the Central Library station and walk one block to the Galleria/Southwest 10th Avenue MAX Light Rail station.

Train

From there, take either the Red or Blue line west to Washington Park, which happens to be the deepest transit station in the western hemisphere at 260 ft below the surface. Don’t worry about your legs — there’s an elevator.

A sign with a map of Portland's 4T trail.

Signs with the signature red-yellow-green-blue icon will be your friend on the hike.

Trail

From the Oregon Zoo, you can walk over US Route 26 to get on the Marquam Trail, which climbs up through woods and neighborhoods to reach Council Crest Park, the highest point in the city. From there, it’s literally all downhill, as the path winds to Oregon Health & Science University. Follow the 4T signs — routes can vary from 3.95 to 4.5 miles.

Tram

There are no one-way tickets available here, so a ride will cost you $5.65, but the phenomenal vista of Mount Hood is your reward. Make sure to check the operating hours (it’s closed Sundays).

At the end, odds are you’ll be tired with a capital T.

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