The 4T Trail – Urban Hiking At It’s Finest

14 07 2010

One of the dilemmas about hiking is that you usually have to get in the car and drive for hours to get to a neat place before you actually start hiking.  Luckily I’m in Portland, and although you can obviously drive as far as you’d like to get to tremendous trails, you can also choose to stay close if you want to, which I spoke about previously with Forest Park.  However, I found a hike that’s even closer, and in my opinion, much more interesting… the 4T Trail.

The 4 “T”s that you hike on are the trail, tram, trolley and train.  How cool is that?!

I decided to start with trail.  I parked at the zoo and then crossed over to the east side of 26 and found the marker to dive into the forest.  I should also say that the trail is very well marked, which is important because not only does it cross other trails in the forest, but more importantly it goes through random neighborhoods and through downtown.  Anyway…

Nature was the 1st part.

You go through nature but also walk under/past some very nice and cool looking homes, like the one below.

Metal and glass protruding into the trees.

The walking part is about 4 miles, and there’s a lot of up and down, nothing too difficult though.  Even on the forest part some of the “trail” is on the streets between the trails which really gives that urban hiking feel as you walk up a street lined with houses with your Camelback and Merrells on.  But then, out of nowhere the 1st part of your hike ends!… you’re tired and you look up, and boom, OHSU rises out of the forest like the monolith from 2001, or… something monolithic like that.

Monolithic structures rising from the forest floor!

Then you head to the tram which will take you down to the waterfront.  This is where the trail markers could use some help, however I got to know the hospital campus a lot better through my random meandering trying to find the tram.

Tram down from OHSU.

Downtown Portland, and the back of a bunch of chump's heads blocking my view!

Trolley time.

You take the trolley from the south of downtown to the center of it.  The beauty is, at this point, before finishing the the last T (train) you can just hang around downtown for as long as you like and taste the local flavor, get ice cream, buy some records, whatever! I got some ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s and then headed back to the zoo on the red line.

To the zoo!... and the end.

This was great fun, and there are very few cities (any others?) that can offer a trek like this.   Excellent hike!