The 4T trail in Portland, Oregon

Recently when I was in Portland I signed up for a guided hike on the 4 T trail from the place I was staying, the Northwest Portland Hostel.

Great view of Mt Hood from the Council Crest Park

Worth the trip even if the guide was condescending

Only $5 for transportation and it was an interesting hike.  Our guide had us take the train to start at the Portland Zoo. The signs to follow the 4 T are just outside the Zoo entrance.

We moved across a couple of roads and into some woods. Our older male guide said to me “Honey, this is going to be a tough hike but you’re welcome to lead if you would like.” I didn’t bother telling him I came from Albuquerque at 5,000 feet and am an avid hiker. Although I shouldn’t have to, I’d never talk down to anyone else like that, why should he?

Anyway, I kind of broke the guide. I was halfway up the hill when I looked back and saw him, red-faced

and struggling to keep up with me, although the other members of the group weren’t too far behind. Hard, huh?

The 4T stands for Trail, Tram, Trolley, and Train  

From the Zoo, you’ll walk uphill to the top of Council Crest Park. During the hike through the parks, you can still hear traffic, but I was impressed with the amount of green space within the city. We did have to cross some streets, always following the signs for the 4T.

Blackberries on the trail – just a few were ripe

Almost to Crest Park, one of the New Zealanders in the group was blown away by the blackberries growing near the trail. From what I gather don’t expect any wild berries if you visit New Zealand.

On to the University Hospital

After taking in the view at Crest Park, we moved uphill toward the Oregon Health and Science University. On the way we stopped at the Marquam shelter so our guide could get a break and sit down.

Some of the clay leaves in process

While our guide kicked back with a carton of wine at 11 AM (at this point I figured I didn’t break the
guide, I think he was a little broken before today);  I was intrigued with a group of people gathered at tables and sanding.  Turns out this enterprising group is gathering volunteers to help decorate the small amphitheater here. They’ll create clay pieces, paint them, then attach them to the back of the benches. Those of you in Portland interested in helping can check out their website for updates.

At the University we side-stepped a scary looking patient searching for someone with cigarettes; stopped for coffee where the lady behind the counter was the first rude Oregonian that I had met (the rest of the group voiced this same opinion after we sat down); and

View from the University Hospital balcony

then we went outside to sit on a patio and take in the view.

A ride down

We took the tram down to the bottom then went around the corner to catch the trolley.  We took about 3 hours with all of our breaks to do the whole thing.


  • I didn’t see many public restrooms on this route, except at the hospital.
  • For detailed directions to the 4T, check out the 4T trail webpage.
  • I consider this a moderate hike as it does have a lot of uphill and it is a long day.  I do recommend it as it was a great way to see parts of the city you might not have seen yet.

More Hiking/Backpacking blogs 

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I’m a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I’m also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.

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