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The 4T Trail, in SW Portland, is a classic urban adventure in Portland.  Its a unique link up of trails, the OHSU tram, streetcar (formally a trolley), and the max (train).  Thus the name…  four modes of transport all starting with T.  The go-to resource for details on this trail already exists, so go check it out, here.  The goal of this post is to point out all the fun distractions/attractions to keep the little ones on their toes and engaged.  If you’re looking for an adventurous way to experience Portland, the 4T Trail is a must.
 
I recommend starting at Council Crest and hiking the 4T (Marquam) Trail to the OHSU Tram.  Reason being that if you start at Council Crest, you essentially break up the hike into two sections.  Thus reducing the chances of squawking due to it being too hard, too far, too hilly, etc.  I suggest the clockwise direction because the Tram ride is free going down.  Otherwise, its $4 a head to cruise up the tram.  That adds up quickly depending on group size.  
 
Starting at Council Crest, stand in the circular stone viewpoint and look toward Mt. Hood.  Start walking in that direction, which is also toward the dog park.  Look for the 4T trail sign and stay to the right, toward the Marquam Shelter and Terwilliger Trail once you find the trail.  The trail is excellent, and descends for the first mile toward the tram.  You do have to hike back up a significant drainage toward OHSU before getting back onto pavement.  Be prepped for that with some treats or other incentives.  There is a coffee stand at the upper tram dock if you forgot the treats!



There are some forks in the trail along the way.  Generally, just follow the 4T trail signs and rest assured that the network of trails all trend in the same direction… OHSU.
 
Make your way to the Tram once you’ve exited the trail and see the OHSU complex.  Its pretty easy to find.  The Tram runs every 6 min, Mon-Sat.  Its closed Sunday.



Once at the bottom of the tram, walk to the left of the OHSU building at the base and purchase Public Transit passes from the digital ticket station.  You can get away with 2.5 hr passes unless you plan other side trips.  
 
If the group needs some calories at this point, there is a pod of food carts, a Lovejoy Bakers (the monkey bread is a real crowd pleaser), Greenleaf Juicing Company, and Cha Cha Cha just north of the tram base.  Lots of options to boost blood sugar levels.
 
You’ll want to grab the streetcar toward the city, or North along SW Moody.  All Trolleys go in a continuous loop, so no worries if you get on going the wrong direction.  It turns around at the South end of SW Waterfront and heads North into downtown.  You’ll stay on the Streetcar into downtown and take the Central Library stop.  Its past the University district and Park Blocks.
 
Once you’ve exited the streetcar, continue North on SW 10th Ave to the MAX stop on SW Morrison.  There are lots of signs to keep you on the ’trail.'  At this stop, you can only board a west bound train.  Both Red and Blue lines get you to your destination, so hop the first one you can.  

There are lots of food options nearby and bathrooms in the Library.  
 
You’ll cruise the city for a bit before heading up toward the zoo via a long tunnel.  Keep this in mind if you have members that struggle with claustrophobia.  
 
Hop off at the Washington Park Zoo stop and make your way toward the elevator.  Once outside, make your way toward the zoo entrance.  Stay on the sidewalk and walk downhill toward HWY 26.  You’ll cross HWY 26 on the overpass sidewalk (super safe) and hang a left on the onramp heading toward downtown.  Be extra careful as cars accelerate in this zone as they approach the freeway… unless its all backed up.  
 
Safely cross the street and look for a prominent trail to your right that leads up the hill.  I’ve taken a less maintained trail, closer to the overpass, here and ended up bushwhacking my way out…  so make sure you take the proper trail.  Its well marked.
 
This trail gently winds around the west hills for about 1.5 mi before coming out on SW Patton Road.  Stay right at the road and use caution as there are not good sidewalks for next 1/2 mi or so before getting back onto paths in the Council Crest park area.  
 
At the intersection of Humphrey, Patton, and Talbot, turn left go uphill on Talbot. Continue on SW Talbot until you get to the intersection with SW Fairmount.  Head up the hill on the paved trail.  About 100 feet up the paved trail there is a dirt path with stairs to the left.  You can take this trail or stay on the paved trail as both work their way up to the Council Crest.


 
Congrats!  You did it.  Consider packing a cooler and some food to enjoy at Council Crest as you revel in your accomplishment and enjoy the views of the city and mountains in the distance.  Be sure to stand in the center of the stone viewpoint area to experience the echo effect.  This is also a great place to hang out on a blanket, throw the ball, or run off any remaining energy.  
 
NOTES:
- I find its always best to bring along little friends for the little ones.  It distracts them and nobody wants to be the first whiner.  My daughter was 9 when she did it with me, here.  She was a trooper but tired a bit toward the end of the second leg of the hike.  
- I suggest packing some snacks, treats and water.  If you’re not used to hiking, you might be surprised how tiring it can be.  Otherwise, look for food and beverage options at OHSU on the hill, South Waterfront or downtown.  
- Tram is closed Sunday.  Its always a good idea to check ahead of time to make sure the Tram is operating on its normal schedule.
- Pets are not allowed on the tram or public transit unless they are certified service dogs.  
- I’ve seen people on the trail year round, but the hiking trails get pretty muddy when its been raining.  Dress according to the weather.  
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