The 4T Trail: Portland's Train, Trail, Tram and Trolley Experience


This adventure puts you on your feet, in a train, up in the air, and lastly, on a streetcar, to cover just about every transportation mode. Ride your bike to your nearest MAX station at the start of the adventure to make it a B and 4T!

The Portland Aerial Tram, the most spectacular portion of this Intertwine experience, travels 3,300 linear feet from the ninth floor of the Kohler Pavilion at Oregon Health and Science University's main campus down to the university's Center for Health and Healing at South Waterfront. The three-minute trip travels up to 500 feet above the Lair Hill neighborhood and I-5. Check the tram's website for hours of operation.

For the ultimate Portland multi-modal excursion, buy an all day TriMet ticket; hop on your nearest MAX line and ride to the Washington Park/Zoo exit. Take the elevator 260 feet to the surface and turn toward the Zoo to begin the first leg of the 4T: a moderately strenuous walk on trails. (Bathrooms are at the Zoo; the next ones are at OHSU.) From the Zoo, follow 4T signs and hike downhill until you cross Highway 26 on an overpass, then proceed east to where the Marquam Trail enters the woods. Hike uphill to SW Patton; continue on city streets, following 4T signs, to where the Marquam Trail enters Council Crest Park. Follow an asphalt trail to the city's highest point, Council Crest, at 1,073 feet.

Next proceed downhill, crossing Greenway to Fairmount, where you will have to decide if you want to take the 1.25-hour peaceful but challenging forest trail: 2.2 miles, 300 feet up and 700 down; or the 0.5-hour urban shortcut: 1.6 miles on city streets without sidewalks, 0 feet up and 400 feet down. Once at the OHSU campus, follow 4T signs along the sidewalk, continuing downhill to the tram entrance. Bathrooms are at the east end of the Kohler Pavilion at the tram. Seniors reportedly get a great price at the coffee bar. There is no charge for riding the tram down, but one must buy a round trip ticket to ride up.

On the peaceful, quiet tram ride over houses of Lair Hill, Cascade peaks almost speak to you if the day is clear, and the city lies below. When you land at Gibbs and Bond streets, get on the trolley (Portland Streetcar). One is usually waiting. Take it back to the MAX or your bus line. You will need your all day TriMet ticket for the trolley, as TriMet's Free Rail Zone (formerly Fareless Square) does not begin until a couple of stops toward downtown.

Near the Central Library, at 810 SW 10th Avenue, disembark from the trolley; here you'll find many restaurants. 

Dogs are not allowed on the train, trolley or tram unless they are service dogs.

Editor's note: 

Check out the 4T website for more tips on doing the trek.

4T website

Read about Don Baack and the group that created the 4T, SWTrails, in this interesting article from Portland Monthly.

The Max
Mt Saint Helens
The Tram
The Trolley
The trail map


Submitted by Michael D. Barton (not verified) on

This last Friday (Feb 3, 2011) was beautiful, and as I had the day off of work since my son did not have school, we decided to get outside. We did the 4T Trail, but instead of taking the streetcar from South Waterfront into downtown, we walked along the Willamette River til about Hawthorne Blvd., then cut in to attend the Intertwine Alliance Summit before hopping on a bus to get home.

I posted photos on Flickr

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