Good Fortune on the 4T Trail


“I’m pretty sure this is a bad idea, but I think we should do it anyways.”

This is a phrase I utter (too?) often. Like last week when my brother was visiting. The weather was meh, but we had a day of no plans whatsoever. He’s the perfect partner for all things adventure, so I suggested we take the Bodenettes on the 4T Trail in Portland.

Here’s the deal… The 4T Trail is a loop through the west side of Portland via the trail, tram, trolly and trail. 4T! It’s a fun way to explore on foot and experience the public transportation options throughout the city. The trail portion is about 4.5 – 5 miles, depending on your precise route. And usually if you mention hiking 5 miles with young children my immediate response would be, “Bad idea jeans.” But, I guess I was feeling optimistic and willing to take the risk. And thankfully, so was Uncle Dustin. It turned out to be a great time and a fun way to explore a few places we’d never been to.

It took us a solid 5 hours to complete the trek and we had a load of fun. We hit all 4T’s and didn’t even need to add a “U” (Uber, which was my ripcord if the 5 mile hike turned sour.) We don’t normally hike more than 3 miles with the kids, so this distance had me skeptical. But, we faired well! No crying. No whining. No carrying. Shit ton of snacking.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Saved the trail details and map to my phone. This was our guide.4t trail map
  2. Parked at the Sunset Transit Center and bought a day transit pass ($5 for adults, free for kids). Parking is free at the Max Station here, so we opted to do that instead of parking at the Zoo and paying.
  3. Took the blue train to Washington Park/The Zoo and followed the 4T signs to the Marquam Trail. We hiked on that trail (uphill) all the way to Council Crest Park before taking a rest. It was a good stopping point for a snack and piano.
  4. We continued on the trail, following the 4T signs, until we came to OHSU. And then we searched around for the tram, which we had to ask directions too. We didn’t see any 4T trail markers on the OHSU campus.
  5. We hopped on the Tram down to the waterfront. All four of us agreed that this was the highlight – maybe because it marked the end of the hiking portion. Yeah, that was definitely the reason. Because the actual tram itself was a bit of a cramped and sweaty situation.
  6. We followed the 4T marker to the Trolly (aka Portland Streetcar), which was just a few feet away. The highlight of this portion of the journey was my youngest loudly (and accurately) pointing out that the crazy drunk man sitting across from us had a “very bad attitude”. We grabbed a trolly ride to 10th and Lovejoy where we enjoyed a super late (and much deserved) lunch at Laughing Planet.
  7. Then we hopped back on the trolly headed downtown and got off at 10th and Yamhill. We then waited for the westbound train back to the Sunset Transit Center.
  8. We arrived back at the Sunset Transit Center and hopped in the car and headed home to straight chill.

A few words to the wise:

  • The trek took about 5 hours, including our lunch stop.
  • The hiking portion took us nearly 3 hours, but included lots of stops, breaks, motivational speeches, bribery, etc.
  • Pack snacks and water, of course
  • Remember, if you get stuck, there’s always Uber. No shame in that game.

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  • Reply
    07/25/2016 at 12:23 pm

    Fun adventure! So impressed the girls did a 5-mile, 5-hour hike. Way to go to get out there and take advantage of all that your city has to offer.

    • Reply
      07/27/2016 at 10:36 pm

      I was impressed too! The hike was 5 miles, but the whole trek w public transport was 5hrs. Hike took us just under 3hrs.

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