Our eleventh hike will take you on a 500+ foot elevation change in Portland’s third largest park, and will also cross a hospital campus should you need medical help from all that climbing! Read on for more details:
Name: Marquam Hill Loop
Distance: 3.76 Miles (with an optional 1.57 Mile side trip)
Elevation Change: 512 ft
Start/End Location: Marquam Trail at Terwilliger Blvd
Map Links: Mobile Map*Browser Map
This route explores Marquam Nature Park, Portland’s third largest park. With over 200 acres of undeveloped land and over 7 miles of hiking trails Marquam Nature Park delivers an excellent escape from city life. This hike explores 4 miles of the Marquam, Flicker, and Warbler trails and crosses the OHSU Campus. Portions of this route make up the “Trail” section of the world-famous “4T trail”. Should you want a longer route to explore the park further, instructions for an alternative route are also included.
To begin, park near SW Hamilton and SW Terwilliger Blvd. Note that parking along Terwilliger is limited to 2 hours, if you anticipate taking longer, make alternative plans for arriving to the starting point (Tri-Met route #8 stops at Terwilliger and Hamilton with frequent service).
The hike begins at the Marquam Trailhead; heading uphill from Terwilliger, hike 0.2 miles until you intersect with the Flicker trail. Turn Left (uphill) onto the Flicker Trail, and hike for .3 miles to the Warbler Trail. Turn left again on the Warbler trail, and hike .4 miles to Fairmount Blvd. Turn right on Fairmount and hike for .4 miles to Marquam Hill road. Turn right (downhill) on Marquam Hill rd to the Towhee Trailhead. At this point you can choose how much of a challenge you wish to undertake. Instructions for an extended alternative route are included below.
Short Option (solid line on map):
From Marquam Hill Dr, turn right onto the Towhee trail and hike .5 miles downhill to the Flicker Trail. Turn left onto the Flicker Trail where you will soon pop out of Marquam Nature Park onto 12th Ave. Follow 12th Ave for roughly 100 yards before turning right onto SW Gaines. Walking along Gaines for just over two blocks, you will soon reach the OHSU school of nursing. Take the steep staircase adjacent to the Nursing School and descend to the main campus. At the bottom of the stairs, cross US Veterans Hospital Rd and follow the elevated walkway toward the OHSU Library. Along the south side of the OHSU Library is a staircase leading downhill to Campus Drive. Take this staircase to a series of trails that snake between hospital buildings and soon you will emerge at Campus Drive (this is also the route of SW Urban trail #1). Turn right at Campus Drive and follow it downhill to Terwilliger Blvd. Turn right on Terwilliger and follow it back to where you began.
Alternate Route (dashed line on map):
From Marquam Hill Rd, turn left on the Towhee trail following signs to the Marquam Shelter. This segment of trail descends a dizzying array of eight switchbacks to the Basalt Trail at the bottom of the canyon. Just before you reach the Marquam shelter you will intersect with the Connor trail that will take you back up. However, since you are in the area, It’s worth a short side trip to see the “Marquam Mosaic Project” at the Marquam Shelter. This massive undertaking of volunteer artists created a fascinating mosaic of native flora and fauna. The Connor trail will take you back up the hill to the northern end of the OHSU campus. From the top of the Connor trail follow the 4T signs along 9th ave. to Sam Jackson Park rd, where you will cross to the OHSU library and reconnect with the original route. Take the stairs behind the library that head down to Campus drive, to Terwilliger where you began. This alternate route will add an additional 1.6 miles and over 500 feet of elevation change (the lower elevation diagram shows the topography of the alternative route)
Please note: on this hike, leashed, and well-behaved dogs are ok, some trails are narrow and have 20% or steeper grades. Not suitable for baby carriages or wheelchairs. Cell phone connections are usually good but may be limited for some carriers in some location along the route. More information about the Marquam Nature Park can be found here. Directional signage is excellent in Marquam Nature Park thanks to volunteer efforts. The OHSU campus and the Aerial Tram are closed to the public during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
*To follow this route, use the Explorer for ArcGIS App to follow along. Simply Download the Explorer for ArcGIS app and touch here on any mobile device. The route is highlighted on an interactive map.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #swtrails to share your very best pictures.