Hike #26: Marquam Park – Central

As the air begins to cool and leaves turn, we will return to Marquam Nature Park for this 4.6 mile loop.










Name:  Marquam Park Central
Neighborhood: Homestead
Distance: 4.68 miles
Difficulty: Hard
Elevation Change: 773 ft
Start/End Location: Marquam Shelter
Map Links: Mobile*  Browser

This 4.6 mile hike takes you through the most scenic parts of Marquam Nature Park along the Sunnyside, Broadway, Towhee, Connor, and Flicker trails.  Along the way, you will learn about development and natural history of the area. This route follows some of the same trails in hikes #11 and #19, but also takes you onto neighboring streets through the Homestead Neighborhood.

Begin at the Marquam Shelter. See Hike #19 for a description of the Marquam Mosaic. Signs say parking is limited to 2 hours. This is rarely enforced. Proceed up the hill on the trail to the left of the shelter directing you toward Council Crest. About 50ft feet up the trail, bear to the right on the Sunnyside Trail, a trail built by an AmeriCorps crew in about 1990. As it crosses over to the north (sunny) side of the historic Marquam Gulch, note that you are crossing over the underground culverted flow of what was originally called Caruther’s Creek. Caruthers Creek was once the source of early Portland’s fresh water supply, which was a primitive network of fir log pipes laid from Marquam Gulch to downtown Portland.  The creek is now underground within a sewer pipe that was constructed in 1912.  The large 30 inch diameter combined sewer pipe can be spotted in places above ground at the base of the gulch as you walk further uphill.

At about .4 mile you will pass the stairs to Broadway Trail on the right, which leads .2 mile up to Broadway Drive and a connection to Governors Park. For this hike though, continue uphill on the Sunnyside Trail until the next intersection with the Marquam Trail. Instead of going right toward Council Crest, you will turn left and head downhill again. After a few switchbacks you will reach the intersection with the Shadyside Trail, but you will continue straight on the Marquam Trail. The trail curves around into the southern ravine of the main part of the park. After about .5 mi, at the next intersection, make a sharp right uphill onto the Towhee Trail. This .6 mi trail used to be called the Upper Marquam Hill Trail, because it leads to the higher of the 2 crossings of Marquam Hill Rd. Now this trail is continuous with the newer Towhee Trail in South Marquam Park.

Towhee Trail will descend .5 mile to the Flicker Trail. At the sign, make a right on Flicker and continue for .6 mile, passing the Warbler Trail intersection and going downhill until the trail T’s into the Marquam Trail again. If you turned right here, you would reach Terwilliger Blvd in .2 mi for a connection to George Himes Park and Willamette Park. Instead, make a left and hike uphill on the Marquam Trail. In about .7 mile you will cross a small bridge and notice a much larger bridge uphill over the same creek. Just before the big bridge you will make a right toward SW 12th and Gaines. (This route doesn’t cross the bridge but you might take a moment to walk onto the bridge as it is the largest in the park and dedicated when the trail system here was finished in 2013.)

When you emerge from the park onto SW 12th you will need to walk on the street through the Homestead neighborhood for .3 mi to get back into the park. Turn right on SW Gaines, left on SW 11th, right on SW Gibbs and left on SW 9th, the street just after the Plaid Pantry parking lot. You will see a large sign at the end of the block identifying the Connor Trail. The Connor Trail was the dream of the late William Connor, MD, an OHSU physician and long-time Friends of Marquam Nature Park board member. Bill wished to have a trail for OHSU employees and guests to have a connection to the park and to get out in the woods. The trail was dedicated in 2007. Through easements, the trail traverses OHSU and some private property to be able to connect to the Basalt Trail below, just to the south of the Marquam Shelter. At the bottom of the Connor Trail, turn right and you will soon return to where you began.


*To follow this route, use the Explorer for ArcGIS App to follow along. Simply Download the Explorer for ArcGIS app and click here on any mobile device. The route is highlighted on an interactive map, to make it easy for you to follow along.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #swtrails for your very best pictures.

Happy Trails,



Hike #26 Elevation Diagram

Hike 26 Elevation Diagram

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