New Trails in South Marquam
Portland Parks & Recreation is moving forward with the South Marquam Soft Surface Trails Project, but is now scheduling construction to begin in Spring of 2013. An update is now on the project website, available by clicking here: http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/index.cfm?c=54709
TRAIL CLOSURE: A portion of the Marquam Trail and the 40 Mile Loop that passes through George Himes Park has been closed during the construction of the I-5 Iowa St Viaduct. See "News" page map for detours.
The north end of Marquam Trail begins where it leaves the Wildwood Trail on the hill above and northwest of the Vietnam Memorial. It heads south, circling above and to the west of the Forestry Center. The route is not always clear as the trail meanders across small open meadows. It drops down a steep slope into the woods at the rear of the Children's Museum and comes out of the woods near the north end of the overpass at the freeway ramps.
Cross the overpass to the top of eastbound on-ramp of Sunset Highway. The trail follows a narrow paved sidewalk past the bus stop and down the freeway on-ramp. Halfway down the ramp it ducks to the right into the woods and begins a steep climb up the hill. After .75 mi. the trail reaches Patton Rd. about 100 ft. east of the intersection with Humphrey Blvd. (Talbot Rd. to the south.) Turn right (uphill) to reach the intersection.
Turn left at the blinking light, pass the gas station, and stay on the shoulder, following Talbot to the edge of Council Crest Park. Pedestrians should stay close to the edge of the road: The curve is blind, traffic is fast, and the street is narrow. At the intersection of Fairmount Blvd. and Council Crest Park pedestrians must cross over Fairmount and proceed between the wooden posts and up the hill on the paved trail. Look for the historical plaque on the left identifying the old Council Crest Trolley stop. Marquam Trail is well marked just ahead. It turns to the left, up the stairs, and circles around and under the summit. The paved path on the old road straight ahead goes directly to the summit.
Continue on Marquam Trail for about .25 mile, to the next signpost. A short uphill climb to the right also brings you to the summit of Council Crest. Excellent views, parking, trash receptacles, and water are available.
From the summit descend eastward (toward Mt. Hood) and look for the Marquam Trail sign. Enter the woods to your left where you will see a directional sign. Turn right to continue down toward the Marquam Nature Park shelter. The shelter is 740' lower than this point.
Cross Greenway and enter the woods again. From here the trail runs gently downhill to the next street crossing at Fairmount Blvd. Fairmount is a favorite loop route of runners and bikers. The Marquam Trail descends sharply into a heavily wooded ravine. A hiker can find solitude here in the midst of an urban neighborhood.
Sherwood Dr. is the next street crossing. The trail east (down) from here is especially wilderness-like, but after the first few switchbacks is reasonably gentle. Soon the trail divides. From here the shelter is .6 mile by either route. The Sunnyside Trail branches left to the north (sunny!) side of the ravine. It intersects with the Broadway Drive Trail as it descends to the shelter. The Marquam Trail continues to the right along the south side of the ravine. At the next intersection the Marquam Trail continues to follow the ravine toward the south. The Shelter Trail drops .4 miles to Marquam Shelter and parking lot.
Approaching the shelter from the parking lot, turn to the left and proceed straight on to the Shelter Trail following the sign toward Terwilliger Trail. The trail follows a steep old road, now used as a maintenance road for a buried sewer line. After climbing .3 miles the Shelter Trail connects to the Marquam Trail and the 40 Mile Loop. Continue straight on the Marquam Trail. (Marquam Trail also goes to the right, up the stairs, circling around and above the shelter and continuing up to Council Crest.)
The trail ahead is very steep with many switchbacks before reaching Marquam Hill Road. At the metal barrier along the road, proceed uphill past the water tank about 100 yards. The trail continues on the other side of the road where it drops down into the woods toward the east. Terwilliger Blvd. is 1.1 mile below.
Cross the road and turn right onto the Terwilliger Trail (paved path.) This stretch of the trail follows Terwilliger Blvd. to a small grassy area just past Capitol Hwy. Enter the woods on the trail at left. The trail is steep at first and often muddy. A trail intersection is located part way down. The route bears left and crosses a gully via wooden steps. The trail to the right returns up to Terwilliger at Nebraska, the main entry to George Himes Park. The route down passes under Barbur Blvd. and I-5 bridges and drops over several series of wooden steps to Viewpoint Terrace. Follow Iowa, then Virginia and Nebraska to Willamette Park.
(A self-guided tour brochure is available in the shelter.)
Approaching the shelter from the parking lot, turn to the left and proceed straight on to the Shelter Trail following the sign toward Terwilliger Trail. The trail follows a steep old road, now used as a maintenance road for a buried sewer line. After climbing .3 miles the Shelter Trail connects to the Marquam Trail and the 40 Mile Loop. Turn to the right up the stairs. (Marquam Trail also goes straight, up and over Marquam Hill and down to Terwilliger.)
The next intersection is with Upper Marquam Hill Trail which leaves the trail on the left and ascends for .6 mile to Marquam Hill Rd. This is a lovely, quiet, little used section of trail.
The Marquam Trail and Nature Park Loop continue straight, around the ridge and above the shelter. After winding around and climbing slightly, the trail divides. Marquam Trail continues to Council Crest. The Shelter Trail/Nature Park Loop descend .4 miles back to the Marquam Shelter and parking lot.