The Ts stand for:
The 4T Trail makes a wonderful scenic loop all through Portland. About 6 miles of it is a hiking trail. There is a section on the MAX train, and another section on the Portland Trolley. Perhaps the most thrilling section is a ride on the aerial tram that goes from the Willamette River up to Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) hospital.
The great thing about the 4T Trail is that you can do it any time the public transportation and the tram are operating, and you can start at any point along the loop. Mark and I started at the bottom of the tram. Then we did our hiking, followed by a MAX train ride. Finally, we took the trolley back to the parking area at the base of the tram.
The entire trail is VERY well signed. At every intersection along the way, and at every place we might have thought it was an intersection (but it wasn't), there was a 4T marker to guide us. We didn't have any difficulty at all. We did print out the directions from one of the websites, and that was very helpful.
It took us about 4 1/2 hours to do the whole loop, but we had a couple of extra stops along the way, as you'll see in the photos below.
Boarding the aerial tram. Mark is ready for the adventure!
Looking up the wires. We're headed for that big building (OHSU) along the far skyline.
Looking out over the view of Portland.
There's OHSU above us - almost to our destination.
Heading for the terminal at the top.
Sunlight through cedar boughs
We stopped to catch our breath and enjoy a snack and some water.
The happy hikers, pretty green-gold autumn foliage
Fungus on the forest floor
A little street music...
An awe-inspiring view of the tram tower, just before we headed into the parking garage to retrieve the car.
If you go on this outing, here are a couple of tips to know about.
1. The tram costs $4 for a round-trip ticket. They sell the tickets at the bottom of the tram, and then when you get back on at the top (assuming you want to do the round trip), it's free. But if you're only going one way as part of the 4T Trail, and you want to ride the tram for free, then go counter-clockwise on the 4T Trail, so that you're going down on the tram.
2. For the hiking part, the section between the tram/OHSU and Council Crest is about 4 miles of uphill trail. From Council Crest to the zoo, it's about 2 miles downhill. Determine which direction you want to go based on whether you'd rather do more uphill or downhill hiking. Believe it or not, Mark and I prefer uphill hiking. It's so much easier on our knees than downhill! Even though we paid $4 each for the tram, we are really glad that we chose to go on the 4T Trail loop in a clockwise direction.