PDX Runs: Marquam Nature Park
Marquam Nature Park in inner SW PDX has a variety of forested single-lane running paths. The area has a number of entry and exit points to start and stop, or to use these trails as one portion of a longer run.
For the most popular route in these parts, look at the Council Crest run. If you're looking for something a little quieter, both in terms of people and hills, try one of the many smaller trailheads in the Marquam Nature Park.
I started at Flicker trailhead, which has parking. It's near OHSU, about mid-elevation for the park. From Flicker, I picked up a map (most trailheads have a signpost and a small assortment of printed maps to borrow) and ran a small loop around the Flicker Trail/Marquam Trail. I split off at various trailheads for some short (half-mile or so) out-and-backs within the loop.
Here's a map updated in 2019 to help you follow along or plan your own journey:
You'll enjoy mostly gradual elevation gains in the peace and privacy and cool temps of lush tree cover.
The trails in Marquam Nature Park connect to some nice, popular running roads (Fairmount, Terwilliger) as well as the northern half of the park through the Upper Marquam Trail. Mix up the run to be part-trail, part-road by exiting at Warbler Trail and running down Fairmount to the Towhee trailhead.
All of the trail junctions in this area have a few parking spots along the side of the road (Towhee trailhead, Warbler Trail on Fairmount, and Marquam Trail on Terwilliger). Another option is to start from Duniway track. It's about 1.5 miles up(hill) to the Marquam Trail entrance from there.
To get to Flicker trailhead from downtown Portland take Terwilliger Boulevard south as if you're heading to OHSU. Turn right onto SW Homestead Drive (just past the entrance to the VA Hospital) and follow the road through a few turns: Homestead becomes Bancroft becomes SW 6th, which comes to a T at SW Gaines Street. Take a left on SW Gaines and you'll see the Flicker trailhead on the left after a few blocks.
You'll love this run for its:
- lack of crowds;
- beautiful tree cover;
- options to build a run or walk of any distance.
Julie Baker is a former collegiate swimmer who runs for the Portland Running Company Race Team. She lives in Portland with her husband and two small children. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.