Yesterday I met up with fellow Portland Trail Runners member, Stefani, for a run on the Marquam Trail. Neither of us have ever been on this trail even though she's been in Portland much of her life.
It starts off Terwilliger Blvd, nearly a stones throw away from Downtown Portland and right next to OHSU (Oregon Health Sciences University). This section of Terwilliger Blvd is tree-lined and curvy. It sort of reminded me of River Road in MN along the Mississippi river but without the river (well, the Willamette River is about a quarter mile away but mostly obscured by trees).
I stopped by a bathroom before our run and ran into some hikers who sort of confirmed what I thought - it was a tough climb to Council Crest Park (the highest point in Portland).
The trailhead sign shows that Council Crest Park is 3.2 miles from the start of the trailhead and if you keep going another 1.8 miles you will be on the famous Wildwood Trail that snakes through Washington & Forest Parks.
We started off on the first uphill mile and it wasn't too bad. We ran most of this first mile, albeit slowly. There were other hikers and some runners as well. After the first mile the trail drops for about a half a mile for a winding ride back down. The trail all along is gorgeous and hard to believe that it's so close to the city. The traffic noise was barely audible on most sections. There's no respite from 1.5 onward as we climbed pretty continually until mile 3.2 and Council Crest Park. Surprisingly we both though the climb was not horrible. It was never too steep and the switchbacks and couple road crossings really helped break up the run. The view from the top of Council Crest Park is nothing short of Amazing and you can see 4 volcanos up there including Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt St. Heles and Mt. Rainier.
We enjoyed the run back down except for that last climb around mile 5.5. It was such a wonderful run that it may be my new favorite. I will be back again and again. It's also a great training run with the first half being pretty much all uphill. I'm looking forward to connecting this run together with a venture onto Wildwood and into Washington Park for some extended runs.