Many areas in Portland have the name Marquam connected to them. Marquam Bridge, Marquam Hill, Marquam Gulch are all named after Phillip Marquam, one of Portland’s earliest settlers who owned all of the lands that are now the OHSU campus and its surrounding area.
In 1968, neighbors wanted to stop developing a 600 unit apartment complex of the Marquam Ravine. The ravine expands from the top of Council Crest to downtown Portland. Marquam Trail in the ravine had been a place to explore for kids in the area to explore, and the neighborhood wanted to keep it that way. Spearheaded by Barbara Walker (yes, the woman whom the bridge is named after) and these neighbors formed Friends of Marquam Park in 1974. By 1983, enough funds had been raised from neighbors, businesses, land donations, and grants to dedicate Marquam Nature Park.
Forest Park gets most of the attention for tree-lined terrain, but with its seven miles of trails, Marquam can be accessed from the OHSU campus, and just a short distance from Portland State University and downtown Portland is a prime area to get some trail runs. The Marquam Trail runs starts at the Zoo and over to Council Crest through the Portland Heights neighborhood. Then the trails run through Marquam Nature Park to Terwilliger Blvd. Several other trails connected to Marquam Trail go up and down the ravine, making a challenging run or hike through large fir and cedars and oak and maple trees hidden beneath them. Wooden bridges cross the streams flowing into the ravine as the trails switch back from one side of the ravine to the other.
A fun and demanding 7.17-mile loop with 1700′ of elevation gain starts from the Marquam Shelter near Sam Jackson Parkway and Terwilliger Blvd that uses most of the park’s trails. There are options to cut the loop short to four and six miles. Take the Sunnyside Trail from the Shelter and ascend all the way to Council Crest past the Broadway Trail. At the Marquam Trail junction, continue climbing on Marquam Trail across three streets. Look for the water tank at Council Crest and enjoy the views from the center of the park. Follow the road for a bit to the Trolley Trail and head down the stairs and follow the trail to rejoin the Marquam Trail. Head up the Marquam Trail toward Council Crest again but stay on the trail back down through the neighborhoods.
At the Sunnyside and Marquam junction, stay right on Marquam shortly after is the Shadyside Trail, where those wanting four miles would take this trail back to the Marquam Shelter. Continue on Marquam for a half-mile to the Towhee Trail. Stay right on Towhee for 1.1 miles over Marquam Hill Road and to the Flicker Trail. Take the bridge to the left to cut the route short for a six-mile loop. Otherwise, stay right on Flicker for three-quarters of a mile past the Warbler Trail and reconnect to the Marquam Trail. Turn left on Marquam for .7 miles back to the Flicker Trail junction (the location of the six-mile cutoff.) Continue on Marquam up to Marquam Hill Road. The trail runs along the road’s left side for a bit and continues down several switchbacks into the park. At the bottom of the hill is the rocky double-track Basalt Trail that leads back to the Marquam Shelter finish.
Marquam Nature Park has monthly work parties. Sign up for an event on the Friends of Marquam Nature Park website.