Southwest Portland is known for its rolling hills and million-dollar homes overlooking the city, Willamette River, and the Cascade mountains. Everclear fantasized about living in Portland’s West Hills in the song “I Will Buy You a New Life.” In between these homes and hills are several parks with trails. Some parks have several miles of unpaved trails; some have a short trail down the middle.
Marquam Nature Park and Tryon Creek Nature Park have enough trails to get a 5-10 mile trail run. However, for longer runs, community group SW Trails PDX has several routes that connect the parks of SW Portland. More than 500 brown and white signs designate seven different hiking routes that follow neighborhood roads, bike paths, and park trails. Trails 1-5 are East-West, and Trails 6 and 7 run North-South and cross trails 1-5. Trail 2 is the Red Electric Line, which is currently under construction. This trail follows an old rail system that Southern Pacific operated called “Red Electric” and will run 15 miles from the Willamette River to the Tualatin River.
Another trail in the works is the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Trail. SW Trails PDX has a team of volunteers petitioning the Oregon Department of Transportation for a grant to help build two new trail sections along Arnold Creek and Owl Creek west of that new Boones Ferry Road bridge between Marshall and Tryon Creek Nature Park. Hikers will have access to those trails from a pedestrian path under the bridge. Blazing those two trails would mean hikers could make it through the stretch between Taylors Ferry Road and Boones Ferry Road without ever leaving Marshall Park.
The Marquam Trail is the main artery through SW Portland. It starts near the southern end of the Wildwood Trail near the zoo and runs through Council Crest Park and Marquam Nature Park to Terwilliger Blvd. Some connections eventually find the Willamette River.
SW Portland Trail Runs
SW Portland Adventure Run– This run 14.5-mile run uses Tryon Creek, George Himes Park, Marshall Park, Burlingame Park, Willamette Park, Riverview Natural Area, and the SW Trails PDX routes.
Pill Hill Pavement Pounder Nasty – This half road- half trail route uses Marquam Nature Park, George Himes Park trails, and the infamous College Street hill. Run this on a clear day for views of the Cascades and the Coastal Mountains.
Marquam and Council Crest Loop– A challenging 7-mile route using Marquam Nature Park’s trails and Council Crest Park.
Tryon Creek– Over eight miles of trails in Tryon Creek State Natural Area that cross several bridges and climb up and down plenty of gullies to give the calves and quads a tough fitness test.
SW Portland Trail Races
Marquam Nature Park has hosted trail races in the past, but there are currently no trail races in SW Portland.
SW Portland Trail Running Groups
Northwest Dirt Churners is now hosting a Thursday night group run/hike from Marquam Shelter at 6:15 for all paces. Groups are separated into three distances for the Marquam and Council Crest Loop. All groups follow Sunnyside and Marquam Trails up to Council Crest Park. Churners continue to the seven-mile loop. Trail Snails will make the six-mile loop; with the Flicker Trail cutoff, hikers use the Shadyside Trail for a four-mile route. All groups end around 7:45 and are welcome to meet at Lucky Lab in Multnomah after the workout for refreshments.
Northwest Trail Runners meets for weekly trail runs in the Portland metro area, and adventure runs in the Columbia Gorge and the Cascade Mountains on the weekend.
Portland has no shortage of coffee houses, so drive a few blocks, and, likely, a Starbucks, Peets, Dutch Bros., or any other chain will be found. For a few local shops, check out:
Fehrenbacher Hof in the Goose Hollow neighborhood next to the Goose Hollow is the classic coffee house that serves local Coava Coffee Roasters plus pastries plus specialty eggs and corned beef.
The Pill Hill Pavement Nasty runs right by JoLa Cafe on S. Corbett near George Himes Trail’s bottom. Jola serves coffee and baked goods in a friendly neighborhood environment.
Pájaro is a vegan and organic coffee shop located in the South Waterfront Park area.
Those who prefer carts and college students, stop by Ole Latte Coffee at 510 SW Harrison on the Portland State Campus.
Maplewood Coffee and Tea has been located in SW Portland near Gabriel Park since 1911. This cafe serves coffee with breakfast and lunch menus.
Driftwood Coffee is a cozy little coffee shop also located near Gabriel Park.
Lucky Labrador Public House in Multnomah is a great place for a pizza slice, side salad, and a Superdog IPA. Sit inside the public house seating or on the picnic tables outside. Lucky Lab supports many trail and bike races in the Portland metro area.
Just down the street from Lucky Lab is Level Beer’s new location with a taproom and outdoor seating catered by a food cart.
Sasquatch Brewing in Hillsdale serves its beers and ciders in a cozy restaurant setting and now has COVID outdoor seating.