Marquam Nature Park is the third largest park in Portland, comprising of over 200 acres of undeveloped forest land on the west side of town. The roots of the park were first planted in the 1970s when a group of neighbors purchased the land to prevent development. The land was later donated to the city and the park became official in 1983. There are over 7 miles of trails within the park, but the Flicker Trail Loop makes for a nice traverse of the largest area of the park.
There are several different areas you could begin your hike to complete the loop, but the easiest is probably at the head of the Marquam Trail along Terwilliger Blvd. There are several parking areas along the road near the trailhead to utilize.
Once on the trail, begin the slow climb up towards the loop as you wind your way through the dense forest canopy of Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red-cedar, and big leaf and vine maple. In less than a quarter mile, you will reach the intersection with the Flicker Trail. While you can go either way, I prefer to get my climbing done first, and since I am your guide, you will follow me. So head left and follow the flicker trail upward.
The trail climbs through the forest for about a quarter mile before leveling out and follows an old road. You will cross numerous footbridges over small streams and draws as you work your way around the loop. Ivy covered trees are a highlight along this stretch.
You will pass by several trail offshoots that will take you to different trailheads into the park. Just keep veering right and you will complete the loop. Just under a mile into your hike, you will cross over a large footbridge and reach a 4-way intersection. This marks the end of the Flicker trail, so take the right-most option once again and follow the Marquam Trail back towards the start. Head over a few more gullies and through some salmon berry thickets until you reach the first junction with the Flicker trail. This time, head left back to the Terwilliger trailhead to complete your hike. Nicely done, intrepid traveler.
I’m not going to guide you through all the streets of Portland. I’m sorry. You will have to learn to kind of read a map. The Terwilliger Trailhead is located on Terwilliger Boulevard, about a mile south of Campus Drive and OHSU or a mile north of the Capital Highway in Hillsdale. There you have it.
Dogs: Allowed and must be on leash.
Usage: Moderate to Heavy. This is in Portland, afterall
Open Season: Area is open year round, but can get pretty muddy in the winter and springs