Running Routes: Downtown & the West Hills

Zoo Loop:


One of the staple routes for runners living in inner northwest Portland, this route is a mix of road and trail that showcases great views of the city from Council Crest and some steep climbing and descending on the Marquam Trail. A great run for visitors, it takes in some of our tourist attractions in Washington Park. Click here to read more. (Posted 12/04/14)

Leif Erikson Trail:


Starts at west end of NW Thurman Forest Park. Take the trail uphill…you can track your distance by noting the 1/4 mile marks (each 1/4 mile is marked). This is a wonderful place to escape the city, without actually leaving the city! Watch out for mountain bikers ripping around the corners, though.

Council Crest Loop (8.5 Miles):


Starts at Wallace Park — at NW 24th and Quimby in NW Portland. This is a very hilly and challenging run! Here are the directions:

  • Quimby to 23rd
  • Right on 23rd. Cross Burnside and go the hill
  • Straight on SW Vista
  • Right on Broadway
  • Left on Greenway
  • Left on Talbot
  • Left on Fairmount around until in intersects with Talbot
  • Right on Talbot
  • Under overpass and left on Talbot
  • Right on Greenway
  • Right on Patton
  • Left on Vista
  • Follow your way back to Wallace Park

Waterfront Run (2.5 miles)


This run is flat and scenic!

  • Start at Waterfront Park
  • Go north on the running path until the Steel Bridge
  • Cross over the Willamette
  • Follow the new Espanade to OMSI
  • Go up the stairs to the Hawthorne Bridge bike path
  • Cross over the Willamette
  • Take the offramp to Waterfront Park

Sellwood-Steel Bridge Loop (11 miles)


Here’s a fun waterfront run to do from Portland Running Company at 800 SE Grand Ave. in Portland. Click here to open a downloadable/printable guide with maps and directions. This run tours the Eastbank Esplanade, Oaks Bottom, the Springwater Corridor, Willamette Park, the south waterfront, and Tom McCall Waterfront Park.