Gwynns Falls Trail

Gwynns Falls Park, Maryland

Distance12.1mi
Elevation Gain69ft
Trailhead Elevation11ft
Top16ft
Elevation Min/Max4/16ft
Elevation Start/End11/11ft

Gwynns Falls Trail

Gwynns Falls Trail is a hiking and biking trail in Baltimore County and Baltimore, Maryland. It is within Reedbird Park, Carroll Park, Gwynns Falls Park, Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park, and Middle Branch Park. It is 12.1 miles long and begins at 11 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 1.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 69 feet. Lot H and other parkings, the Christ Spiritual Temple (elevation 23 feet) and Martini Lutheran Church (elevation 20 feet) places of worship, the 7-Eleven, Royal Farms, and U S Gas fuels, the Burger King fast food, the Blocking the Interstate and Gwynns Falls Trailhead information guideposts, the Baltimore City Fire Station 32 (elevation 30 feet) fire station, Barrister Charles Carroll Elementary School (elevation 33 feet), Daniel A Payne Public School (historical) (elevation 16 feet), Sharp-Leadenhall School (elevation 16 feet), Public School 126 (historical) (elevation 23 feet), and another school, the Maryland Science Center and Planetarium (elevation 10 feet) museum, the Baltimore Visitor Center bicycle rental, and the Otterbein Swim Club recreation ground are near the trailhead. There are also grasses and a waste basket. The Western Cemetery (elevation 167 feet) cemetery, Lot G, Lot J, Lot F, Greyhound Bus Terminal Parking, I-70 Park and Ride, and other parkings, the Christian Community Church of God (elevation 151 feet) place of worship, Exxon, BP, and another fuel, the MedStar Harbor Hospital hospital, the Rita's and Flying Fruit Fantasy ice creams, the Wheelabrator Incinerator chimney, the Inner Harbor Kiosk police, the Horseshoe parking, and the Greyhound Bus Terminal bus station can be seen along the trail. There are also bicycle parking, piers, a shelter, a fountain, a car wash, a post box, and a water along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Jastrow Levin Trail, Stream Trail, Dickeyville Trail, Franklintown Loop Trail, Old Spring Trail, Old Franklintown Loop Trail and Hutton Trail.

Gwynns Falls Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"While most of the 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail is as urban as
trails around Baltimore come, one section—from Leon Day
Park to Windsor Mill Road—will surprise you with a thick
tree canopy, river views, historical structures, and a variety of plant and animal species. The environment on the trail is a sharp contrast to the urban neighborhoods of west and
southwest Baltimore City that the trail connects."

"As urban as trails around Baltimore come, one section of the 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail—from Leon Day Park to Windsor Mill Road—will surprise you with thick tree canopy, river views, historical structures, and a variety of plant and animal species. The environment on the trail is a sharp contrast from the urban neighborhoods of west and southwest Baltimore city that the trail connects.

This linear greenway trail travels through west and southwest
Baltimore city along the Gwynns Falls stream valley, a continuous trail that connects thirty neighborhoods. The section of trail from Leon Day Park to Windsor Mill Road, the only gravel, nonpaved section, follows the route of an early 1800s millrace that carried water to power five mills. These mills turned Baltimore into one of the leading flour and textile producers in the nation."

"Captain John Smith, founder of the Jamestown colony in 1607, mapped the Gwynns Falls in 1608, though the Susquehannock and Algonquian Indians had been populating the area for centuries. Smith said the stream tumbled over “felles,” or falls, which explains the sometimes confusing local practice of naming streams and rivers “falls” (Jones Falls, Gunpowder Falls). The stream itself was named for Richard Gwynn, who established a trading post here in 1669. The Gwynns Falls, like the Jones Falls, hosted more and more industry over the coming centuries, serving as a natural location for grain mills and slaughterhouses, even while retaining the properties that made it a public recreation spot. In 1904, the famed landscape architects the Olmsted brothers laid out a series of parks and open spaces to be included in their plan for the Greater Baltimore Public Grounds. The modern Gwynns Falls Trail (GFT) resurrects much of that plan. The GFT is a 15-mile greenway snaking its way from and through West Baltimore to the south of the city. The trail has been designated as part of both the East Coast Greenway network of trails from Maine to Florida and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a system of “parks, refuges, museums, historic sites and water trails spanning the [Chesapeake Bay] watershed.” The trail has also become a focal point for city activities, wonderfully packed with hikes, art shows, and cultural festivities of all kinds. The northern reaches of the GFT are covered in this book in Walk 24: Dickeyville & Leakin Park; the southern portions are covered primarily in Walk 2: Gwynns Falls Trail II. This walk takes in the middle portions, running through historic West Baltimore neighborhoods and ending at Mount Clare Mansion, the city’s oldest Georgian colonial house."

"Follow the city’s newest greenway trail through West Baltimore. Bracketed by wooded and waterfront parks on both ends, the middle section is entirely urbanized, running through some of Baltimore’s less known and more interesting neighborhoods. John Smith mapped Gwynns Falls in 1608, but the Susquehannock and Algonquian Indians had lived nearby for centuries.

Smith said the stream tumbled over “felles,” or falls, which explains the sometimes confusing local practice of naming streams and rivers as “falls” (Jones Falls and Gunpowder Falls, for example). If you’re looking for actual waterfalls, you might be disappointed. The stream itself is named for Richard Gwinn, who established a trading post here in 1669."

"Westport and neighboring Cherry Hill often stick in the minds of many Baltimoreans as marginal neighborhoods, teetering on an abyss. Indeed, a stroll through the residential sections of these neighborhoods reveals a lot of abandoned houses. However, a $1.5-billion development package is in the works for waterfront Westport that promises to change the very face of this area in a major way. The aim is to capitalize on Westport’s location next to I-95 (easy access to D.C. and Maryland’s central corridor) and its proximity to downtown. If the plans are realized, Westport could soon be the sort of place that every Baltimorean knows in a way very different from now. We can hope that all the coming change and prosperity will spill over into Cherry Hill as well. This walk begins at the site of the coming caravanserai and traverses the Gwynns Falls Trail along the Patapsco River, taking in the views and the attributes that make the area so ripe for revitalization."

"Adjacent to and connected with Leakin Park, this section of the Gwynns Falls Trail runs through the largest unbroken urban forest in the United States. Follow the falls several miles through its most scenic sections to Leon Day Park and back. Walk away from Clifton Avenue and head straight into the woods.

Initially very tall oaks completely covered in kudzu flank the wide trail, but after 300 feet the trail turns to cedar chips; you’re now deep in the woods. Ignore the cut to the right and continue down the hill straight ahead until you can see Gwynns Falls; be careful—this downhill section of the trail is very rocky and it’s easy to trip and twist an ankle. When you reach the falls, head left and walk downstream."

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Trail Information

Gwynns Falls Park
Nearby City
Middle Branch Park
Parks
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
Skating, Birding
Additional Use
800 Wyman Park Dr., Ste. 010, Baltimore; (410) 448-5663; www.gwynnsfallstrail.org
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Nov 2018