The Gwynns Falls Trail is a 15-mile linear greenway trail connecting over 30 unique neighborhoods and nearly 2000 scenic acres of parkland located in west and southwest Baltimore City to the Inner Harbor and Middle Branch Park. The Trail goes from the eastern terminus of Interstate 70 on the western edge of Baltimore City. The Trail is a great destination providing public access to many recreational, educational, and cultural resources and historic sites.
The Trail is available for hiking, biking, running, walking, and skating as well as for fishing, boating, picnicking, enjoying nature and learning about the history of the stream valley greenway. The Trail is Baltimore 's Gateway to the Chesapeake Bay that joins one of the largest urban wilderness parks remaining on the East Coast - Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park - with the Inner Harbor and the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River , a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. The Trail is also designated as part of the East Coast Greenway. The Trail has nine Trailheads with available parking that provide access points from major roadways.
Visit the Gwynns Falls Trail and see the 35 new interpretative wayside panels funded in part by the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. The panels highlight the stream valley greenway's cultural history, which includes an old mill race pathway, carriage driveway, Colonial and nineteenth century mansions and estates, ruins of old mills, a mock fort, a waterwheel, a restored pedestrian arch under the oldest continuously used railroad bridge in the United States, and much more. Read more details in a new book titled "The Gwynns Falls - Baltimore Greenway to the Chesapeake Bay".
The Trail and associated city parks are open during daylight hours year round.
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
There are no fees for using the Trail or city parks; permit is required for use of pavilions.
Guide to Points of Interest from Trailheads:
Trailhead 1 - Gwynns Falls Park at I-70 / Franklintown, Park & Ride at Security Boulevard 21207: Start at the I-70 Park & Ride and proceed on Trail (temporary road side) along historic Franklin Turnpike through Franklintown Historic District. Enter Leakin Park to view Dead Run and upland Piedmont forest with tree species such as tulip poplar, red oak, sycamore, beech and see the historic waterwheel which pumped water uphill to the Crimea Estate in Leakin Park. (1.6 miles / 2.6 km)
Trailhead 2 -- Leakin Park at Winans Meadow, 4500 North Franklintown Road 21229: View open meadow, wetland, stream, and Piedmont forest. Use side trails for hiking, picnicking, and visit nearby Trail Headquarters, Carrie Murray Nature Center, Miniature Railroad, and Russian-style Crimea Estate on top of ridge. Travel Trail on former Wetheredsville Road to view Dead Run as it feeds into Gwynns Falls. Leakin Park is part of the Crimea Estate established in 1856 by industrialist Thomas Winans and purchased by Baltimore City in the 1940s with bequest from attorney John Wilson Leakin. (1.1 miles / 1.8 km)
Trailhead 3 -- Gwynns Falls at Windsor Mill Road , 4300 block Windsor Mill Road 21207: Travel north to Dickeyville Historic District or west across bridge and hike on Windsor Hills Conservation Trail to see historic mill site, or proceed south on Trail with stone surface above an old mill race through Piedmont forest for views of the Gwynns Falls. (2 miles / 3.2 km)
Trailhead 4 -- Leon Day Park at Franklintown Road, 1200 block North Franklintown Road 21216: View meadows with playground, sports courts, playfields, and picnicking near Gwynns Falls. Park honors Leon Day, west Baltimore resident and Negro League player elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Nearby are historic sites of five flour mills at Calverton and the gateway to the greater Rosemont neighborhood. Travel south on Ellicott Driveway (another former mill race) to view bridge crossings and waterfall described as Baltimore’s “Niagara Falls " as you enter the Chesapeake Coastal Plain with tree species such as sweet gum, red maple, and hickey. (1.8 miles / 2.9 km)
Trailhead 5 -- Gwynns Falls Park at Frederick Avenue, 2700 block Frederick Avenue 21223: At this narrow point, the Baltimore and Frederick Turnpike crossed the Gwynns Falls connecting Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to the National Road at Cumberland, gateway to the Ohio Valley. Proceed north along former mill race constructed for Ellicott Brothers' three flour mills and in 1917 rebuilt as Ellicott Driveway as envisioned by the Olmsted Brothers in a 1904 park plan. Travel south passing historic German butcher, leather and broom works, and brewing businesses on ridge above Trail along Franklintown Road. View Western Maryland Railroad built in early 1900s as a link to former Union Stockyards and the Port of Baltimore and further on to stream crossing used by Native Americans, site of Richard Gwinn's trading post in 1669, and nearby former William Wilkens Curled Hair Factory built in 1845 along Wilkens Avenue. (1.3 miles / 2.1 km)
Trailhead 6 -- Carroll Park at the Golf Course, 2100 Washington Boulevard 21230: Travel north along former cattle and wagon pass through the Carrollton Viaduct spanning the Gwynns Falls, built in 1829 as the first stone bridge of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Proceed east, passing the recently renovated Montgomery Park Business Center (former Montgomery Ward Distribution Center) to Carroll Park with sports courts, skating park, playfields, picnicking, and Mount Clare Mansion, built in 1760 by Charles Carroll, Barrister. The B&O Railroad Museum is a short distance from the Trail. Restrooms and food available at the Carroll Park Golf Public Course at Club House. (2.8 miles / 4.5 km)
Trailhead 7 -- Inner Harbor at the Baltimore Visitor Center, 410 Light Street 21202: Collect information at the Visitors Center about the Trail, Baltimore Harbor, and the Chesapeake Bay . Visit the Harbor attractions and proceed west through historic neighborhoods such as Federal Hill, Otterbein, and Sharp-Leadenhall, home to Baltimore's second oldest African American congregation, and pass by Federal Hill Park and through Solo Gibbs Park near the Stadium area. (6.2 miles / 10 km)
Trailhead 8 -- Middle Branch Park at Waterview Avenue, 3301 Waterview Avenue 21230: See estuary wildlife from observation boardwalk and Baltimore Rowing Club with picnicking, boating, fishing, open fields, and views of city skyline at the gateway to the Gwynns Falls flowing east to the Middle Branch of the Pataspco River. Proceed south under bridge passing by the Maryland Vietnam Veterans Memorial, boat launch and fishing piers. (1 mile / 1.6 km)
Trailhead 9 -- Middle Branch Park at Hanover Street, 3200 block South Hanover Street 21225: See harbor views and use fishing piers and nearby Cherry Hill Aquatics Center. Cherry Hill was first noted by Captain John Smith in 1608 for its red clay and later developed as an African American planned community during WWII. Future plans call for the connecting Gwynns Falls Trail south to the BWI and B&A Trail as part of the East Coast Greenway.
Winans Meadow Trailhead #2: includes a new 300-person picnic pavilion, amphitheater, restrooms, and nearby Carrie Murray Nature Center.
Leon Day Park Trailhead #4: includes new facilities for active recreation, picnicking, and restrooms.
Carroll Park Trailhead #6: includes golf course and clubhouse, restrooms, sports courts, skating park, playfields, picnicking, historic Mount Clare Mansion, and nearby the B&O Railroad Museum.
Inner Harbor Trailhead #7: includes Baltimore Visitors Center, Science Center, National Aquarium, Maritime Museum, USS Constellation, Baltimore Waterfront Promenade, food, shops, and restrooms.
Middle Branch Trailhead #8: including estuary wildlife observation boardwalk. Baltimore Rowing Club, picnicking, boating, water trail, fishing, open fields, restroom, and views of city skyline.