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The Gwynns Falls Trail is a nearly 19-mile continuous corridor that winds through dozens of west and southwest Baltimore neighborhoods, parks, and historical and cultural landmarks and the urban business district. It takes a circuitous route through Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park and southeast to downtown and includes side spurs into adjacent parks and a connection to the Jones Falls Trail at Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor. Along the trail are interpretive signs providing opportunities to learn about this impressive valley’s historical significance to Baltimore and the nation.
Winding through Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park—the largest urban forest east of the Mississippi—to the Middle Branch Patapsco River and the Inner Harbor, the Gwynns Falls Trail serves as a key connector for more than 2,000 acres of publicly owned land and 10 miles of additional hiking trails.
The trail is also a major segment of the developing Baltimore Greenway Trails Network, a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy TrailNation project to create a 35-mile network of trails that will connect more than 75 neighborhoods in Baltimore City.
Although the trail can be accessed from dozens of points along the route, its main access points include the I-70 Park & Ride, Winans Meadow, the Inner Harbor at Light Street, and Middle Branch Park. Starting at the eastern endpoints makes for a moderately uphill trek west.
A good place to start your journey is the I-70 Park & Ride, located adjacent to the northwest section of Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. From here, the trail heads east alongside Franklin Town Road and through mature forest to Winans Meadow, a popular section of the park with excellent opportunities for bird-watching, turtle-spotting, and historical exploration. This includes remnants of the 19th-century Crimea Estate, which has a preserved waterwheel and root cellar. The Winans Meadow trailhead offers parking, restrooms, a picnic pavilion, and drinking water.
From Winans Meadow, you’ll continue eastward on a pleasant, level trail. You’ll then turn north through mature forest toward the mill race sec-tion of the route, which begins at the Windsor Mill Road trailhead. Just before you reach the trailhead, a short 1-mile detour northeast on the Dickeyville Trail, which travels a former section of Wetheredsville Road, takes you to a historical 18th-century mill village in Dickeyville alongside Gwynns Falls.
Continuing southeast along the Gwynns Falls Trail, you’ll follow a former millrace path of crushed stone through forest for 3 miles to Leon Day Park, named for Negro League Hall of Fame baseball player Leon Day.
Here, you’ll find ball fields, playgrounds, and parking. About 0.5 mile farther southeast, the trail offers views of the fall line between the Piedmont Plateau and the Coastal Plain, marked by a series of waterfalls and rapids.
The trail continues for nearly 3 miles along the wooded stream valley, passing over active railroad tracks, streams, city streets, and smaller parks before passing under the Carrollton Viaduct. Constructed in 1829 to serve the then-growing Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the viaduct is the oldest railroad bridge in the country.
About 0.5 mile beyond the viaduct is Carroll Park—a former plantation and the homestead of Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence—where you’ll find parking, ball fields, and impressive views of downtown Baltimore from the historic mansion.
The final 2 miles are decidedly urban compared to the stream-valley setting of the rest of the trail. Leaving Carroll Park, the trail becomes an on-road cycle track along Bush Street. Be sure to look for trail signs indicating you are on the official route.
After Bush Street, the trail hits the Middle Branch of the Inner Harbor near Ravens Stadium. Here, you can head south to Middle Branch Park on the Middle Branch Spur of the Gwynns Falls Trail for expansive water views, fishing, and boating. Alternatively, heading north will take you through the historic neighborhoods of South Baltimore until you reach the many attractions of the city’s Inner Harbor.
At the Inner Harbor, extend your route by connecting to the Jones Falls Trail, which heads north for 11 miles through parks and other popular destinations.
Parking areas are located within Baltimore City at the Park & Ride (I-70 and Security Blvd), Gwynns Falls Park/Leakin Park by Winans Meadow (4500 Franklintown Rd), at 4300 Windsor Mill Rd, at Leon Day Park (1200 block of N. Franklintown Rd), at 2700 Frederick Ave, by Carroll Park Golf Course (2100 Washington Blvd), by Carroll Park (Bayard St & Herkimer St), by the Carroll Park access road (1600 block of Washington Blvd), between Light St & E Barre St (parking only at limited times), and in three lots by Middle Branch Park (3301 Waterview Ave); (2825 S Hanover St); (3131 S Hanover St).
For other access points, visit the Gynns Falls website (link to the right under "Related Links").
From I-695 (Baltimore Beltway), take Exit 16/Rt 70 East Park & Ride to merge right onto Security Boulevard. Turn right on Forest Park Avenue and right. Turn right on Franklintown Road; at the stop sign turn left to continue on Franklintown Road. After about 1.5 miles, you'll find the trailhead at Winans Meadow on the left.
From I-83 (Jones Falls Expressway), take the westbound North Avenue Exit. Continue past Hilton Parkway and turn left onto Morris Road. Turn left onto Franklintown Road. The trailhead at Leon Day Park is on the right.
From downtown Baltimore, take Franklin Street westbound (or I-70 in the city) to Edmondson Avenue. Take Hilton Parkway northbound and turn left onto North Avenue. Turn left onto Morris Road and left onto Franklintown Road. Look for the trailhead at Leon Day Park on the right.
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