Gwynns Falls Trail
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The Gwynns Falls Trail

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The 15-mile Gwynns Falls Trail is a unique urban hiking and biking trail, providing access to a scenic and historic greenway stream valley in Baltimore City. The Gwynns Falls Trail Advocates is a partnership organization committed to coordinating efforts to maintain, improve, and promote the Gwynns Falls Trail (see About Us).

The easiest way to get on the Trail is to start at one of the 9 Trailheads (most with parking). Trailhead 1 is at the I-70 Park & Ride near Security Blvd. at the City-County boundary. From there, the Trail generally follows the Gwynns Falls stream southeast to the Middle Branch and the Inner Harbor of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River. The Gwynns Falls Trail is a unique urban hiking and biking Trail providing access to a scenic and historic greenway stream valley in Baltimore City.

The Gwynns Falls Trail App is FREE; to download, go to the Apple App Store. The app provides help to navigate the Trail and access Trail information.

The Gwynns Falls Trail is part of the Maryland state-certified Baltimore National Heritage Area and the National Park Service’s Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.

A Unique Urban Greenway and Stream Valley Connector for Baltimore

The Trail travels through an environmentally valuable urban greenway park in west and southwest Baltimore City along the Gwynns Falls stream valley. The greenway now connects over 2000 acres of publicly owned parkland within the Gwynns Falls stream valley and includes one of the largest woodland parks in the Eastern United States - Gwynns Falls and Leakin Parks. These parks alone encompass 1200 acres and house approximately 20 miles of additional paths that wander up and down the parks' slopes. These paths are wonderful for hiking and are especially unique in an urban setting.

city view The Gwynns Falls Trail is a continuous recreation corridor that connects over 30 neighborhoods in west and southwest Baltimore with parklands, urban environmental features, cultural resources and historic landmarks. Local residents and visitors are able to bike, hike, roller blade, fish in the stream, picnic, watch for birds and other wildlife, undertake environmental education activities, find solitude and enjoy nature, host community festivals and meet friends and neighborhood residents along the Trail.

The Gwynns Falls - Baltimore Greenway to the Chesapeake Bay

The Gwynns Falls - Baltimore Greenway to the Chesapeake Bay The Gwynns Falls - Baltimore Greenway to the Chesapeake Bay, an informative book by W. Edward Orser with contributions by Daniel Bain, Jack Breihan, Guy W. Hager, Eric Holcomb and David Terry is available to enrich your experience on the Trail. Walkers and bikers on Baltimore’s Gwynns Falls Trail can experience much more than a recreation pathway through 2,000 acres of greenway stream and parkland. This book will help all to better understand 400 years of change in landscape and cultural heritage along the Gwynns Falls. Over the course of time, the stream valley often was treated as a neglected backyard, and now is treasured but today there is growing recognition that it is truly a unique green space. The Trail threads through seemingly pristine areas of natural beauty as well as degraded former industrial sites–some in the process of revitalization, others in need of remediation. Along the route are 30 Baltimore neighborhoods, some of them among the most affluent, some the most economically stressed.

With 160 pages and 140 photographs, the chapters below make the case that appreciation of the Gwynns Falls and its watershed starts with a walk or bicycle ride along an urban greenway and opens an opportunity to tell the stories about this complex landscape. Some of the stories have left indelible marks, others little trace. Some point to accomplishment and promise, others to challenges and obstacles. But to encounter the Gwynns Falls, this gateway to the Chesapeake Bay, is to engage a rich historical record and to become part of an unfolding chronicle so important to the past and present of Baltimore, America’s cities, and the nation.

See the table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. Chapter 1 - Tributary of the Bay: The Water and the Watershed, Past to Present
  3. Chapter 2 - Four Hundred Years Ago: Captain John Smith Explores Baltimore’s Waterways
  4. Chapter 3 - Native People of the Chesapeake: Algonquians and Susquehannocks
  5. Chapter 4 - Colonial Plantation Economy Along the Gwynns Falls: The Carrolls and special focus on Land Records and Early Landscapes in the Lower Gwynns Falls Watershed by Daniel J. Bain
  6. Chapter 5 - Port of Baltimore: “ Queen City of the Chesapeake”
  7. Chapter 6 - Harborside Neighborhoods: From Early Urban Settlement to Urban Homesteading
  8. Chapter 7 - African American Heritage in Sharp-Leadenhall by Eric Holcomb
  9. Chapter 8 - Baltimore’s First Economic Boom: Flour Milling
  10. Chapter 9 - A Grist Mill Village: Franklintown
  11. Chapter 10 - From Flour Mills to Textile Mills: Dickeyville
  12. Chapter 11 - Roads and Bridges: Traversing the Gwynns Falls
  13. Chapter 12 - Making Tracks to the Interior: Railroads
  14. Chapter 13 - Industries on the Urban Periphery
  15. Chapter 14 - The Industrial Southwest
  16. Chapter 15 - Rowhouses for the Expanding City
  17. Chapter 16 - Streetcars: Conveyances for the First Commuters
  18. Chapter 17 - The Park Era and the Olmsted Vision
  19. Chapter 18 - The Gwynns Falls as a Stream Valley Park
  20. Chapter 19 - African Americans and the Struggle for Equality and special focus on Reginald Lewis, Rosemont’s Native Son by David Terry
  21. Chapter 20 - The Middle Branch’s Southern Shore
  22. Chapter 21 - Leakin Park: A Name Before a Place, a special focus on Thomas Winans and the Crimea
  23. Chapter 22 - Cherry Hill: African American Community on the Southside
  24. Chapter 23 - Baltimore’s Expressway Controversy
  25. Chapter 24 - Baseball Legends of the Gwynns Falls: Babe Ruth, Leon Day, Al Kaline
  26. Chapter 25 - The Inner Harbor and Camden Yards
  27. Chapter 26 - Baltimore’s Parks for a New Century: The Gwynns Falls Trail

How to purchase a book

You can purchase a copy of this book for $15, and proceeds will help support projects of the Gwynns Falls Trail Advocates on behalf of the trail. Place an order by  sending  a $20 check (includes $5 shipping) to The Gwynns Falls Trail Advocates, c/o Parks & People Foundation, 2100 Liberty Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21217.

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