The Susquehannock and Algonquian Indians had long traveled through this area when Captain John Smith explored and mapped the Chesapeake Bay region in 1608 As the Susquehannocks went from Pennsylvania to the bay, they crossed the Gwynns Falls stream at two fords one near the stone pillars of the former Brunswick Street Bridge - visible from the trail - and the other near Washington Boulevard. Smith noted that the streams often tumbled over "felles" or "fells," later called falls. This stream (or falls) was named for Maryland settler Richard Gwinn, who in 1669 established a post, probably at Gwynns Run,to trade with the Indians. Gwinn made plans for a "New Town" and built a stone fort - one of the first in an ongoing series of human imprints on the landscape.
... a highway of the ... Indians passed through the western part, at least, of what is now Baltimore City, and crossed Gwinns Falls near the mouth of that stream.
This 1670 map of Chesapeake Bay shows the mouth of the Patapsco River, the Middle Branch of which is the outlet of Gwynns Falls.
The Baltimore area lay between lands to the north occupied by the Iroquois-speaking Susquehannocks (below) and costal lands in Maryland and Virginia occupied by Algonquian-speaking Indians.