The B1 domains of streptococcal proteins G and L are structurally similar, but they have different sequences and they fold differently. We have measured their NMR spectra at variable temperature using a range of concentrations of denaturant. Many residues have curved amide proton temperature dependence, indicating that they significantly populate alternative, locally unfolded conformations. The results, therefore, provide a view of the locations of low-lying, locally unfolded conformations. They indicate approximately 4-6 local minima for each protein, all within ca. 2.5 kcal/mol of the native state, implying a locally rough energy landscape. Comparison with folding data for these proteins shows that folding involves most molecules traversing a similar path, once a transition state containing a β hairpin has been formed, thereby defining a well-populated pathway down the folding funnel. The hairpin that directs the folding pathway differs for the two proteins and remains the most stable part of the folded protein. ©2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.