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The Chester Valley Trail provides opportunities for recreation and alternative transportation in the congested commercial center at the northern edge of Greater Philadelphia. The paved rail-trail rolls for just under 15 miles between King of Prussia and Exton, encouraging a variety of users, such as stroller-pushing parents, colleagues on a walking meeting, or cyclists seeking a quick 30-miler.
The trail uses the corridor of the Chester Valley Branch of the Reading Railroad, which was completed between Bridgeport and Downingtown in the 1850s; the line hauled freight into the late 20th century (passenger traffic ended in 1935). Work by Chester and Montgomery Counties began in 2009 to convert the railbed into a trail. Plans call for extending it westward to Downingtown. A planned extension eastward to Bridgeport, which includes a connection to the Schuylkill River Trail, will create access to Valley Forge National Historical Park to the north and Philadelphia to the south. The Chester Valley Trail is also part of the Circuit Trails, a developing 800-mile urban network of trails in Greater Philadelphia, of which about 350 miles are complete.
The 10- to 12-foot-wide asphalt path, which is open daily, 8 a.m.–sunset, has a slight uphill grade from King of Prussia to Exton. A couple of mild, short hills face travelers in Malvern and just past PA 29. The trail parallels US 202, which you’ll barely notice as you travel through a wooded corridor that opens up to farmland approaching Exton.
The route starts near a cluster of hotels in King of Prussia, a community named for a local Colonial-era inn built in 1719. The renovated and relocated inn, which contains offices for the local chamber of commerce, stands 0.3 mile from the current trailhead. The future path of the trail extension to Bridgeport will pass by the old inn named for Frederick the Great.
The current trail immediately crosses I-76 on a pedestrian bridge and heads west past retail centers and office parks along US 202. The rail-trail takes a straight shot across the landscape, except for turns to accommodate busy road crossings. In the less congested western end, the trail utilizes short tunnels to cross US 202 and Swedesford Road.
There’s no lack of fast food and restaurants in the retail centers along the eastern segment. You’ll pass several small parks with picnic tables: D’Ambrosia Park at 4 miles, Cedar Hollow Park at 6.6 miles, and Ecology Park at 10.1 miles. The landscape opens up beyond here, with more farms and less congestion.
While Valley Forge is located north of the trail, other historic locations of the Revolutionary War are closer by. One of those is Battle of the Clouds Park, located 1 mile past Ecology Park, where the trail crosses Phoenixville Pike. The park commemorates a Revolutionary War attack in 1777 that was foiled by a horrific thunderstorm that drenched the soldiers’ gunpowder.
Another 1.3 miles ahead is Exton Park, which covers 727 acres and features a pond, picnic sites, and trails. The rail-trail ends in another 2.4 miles after passing through the community of Exton.
To reach the eastern endpoint in King of Prussia from I-76, take Exit 328B. Merge onto US 202/W. Dekalb Pike. Go 180 feet, and turn right onto King of Prussia Road. Then go 0.2 mile, and turn left into the King of Prussia park and ride lot. The trail starts across the street.
To reach the western endpoint in Exton from I-76, take Exit 320, and turn left onto SR 29. Go 1.3 miles, and turn right onto Swedesford Road. Go 0.3 mile, and merge onto US 202 W. Go 2.9 miles, and exit toward US 30 W. Go 0.7 mile, and merge onto US 30/Exton Bypass. Go 1.6 miles, and exit toward SR 100 to Exton. Go 0.4 mile, and turn right onto Pottstown Pike. Then go 0.3 mile, and turn left onto SR 100/Commerce Dr. Go 0.1 mile, and turn left onto Main St. Look for parking on either side of the street. Sidewalks backtrack to the trail next to Commerce Dr.
I am only giving this trail three stars, not because the trail is a poor experience, but it is a short trail for me, and there are numerous road crossings. The trail is asphalt all the way, and virtually level. Yes, some slight slopes, but nothing serious. There are mileage markers almost every half mile, and also some signs for points of interest. I started at the King of Prussia park and ride, and biked to Exton and returned. Initially, the trail goes along some very congested real estate, but the sound barriers do muffle the traffic noise so in portions it is very nice, heavily wooded on both sides, and in some places refreshingly cool. In other areas, homes and office parks are along the way. This gives rise to multiple road crossings, and many are signal controlled, especially at major crossings. Around the 8 mile point, the scenery is more open, with farms along the trail. Once one reaches Exton Park Trailhead, where water, restroom and tables are available, unless one wants to go into Exton, there is little reason to travel further. But going further has major road crossings, and one enters into a major commercial area, and about a mile or so past that, the trail simply stops. At the Exton Park, there is a detailed trail sign and also indications of future trails, including the proposed route to link with the Schuylkill River Trail from King of Prussia.
4.5 is a more appropriate rating.
A nice, flat, paved and well marked trail.
Ran to the left after parking.
A nice little bridge as well as a nice little tunnel, nice scenary along the way.
The only drawback is crossing several roads which could be a challenge at busy times, and could be a negative for bikers.
So in conclusion, if in the area and want to get a few miles in, give this a try.
You'll be pleased.
Superb trail as far as smooth and maintained, but the road noise from Rt 202 made parts of the trail unbearable. If you are looking for a great trail to hear mother nature. this is not it!
I only walked a small section, about 3 miles but it was clean and perfect
This is my new favorite trail. It is flat, shady and immaculately maintained. Not one rough spot in the paving, not one piece of trash on the entire 14 mile length. There is lots of green space on both sides of the trail so that most of the time you don't realize that you are in the middle of quite a built-up area. We've started at both the Exton end and the King of Prussia end (2 different days) and in both cases rode about 7 miles to Media, where we had lunch, and then did the return trip. The Exton end is very flat while the King of Prussia end has a few not-too-difficult hills. There are a few road crossings but they are well controlled by lights and the drivers in this area seem to be familiar with the trail crossings and often stop before you get to push the button for the traffic signal. The only crossing that is a real pain is going over Route 100 if you want to ride past Main Street at Exton. We won't bother with that again. The trail is well used by walkers and bikers on weekdays but there was not so much traffic to make it feel crowded. (Not sure how busy it is one weekends.) We love this trail!
Liked the fix it stations. This should be on all trails.
Went for a bike ride on this trail with my boys and it was fantastic! Not too difficult and the trail is shady so for an August day it wasn't too hot. Lots of benches to stop and take a break. There are several street crossings but they have pedestrian blinking lights and the crossings are well marked so I felt safe crossing with my boys. Drivers always slowed down for us to cross. Overall a great trail! Definitely recommend for a family bike ride.
A popular well kept asphalt trail of 14 miles. Many points of access as the mostly tree-line trail runs besides neighborhoods, corporate parks, and shopping centers. There are many well marked road crossings with gates and audible crossing signals. If you're riding the entire trial, all the crossing can become a bit burdensome.
I look forward to learning how to connect, on the east end, to the Schuylkill River Trail that goes all the way to Center City (PHL). That would be nice to include on the trail information page.
Trail is perfect--not even a crack. Wide and clean, this trail is well suited for recreational riders. This is not for riders looking for speed, because as mentioned in other reviews, the trail is shared with walkers, runners, strollers, skaters and training wheels. Having said that, on the 4th of July it was easy to maintain 15 mph--we were never in a bunch-up that required us to slow down. Loved having retail on both ends for drinks/snacks. Will definitely ride it on our next trip to PA.
This trails brings me such joy! It's harder going then coming back, but the street crossings are minimal and non invasive, the other riders/walkers are considerate and upbeat. I saw a lot of different types of bikes, recumbents, rollerblades, runners! The grounds are immaculate! You will really enjoy this one!
I just moved up to PA from FL a few months ago and while I've been an avid runner for some time, frankly the Florida topography, at least on the East coast, doesn't do much by way of hill conditioning. I've definitely struggled a bit with the acclimation to some of the 'hillier' trails in PA/DA. So the Chester Valley Trail was a site for sore (hamstrings) eyes! A great 14 mile trail that you can make longer or shorter to suit your needs. It's a pretty run, homes to look at, woods, hills... parts are shaded, parts are not. As a woman who typically runs alone, it's worth noting that I felt quite safe here (I'm not particularly paranoid but in today's times safety is a consideration now). Would recommend to families, runners, walkers alike!
First of all, we had a late winter snow storm and this trail was cleared quite quickly and very well. Second, I love the quarter mile markers. I use those for track type running workouts. Third, very nice long trail. Fourth very nice bathroom and parking area at Exton Park on Church Farm Road.
This trail is wide and paved. There are several stores to stop at for a break. At some point during your activities on this trail, you will come across dear. They are rarely on the trail and more so in the nearby woods. I love this trail. It's not congested like the Schuylkill River Trail. I have visited this trail more than any other trail in PA, NJ, DE, and MD.
Beware of the many road crossings, too many, and some of them are 4-lane roads- a little dangerous especially if your riding with little ones. Fairly flat, and blacktop from start to finish, an easy ride even for beginners.
If you're starting from Exton, I'd recommend NOT parking near Walmart but in Raymour & Flanigan's parking lot to avoid crossing Rt 100, which is very busy!
I rode the entire 13.5 mile trail from King of Prussia to Exton. I recommend starting at KoP to make the return trip slightly downhill. I know other reviews have mentioned the lack of signage and I think this has improved. I have a pretty poor sense of direction and never once had an issue finding the trail, just look for the green trail signs at road intersections. There are a fair amount of road crossing with two being busy four lane highways but they all either have signals or stop signs. For a few miles you are riding next to I-76 so you will hear traffic but it is not deafening. Overall I look forward to riding the trail again when the next expansion phase is completed.
This trail is perfect for local residents. It meanders through the neighborhoods behind houses and businesses. a wide variety of athletes will find it very accommodating. Non athletes or Weekend Warriors will also find this Trail to be very good. Help is close by if you have any type of accident or need help. it is best to start this trail from the King of Prussia side and ride to the end point in Exton. This way you can have a nice picnic waiting for you in Exton Park. According to Trail markings, bicycle speed is limited to 15 miles per hour. I highly recommend biking 14 miles one way but do not make the return trip. It might get a little boring. if you don't mind backpacking, there are great green areas to stop along the way and have a snack.
Just rode this trail for the first time today - 4/2/16 - started in Exton - FIRST, the "BAD" - my complaints - I followed the directions posted here, but, when I got there, I had NO IDEA WHERE the trail WAS. Luckily, I saw a gentleman and his daughter unloading bikes and asked - well, it was STILL not the easiest to find! So... MORE SIGNS and BETTER MARKING is a MUST! Next time I'll know, but the first time was not easy. Second complaint - I rode east to around Mile 5.0, then turned around. TWICE, on the way back, I LITERALLY got LOST! I quite literally DID NOT KNOW WHERE the trail was! So... AGAIN... MARKINGS!!! SURE, it's EASY for someone who knows it already, which obviously includes those who designed it and put it together, and don't realize where the "fails" in the markings are, and NEXT time, and there WILL BE next TIMES, I'll know, but, again, there are places where it needs to be better marked. I think "they" should bring in a group of "test," first-time-on-the-trail riders, and, individually, have them see if they run into the same problems I did. MAYBE it's me? I don't know? But I WAS FRUSTRATED! :( OK... so NOW the GOOD! It IS a really nice trail! All blacktop! I have a Mountain bike, but this trail is good for road bikes as well. It's mostly flat, though, heading back West was a BIT more difficult than the ride East. (Though part of that was a headwind.) Yeah, there's a few road crossings, a couple of which are across 4-lanes, but, I'm not used to that, and it's one of those things that I can accept. I'm anxioust to ride end-to-end. Overall, again, a NICE TRAIL! Just needs to be MARKED better at several places! I WILL be back, probably many times. :)
Starting from King of Prussia (South Gulph Road Parking Area) and riding out to West Whiteland Township Trailhead (Main Street at Exton), the ride is relatively flat with a slow and constant elevation gain. Just need to be attentive around mile 7.5 when the trail seems to end -- it doesn't just need to go left at the PNC Bank. Beautiful views and even have several mile of tree cover as well. Worth the travel from Maryland. Can't wait for the expansions to be completed in the coming years and ride from Downingtown to Philadelphia.
It is a nice long trail with things to see and do easily accessible from the trail. The only real problem is the many many crossings. Some are ok and easy, some are a lot more difficult. Currently part of the trail is under repair so there is a clearly marked detour but that added 2 more crossings on a busy road. So there ends up being lots more stop and go along the path. But once you get some distance from 202 it is a downright nice ride. This was our longest ride since starting back to riding and we were wooped at the end. Definitely more downhill slope going towards King of Prussia. And don't get your hopes up when you see the 0.5 mile sign, there is still another mile or so to go. We will go back after a few more trails to see if we still think the same.
This is a great trail for those that want to get in a good workout either running or biking without battling the hills of Chester County. Very well maintained with good shade. The trail section near Exton out to CFS has a lot of points where you cross traffic so be careful. Section from Wegmans out to Chesterbrook is pretty open and from Chesterbrook to end is also uninterrupted for the most part with crossing roads.
Love it if could connect to VF park trail, but overall a great trail whether biking, running or taking the dog for a walk
I completely agree that the trail has many crossings, which can be difficult to navigate (not for markings, but for motorists who are not really attentive). Additionally, 202 can be a bit noisy. That said, my husband and I have greatly enjoyed biking from Paoli to Exton with our 3 year old. We take a break while he plays on the playground and then off we go, back towards home. On hot days, we can detour to Wegmans and grab a cold snack. Bike shops in Exton also make for easy service.
In all, we walk the dog, go for runs, ride our bikes, play on playgrounds and can even stop for a beer...all while using one trail.
Thank you to all those who backed this trail and work to maintain it. I find it to be a valuable addition to our time as a family.
My friend and I parked at the Exton Park Trailhead which offers many amenities; such as full service bathrooms, playground area, and a tremendous parking lot. We biked northeastward to the end of the trail along King of Prussia Blvd and returned to the Exton Trailhead and continued to the southwest end of the trail.
The trail surface was all asphalt and was in superb condition; no buckling, smooth as glass. But, there are a lot of BUSY road crossings on this trail; most with road crossing signals.
Much of the trail has a nice canopy of trees. You are riding through an urban area and along some highways.
The trail descends much of the way from Exton Trailhead to the northeast end - King of Prussia Blvd. So, if you are riding this trail roundtrip and want to be riding downhill on the return trip, then I suggest that you park at the King of Prussia Trailhead.
The trail has a slight downhill grade from the Exton Trailhead to its southwest end (Between Rt 100 and S.Whitford Rd) and is about 2 miles one way.
The Road crossing at Rt 100 is rather bizarre. Instead of taking one directly across Rt 100, one is forced to divert 90 degrees away from the trail (heading northbound) to cross over Commerce Dr and then cross over Rt 100 (paralleling the trail), and then cross the opposite direction on Commerce Dr (Southward) to return to the trail on the west side of Rt 100. PennDot really needs to put in a crosswalk for the trail and walkers on the south side of Commerce Dr.
As previously stated, the trail surface is smooth and well maintained. It is also a very wide trail with plenty of passing room.
But due to the many road crossings and that some of the trail is along major highways and that one is funneled to road crossings requiring sharp turns , I am giving this trail a 3 star rating.
We started in King of Prussia and before long were at Wegman's in Malvern. After some lunch - off to Exton where we reached the (dead) end of the trail!(the back.) The CVT gets a bit dense with crossings, cars and highway noise at either end. In the middle, where it follows the Chester Valley Railroad bed, it is at its best. The railroad roadcut - dating from the mid-1800s - was a cool oasis of green walls.
This is an very good suburban rail trail that passes by a variety of businesses and residential areas. I can see it used for recreation and basic transportation. The road noise, mostly from 202, and the several crossings (Rt 100 could really benefit from a bridge) stop me from giving it 5 stars.
Thanks you to the Parks & Recreation Guys who have taken care of the trail and kept it plowed, ice free and safe this winter! Great Job!!
I biked this trail for the first time a week ago, end to end - just short of 15 miles each way. It's mostly flat and straight, but there are some short hills on the few on-street segments. The scenery varies greatly, from woodsy tree tunnels to office parks and residential.
There are several road crossings that require (and have) crossing controls. On other crossings you just have to look carefully both ways. I rode on a Sunday, so all these roads in and out of the shopping centers and office parks in the busy Rt 202 corridor were relatively empty. But I would not want to bike this route on a weekday. Also be aware that you get a lot of noise from the traffic on nearby Rt 202 - it was noticeable and sometimes unpleasant, even without my hearing aids.
In Exton, the crossing at Rt 100 is a mean 3-way dog-leg. For all practical purposes you have to cross three roads, each with a long wait for the light and crossing signal. Took several minutes (and several again on the way back). Another time I wouldn't go further west than Rt 100 until the trail is extended further toward Downingtown, which, apparently, is to happen soon. When is soon?
I'm more interested in the planned extension eastward to Norristown to connect to the Schuylkill River trail, on which I frequently bike.
All in all the CVT is a nice trail, one that I would like to do every year.
Does anyone have firm facts about the path that the existing Chester Valley Trail is going to use to get to Downingtown?
To get from Clover Mill Road to Boot Road, and then down 322 to where the existing trail begins, there is a massive hilly area. I'm wondering what the thoughts are.
Alternately, Downingtown also has the Streubel Trail, on the other side of town. Is the plan to connect to that??
Anyone who knows, I would appreciate it.
Does anyone know for sure how exactly they're going to connect where the trail currently ends (at Walmart basically, in Exton), to the existing Downingtown Trail that runs along 322?
I can see how they might run a paved path along Clover Mill Road. But that takes you to Boot Road. And there is a massive hill between that area, and where the Downingtown Trail is along 322.
I'm just curious what the plan is, if anyone knows.
We have ridden most of trail nice pavement easy road crossings very easy ride for family we park behind Swedesford shopping center plenty of parking
I love running on this trail! I like having access to it at different points. Nice shaded parts of trail make it easier to run during summer months.
Picked up the trail for an evening ride at Church Farm Lane which is the border between Exton Park and Valley Creek Corporate Center. Parking lot is large and new. Trail will be extended west to Rt. 100 in the next phase and eventually all the way to Downingtown so you cannot yet gain access at Ship Rd. despite what the map may indicate. The eastern most section was recently added which extends the trail to Montgomery county. The good news for bicyclists is that the trail is flat, wide, smooth, and fairly scenic as it winds past parks, forested land, and streams. The bad is that you will need to keep a close eye out for the many walkers, runners, strollers, and families. There are also many cross streets which will slow your time considerably, even though most of them are secondary roads. To cross Rt. 29 you need to zig and zag and wait for the traffic light and as you continue east the trail goes through the Target/Wegman's parking lot. When the missing link is completed in Montgomery County it will connect to the Schuylkill Valley Trail.
I did this trail back in 2011 and was not thrilled. But on this trap I had a great ride from
the Malvern trail head. I went to the East end and then to Rt 100. It was a weekday so I did not have any problems with traffic. Highlight was on the east end there is a Wegmans Super Store just off the trail. I almost never give out 5 stars and never give out a single star so a three is not bad in my book. If you are going to do this trail you really need to read a few reviews. when this trail is complete it will be one of the better trails in the Delaware Valley
Hard to find due to confusing signage. Paving is nice. Trail is crowded with multiple users- bikes, jiggers, skateboarders, etc. lacks trail etiquette And mostly I hated the busy road crossings from Malvern on
Used it for the first time last week. Found it to be much easier to run on than the Valley Forge Freedom Trail since there were far less cyclists riding at high speeds. It is primarily shady and completely flat which makes it perfect for long training runs. I did not cross Rt 29 (not necessary if only doing a 10 miler...you can run a little more near the parking lot in Exon to supplement the small shortage), but all other street crossings were simple and very well marked. It also seemed to be a very good trail for families and I noticed many out for a group bike ride. I will definitely be back.
I really love the trail and live close to Wayne. Does anyone know where I can park close to the trail around Wayne without the risk of getting towed?
First time on the trail today and loved it. Started in the car park at the western end and rode all the way to KoP. Fabulous ride not at all marred by the multiple road crossings. All motorists very considerate. Only major crossing is at rte 29 by Wegmans but even there it's ok - wait for the crossing light. Will definitely be back. Looking forward to the extension towards Exton which looks. Lose to opening.
The entrance into the park near Church Farm School is not marked and the parking lot is not complete. This morning it was overflowing. The trail is suppose to be 12 wide and it is in places but at most crossings it is a maze to get through especially when the traffic is heavy and a wide range of people from novices to experienced road bikers who are impatient with the rest of us. I think between the western park and County line Rd it runs about 12 miles and that is like 100 miles and novice seniors like myself. The trail is very enjoyable. I am looking forward to the completion!
I was pleasantly surprised the first time I road this trail. Its shaded much of the way and successfully hides the fact that it runs very close to the 202 expressway. I like this trail for early season rides or when riding with a group of mixed ability. The road crossings provide natural stopping points to re-group. However, the multiple stops can get annoying if you are used to riding trails with long uninterrupted stretches. Also, its heavily used on the weekends making for a crowded ride. There is a short section on the northern part of the trail which is more exposed to sun and Rte 202 traffic noise. There are multiple places to park and access the trail, but they can be difficult to find initially. There is a parking lot off S. Warner Rd. at the more northern end of the trail.
It is great to have a trail so close to the Mainline. You can see a lot of time and money has been put into this trail since it crosses over a number of roads. It is relatively flat but still a good workout. The access at Exton Park is great with parking and restroom.
I spent an hour trying to get to it off of ship road and route 30. Is it still there?
Have ridden this trail several times. Well maintained, paved, with plenty of shade. Hazards include dangerous road crossings and high speed road bikers.
So I visited the trail for the first time today. I parked at the lot off of Route 30 by the soccer fields. I then headed out on my run going East (I think) for 3.1 miles. This took me out to the parking lot by Wegman's.
Pros - Relatively flat and straight. Good track to work on your speed. It was raining, but still plenty of people out and about. I imagine some of this has to do with the newness of the trail. This can also be viewed as a negative as I was passing people and getting passed by cyclists. Constantly looking over my shoulder for cyclists. I can't imagine they like the trail that much as there was a lot of sand/dirt/brush washed up on the trail from the recent rains.
Cons - The scenery is less than ideal. Primarily residential on one side and highway (202?) on the other side. In the 3.1 miles out, I crossed 4 roads. Two of them had pedestrian yields that at least meant I could cross. One was in a development and had no traffic. The third required me to navigate a high traffic intersection. I essentially had to stop running for several minutes while I waited for the light to change.
All in all, I would say that the portion of the trail that I saw was very nice. I will definitely be back for speed work and I will probably use it for my longer runs (10+ miles). All other runs probably don't make sense here as I can get the same workout by going out my front door.
We will have to wait for the politicians to get some good weather to pat themselves on the back about what a great job they did before the trail is officially open, but in the meantime...except for the extreme eastern edge east of Old Eagle School Road and the extreme western edge, west of the Church Farm School, the path is open and clear of snow and ice. Good for casual riding. Speedy road bikers may not like the many road crossings over a 12 mile stretch, but a great addition to the trail system. Enjoy.
Flat trail,asphalt paved from Exton,Pa to rte 29
estimated completion in November 2013 from Paoli,cedar hollow road to Valley Forge Park.
the work area is estimated at 85% complete
This trail is such a tease, because once it is fully finished it will be a great ride. I rode the King of Prussia portion yesterday and I can't wait for it to be completed.
Heads up tho! If you are travelling a bit to get here and ride this trail you may want to hold off until it's finished because the KOP section is only a little over a mile.
Can't rate this trail until its finished but have high hopes for it.
The 6.4 mile of the Chester Valley Trail is expanding in both directions with construction starting this month. As mentioned in the other reviews this trail will become a significant part of the overall Philadelphia/SE PA region trail network in the future but the immediate "phase 2" expansion begins in April 2012 and will result in 15 miles paved from Exton to King of Prussia by 2013. Separately, King of Prussia has committed to complete their 2 mile connector section by 2013 which will connect the Chester Valley Trail to the 50+ mile Schuykill River Trail system. The result will be an amazing trail system for uninterrupted long trail rides. You can get to Valley Forge National Park either via The Schuylkill River Trail or via the trail system in Chesterbrook (being formerly developed as part of the Patriot's Path to Valley Forge). The Schuylkill River Trail stretches from Philadelphia to beyond Reading with many connecting trails which will result in an uninterrupted trail system easily exceeding 100 miles (after connectors are completed-check back in 2013 for that ride).
These trails are flat and family friendly and often have a shoulder for running or stepping off the trail. There are many township parks and Valley Forge National Park along the trail or that connect to the trail. There is also parking at businesses and small shopping centers including Worthington which includes Wegmans and Target at Route 29 (Morehall Road). Our cub scout troop rode the 6 mile section and added part of the unpaved "phase 2" section, parts of which requires hybrid tires until it is paved. Friends of the Chester Valley Trail has a Facebook page for current information, photos and quick responses to questions. Enjoy!
First envisioned in 1991, the numerous disjointed segments of the Chester Valley Trail are finally starting to come together.
As of late 2011, three major segments of the trail, which is being constructed along an abandoned rail line that once connected Downingtown to Norristown and allowed freight trains to bypass Philadelphia, have been built in Chester and Montgomery counties.
The westernmost segment runs for 0.8 miles in the vicinity of the Main Street at Exton shopping center. The bulk of this section parallels Commerce Drive from Iron Lake Blvd. west to the Exton Wal-Mart. It then continues for an additional 1500 feet before abruptly dead-ending at a clump of bushes. Despite helping to provide a pedestrian link between the area's many malls, shopping centers and office buildings, this segment appears to be underused. This will likely change once future segments are finished.
The middle segment, currently the longest, runs almost 4 miles from Ship Road east to Route 29. The westernmost portion, through the still largely undeveloped Exton Park, has an uneven, gravel and stone surface, which gives way to smooth asphalt next to the Valley Corporate Center and continues east to Route 29. Completed in 2010, this segment is already very popular with cyclists, in-line skaters, hikers, joggers, dogwalkers and parents pushing young children in strollers. Several new bridges have been constructed to carry the trail over local roads, while a few underpasses and culverts left over from the railroad, have been refurbished.
The easternmost segment, in Montgomery County, extends from Warner Road east across the Schuylkill Expressway to South Gulph Road, and was built during a major highway reconstruction project. Despite its current, short length, this trail allows residents from communities south of the Schuylkill Expressway and Route 202 to walk or bike to the King of Prussia Mall.
Save for the small, unpaved section between Ship Road and the Valley Creek Corporate Center, each completed segment is user-friendly. However, the fact that several major segments remain unbuilt, necessitating lengthy detours on busy roads, give the trail a low overall rating. Fortunately, this will likely change in the next few years, as major sections between Route 29 and Warner Road, and King of Prussia and Norristown, will close two of these gaps and create an unbroken trail from Ship Road to the Schuylkill River Trail. Construction of segments that will close the gap from Ship Road to Iron Lake Blvd. and continue the trail from the Exton Wal-Mart west to Downingtown are still in the planning stages. Once completed, the Chester Valley Trail will form a prominent link in southeast Pennsylvania's emerging greenway network, with connections to the Uwchlan and Struble trails, several local parks and Valley Forge via Patriot's Path, another multi-use trail currently in development.
Longer-term plans anticipate extending the trail even further west, to Atglen, where it will join the new Enola-Low Grade Trail. Once this occurs, the Chester Valley Trail will form part of the Schuylkill-Susquehanna Passage, a long-distance greenway that will connect Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
I did this trail about a month ago, I have no idea how they come up with 12 miles. I drove up from Wilmington De and it was close to a waste of time and effort. The trail is paved from Morehall rd to N Ship rd except for about a mile. I did find my way to where the trail starts up again at Commerce Dr. Getting across Rt 100 is a challenge. This trail dose have some potential, I have no idea how is managing it.
The section that I have ridden stretches from Valley Creek Rd near the Church Farm School eastward to Rt 29 near the new Wegman's - approx 4.5 miles. The trail is paved the entire way and crosses several busy roads, but each intersection is clearly marked and passable. Several of the crossings are by bridge or tunnel and some are on the street. West of Church Farm School towards Exton the trail is unpaved and becomes packed gravel then old train bed with large rocks and weeds. I have ridden the paved portion many times with my seven year old daughter and she has no problems making a round trip. She really enjoys going through the tunnels and over the bridges and pressing the stop traffic button at Swedesford Rd.
This trail does not have any events yet.
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A work in progress, the 2.5-mile Uwchlan Trail currently extends from the Struble Trail off the intersection of Dowlin Forge and Shelmire roads, north...
Picking up directly across Norwood Road from the Struble trail's south end point, The Lions' trail offers a half mile of paved trail winding through...
The Chester County Parks & Recreation Department opened this trail in 1979 on part of a former Pennsylvania Railroad right-of-way. Today the 2.6-mile...
Less than an hour west of Philadelphia, the East Branch Brandywine Trail begins south of Downingtown and continues south along its namesake river. The...
A work in progress, the French Creek Trail is one of several trails being developed by East Pikeland Township. Although a small part of it follows...
The roughly half-mile long Frog Hollow Trail currently begins at Miller Road and follows a creek south between two subdivisions before dead ending at...
At one time an important thoroughfare for commerce carried by canal barges and railroad cars in southeastern Pennsylvania, the Schuylkill River...
The Rim Trail offers a 2.2-mile route in Hibernia County Park, following a former railroad bed along the West Branch Branywine Creek. This...
The Joseph Plumb Martin Trail offers a pleasant, paved loop through Pennsylvania's Valley Forge National Historical Park. Nestled against the wooded...
Located in Media Borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Ridley Creek State Park encompasses over 2,600 acres of woodlands and meadows. The park is...
The Goshen Road Trail runs through Newtown Township, which lies about 30 miles west of Philadelphia. Just shy of a mile, the crushed-stone trail...
The Audubon Loop Trail is only 2.5 miles in length, but is over four miles when adjacent sections of the Perkiomen and Schuylkill River trails are...
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