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Closure Notice: Due to sewer line work, there is a detour in place in Bridgeport around at Fallsview Drive. See posted signage for directions. Keep up to date on this closure via. the Montgomery County page.
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 19 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 40-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 3.8-mile eastward extension to Norristown opened in March 2023 and connects the trail to the Schuylkill River Trail, which creates access to Valley Forge National Historical Park to the north and Philadelphia to the south. The extension project also included building three new pedestrian bridges (South Gulph Road, Henderson Road, and Boro Line Road) and updating two bridges for pedestrian/bike use. 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 am–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.
At its eastern end, the rail-trail connects to the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown. Crossing the river via a protected pedestrian/bike lane on the Norristown Dam Bridge, the Chester Valley Trail winds through Bridgeport and passes an old inn named for Frederick the Great. Leaving Bridgeport, the route curves south and then west as it meanders through 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 trail.
The rail-trail immediately crosses I-76 on a pedestrian bridge and heads west past retail centers and office parks along US 202. The route is 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. There is a 0.8-mile spur trail that splits from the main route by the intersection of Commerce Drive and S Pottstown Pike/Main Street. The spur connects to the Exton SEPTA/Amtrack Station. The rail-trail ends in another 2.4 miles after passing through the community of Exton.
Parking is available at a number of locations along the trail. Visit the TrailLink map for all options and detailed directions.
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