Chester County Stream Guide

A sampling of Chester County Streams Descriptions are provided courtesy of Joe Armstrong, excerpted from his book A Guide to Pennsylvania Limestone Streams, published by Stackpole Books, and available locally, or at

Valley Creek

Will the real Valley Creek please stand up? Well this is it. It’s about 30 feet wide and flows through Valley Forge Park. A surprising length of it between the park, Chesterbrook, Tredyffrin Township Park, and East Whiteland Township Park is accessible. The area is under intensive development, but this fine limestone stream survives.

The stream has moderate gradient, typified by pools, riffles, and meanders. It is not a spring creek, but the numerous limestone seeps along its length keep it cool in summer. Urbanization is taking a toll, but the stream has been extremely capable of dealing with the various assaults.

West Valley Creek

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to Valley Creek in Chester County-there are three of them, plus a Valley Run, all in the same limestone belt. West Valley Creek (popularly known as Valley Creek) flows west from Exton to the Brandywine. The upper four miles or so are in the limestone belt and give the stream much of its character: high-alkali content and relatively cool water in midsummer. Siltation is a major problem, which may in the future be minimized (the good news) by increasing urbanization (the bad news). The stream is 25 to 35 feet wide for most of its length, is heavily stocked, and gets a great deal of pressure.

There is little natural reproduction due to the sediment load. Our TU chapter, however, has been working with Whitlock Vibert boxes for the past ten years and has gotten to know what we can–and cannot–expect from them. At this stage the chance of catching a stream-born fish late in the season is pretty good, maybe fifty-fifty in some stretches. The stream runs cool enough to hold fish well through the summer and has heavy trike hatches to keep them well fed. Heavy pressure does seriously deplete the numbers, but the fish are there all year for those motivated enough to go looking for them. Hatch Chart for West Valley Creek (courtesy James A. Lowe)

USGS Stream Gauges

Valley Creek at PA Turnpike Bridge

East Branch Brandywine Creek below Downingtown

Brandywine Creek at Chadds Ford

West Branch Brandywine Creek at Modena

West Branch Brandywine Creek at Coatesville