Website: https://www.chesco.org/4643/Chester-Valley-Trail Know Before You Go: There are parts of this trail that do not have shade. There are also parts of the trail that have thick brush on both sides so it’s like running in a long, green tunnel. This trail is open from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour past sunset. Length: 18.6 miles in 2023 with plans to add more Time: It depends on how far you go and whether you’re running, bicycling or walking. Difficulty: Easy Terrain: Paved Dog-Friendly: Yes. Kid-Friendly: Yes.
We were looking for somewhere for my son to do his cross country training runs while vacationing near Philadelphia, and were SO glad we found the Chester Valley Bike Trail. Philly has sidewalks but they end abruptly sometimes, and it’s hard to tell when you are running into a rough part of town. Some of the sidewalks are quite old and very uneven, too.
The Chester Valley Bike Trail is located in West Chester, PA, with several trailheads that offer parking and facilities. The trail is around 10 feet wide, paved in asphalt and well-maintained. It’s fully ADA-accessible. Parts of this trail go past 18th Century Revolutionary War movements by Washington’s Continental Army and British General Cornwallis’s troops after the Battle of Brandywine in September 1777.
This trail is surrounded by Pennsylvania hills. In some area it’s hard to see anything but the trail because it’s almost enclosed by deciduous trees. Other parts are wide open and go for a long time without shade. It’s very pretty and green in the summer, and quite popular with runners and cyclists alike. We even saw an adorable marmot along the trail, which we of course did not approach but did photograph.
This trail closes during big snowstorms to allow cross country skiing. The website does not expressly forbid e-Bikes, but it doesn’t mention them as permitted. That said, we did meet a couple of e-Bikes during our runs here.