Our Creeks

Branch or Creek?

Many of the streams in Maryland and Virginia are called "branches", a local term that just means "creek".  There are three main branches in the Little Falls watershed - the Little Falls Branch, the Willett Branch and the Minnehaha Branch.

Little Falls Branch

Take a Virtual Tour of the Little Falls Creek!

This 5 mile long creek starts in Maryland in the Chevy Chase Country Club and ends in the Potomac near the Little Falls rapids.  It drains portions of Bethesda, Somerset, Friendship Heights, and the District of Columbia.  It passes the Dalecarlia Reservoir, flows under the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and empties into the Potomac at Little Falls rapids, which marks the upper end of the tidal Potomac.  The creek is joined by two tributaries - the Spring Valley  and the Dalecarlia.  The creek is channelized in two areas - under Chevy Chase Village and between River Road and Little Falls Parkway.  

Hike along the creek on the Little Falls Stream Valley Trail in Maryland just south of Mass. Ave or on the Vinton Park trail in the Town of Somerset between Dorset Ave (just below Wisconsin) and River Road in  Chevy Chase.

Willett Branch

Take a virtual tour of the creek HERE.

The Willett Branch starts in  Bethesda, Maryland on Glenbrook  Avenue.  It runs along Glenbrook and meets a small tributary by the Bethesda Pool.  Most of it (70%) is channelized in concrete ditches or enclosed in storm drains.  The creek daylights near the Bethesda Pool and along the Capital Crescent Trail.  However, after a short natural stretch on the Little Falls Stream Valley Hiker/Biker path it is channelized and runs under the Washington Episcopal School and River Road.  It joins the Little Falls creek north of Mass Ave on Little Falls Parkway.

Hike along this creek on the Little Falls Stream Valley Trail just below the Bethesda Pool.

Download a PDF tour of the creek HERE.

Minnehaha Branch

This 1.5 mile long creek is located in the northern part of the watershed.  Starting just above River Road in Bethesda, It runs along Goldsborough Road and enters the Potomac River near Glen Echo.

County Monitoring Information -

Montgomery County has an online description of the creeks and watershed.  However, the biologically monitoring data is from 1998.  The condition of the creek has seriously declined since then and all parts are considered impaired and in poor condition. Click  for Little Falls Watershed data from Montgomery County.  Click for a watershed map of showing conditions of all the watersheds in Montgomery County.virtual_stream_walk_for_website.pdf