Is it a creek or a stream?

When I list a property my choice of words, and photographs are essential to depicting the property as it is when I’m standing there.  Sometimes this is challenging due to terrain, heavy foliage in different seasons, etc.  Many prospective buyers of mountain property want a water feature such as a creek, or stream.  What’s the difference?

Often times “creek” and “stream” are used interchangably in a conversation. I began to research definitions to determine if there is really a difference, and the results yielded many varying answers.  So, while I try to accurately describe any water feature sometimes it may not be in keeping with someone else’s definition.  Also, by nature… it depends where you’re viewing the water… meaning creeks, and streams narrow and widen as they wind through the land. At some spots they may look narrow but that doesn’t mean the entire length is that same width.

I try to use the following definitions* when listing a property, and describing the water feature to prospective buyers.  Whether you, or someone else defines water features the same way is a matter of opinion, and perspective. However, there are some very obvious differences such as 



Generally, the difference in a water feature is the size:

you can step over a brook,

branch– water from a small stream or brook

jump over a creek,

wade across a stream,

and swim across a river.

But the difference between them (especially creek and stream) is somewhat subjective, and can depend on who named them, and how they are commonly referred to by local folks.

“Spring Creek”- stream



  • Source- & various internet sources

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