The Coupled Routing and Excess STorage model (CREST, jointly developed by the University of Oklahoma and NASA SERVIR) is a distributed hydrological model developed to simulate the spatial and temporal variation of land surface, and subsurface water fluxes and storages by cell-to-cell simulation. CREST's distinguishing characteristics include: (1) distributed rainfall-runoff generation and cell-to-cell routing; (2) coupled runoff generation and routing via three feedback mechanisms; and (3) representation of sub-grid cell variability of soil moisture storage capacity and sub-grid cell routing (via linear reservoirs). The coupling between the runoff generation and routing mechanisms allows detailed and realistic treatment of hydrological variables such as soil moisture. Furthermore, the representation of soil moisture variability and routing processes at the sub-grid scale enables the CREST model to be readily scalable to multi-scale modelling research. This paper presents the model development and demonstrates its applicability for a case study in the Nzoia basin located in Lake Victoria, Africa.