Cowans Gap State Park
Cowans Gap State Park is a 1,085-acre park in the beautiful Allens Valley of Fulton County. A 42-acre lake, large campground, rustic cabins and many hiking trails are prime attractions. State forest land surrounds the park, providing additional land for recreation and natural beauty in all seasons.
Seasons and Hours: The park is open every day of the year, sunrise to sunset. Day use areas close at dusk. The park office is open specific hours. The beach, overnight areas, and other areas are open specific seasons and hours. Contact the park office for facility seasons and hours.
Picnicking: Picnic areas are along the eastern side of Cowans Gap Lake. Picnic areas are mostly shaded with several CCC-era stone fireplaces and charcoal grills scattered throughout. Four picnic pavilions may be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. Unreserved picnic pavilions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. Pavilions 2, 3 and 4 are stone and have a fireplace.
Swimming: The 500-foot sand beach is open from May to late September, 8:00 AM to sunset. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming. Swim at your own risk.
Beginning in 2016, smoking is prohibited on the beach and in the swimming area. For visitors who smoke and still want to use this beach, designated areas adjacent to the beach are provided. The restriction includes cigarettes, pipes, cigars, e-cigarettes or other handheld, lighted smoking devices.
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Food and Refreshment Concession: The concession is in the day use area and serves many snacks and sandwiches. It also has ice, charcoal and other camper supplies. The concession is open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.
Boating: electric motors only
Motorboats must display a current boat registration. Non-powered boats must display one of the following: boat registration; launching permit or mooring permit from Pennsylvania State Parks, available at most state park offices; launching permit from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Fishing: The 42-acre Cowans Gap Lake offers excellent trout fishing and also has bass, perch and panfish. There is an ADA accessible fishing pier. The South Branch of Little Aughwick Creek offers good trout fishing.
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws apply. Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.
Hunting and Firearms: About 630 acres are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey and squirrel. The park land borders Buchanan State Forest, which is open to hunting, trapping and dog training.
Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day through March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply. Contact the park office for ADA accessible hunting information.
Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. Other visitors use the park during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment used for hunting may be uncased and ready for use only in authorized hunting areas during hunting seasons. In areas not open to hunting or during non-hunting seasons, firearms and archery equipment shall be kept in the owner’s vehicle or enclosed trailer. Exceptions include: law enforcement officers and individuals with a valid Pennsylvania License to Carry Firearms are authorized to carry a firearm concealed on their person while they are within a state park.
Complete information on hunting rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Web site.
Hiking: 11 miles of trails
Cameron Trail: 0.5-mile, more difficult hiking
Geyer Trail: 0.5-mile, most difficult hiking
Logging Road Trail: 1.7 miles, easiest hiking
Horseshoe Trail: 0.5 mile, most difficult hiking
Knobsville Road Trail: 1.3 miles, more difficult hiking
Lakeside Trail: 1.5 miles, easiest hiking
One Mile Trail: 0.4 mile, easiest hiking
Plessinger Trail: 1.1 miles, more difficult hiking
Ski Trail: 0.2 mile, easiest hiking
Three Mile Trail: 1.1 miles, more difficult hiking
Tuscarora Trail: 110 miles (2-miles in the park), blue blazes, more difficult hiking
Standing Stone Hiking Trail: 76 miles (2.4 miles in the park), orange blazes, most difficult hiking
Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
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Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
Rustic Cabins: Ten rustic cabins are available during the spring, summer and fall. The three-room cabins have a four-person overnight capacity and contain a refrigerator, stove, inside fireplace and two bunk beds. Up to two dogs are permitted in designated cabins for an additional fee. There is no indoor plumbing in the cabins. A water faucet is outside. A central comfort station has showers and flush toilets. The cabins are on the National Register of Historic Places because they were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
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Organized Group Tenting: This camping area holds organized groups of up to forty people. The restroom has flush toilets but no showers and is open from the second Friday of April to the third Sunday in October.
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Cross-country Skiing: Closed park roads and some of the hiking trails are suitable for cross-country skiing.
Ice Fishing: The 42-acre Cowans Gap Lake is open for ice fishing except for the ice skating area. Ice thickness is monitored only in the ice skating area.
Ice Skating: A section of the lake by the beach is available exclusively for ice skating. Ice thickness is monitored in the beach area.
Environmental Education and Interpretation
The park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs, participants gain appreciation, understanding and develop a sense of stewardship toward natural and cultural resources.
Curriculum-based environmental education programs are available to schools and youth groups. Teacher workshops are available. Group programs must be arranged in advance and may be scheduled by calling the park office. Programs are offered April to November. Contact the park office for more detailed information.
Explore the Calendar of Events for a listing of upcoming events.
Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.
Access for People with Disabilities
Park facilities available for use by people with disabilities include picnic areas, campground, cabins, parking and a fishing pier. Restrooms in these areas are designated with the symbol for accessibility. A special vehicle permit is issued at the park office to give access to areas of the park not open to vehicles.
If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.