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.

Click here to see the NOAA weather for this park.
Click on the Map It! logo to go to an interative GIS map of this park.
Click on this FaceBook logo to go to this park's FaceBook page.
Click on this Twitter logo to go to this park's Twitter feed.
Click on this Flickr logo to go to the Flickr page of Pennsylvania State Parks.



Hiking   -  Picnicking   -  Swimming   -  Boating   -  Fishing   -  Hunting   -  Education   -  Cross-country Skiing   -  Ice Fishing   -  Ice Skating   -  Organized Group Tenting   -  Cabins   -  Camping


A cozy stone cabin is surounded by fall-colored leaves at Cowans Gap State Park, Pennsylvania.The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.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.

Click on this orange dot to make a reservation at a Pennsylvania State Park.

Make a reservation.


Swimming: The 500-foot sand beach is open from late May to mid-September, 8 a.m. to sunset. Please read and follow posted rules for swimming. Swim at your own risk.


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
There are two boat launches and 32 mooring spaces on 42-acre Cowans Gap Lake. A boating concession in the day use area rents rowboats, kayaks and paddle boats and is open daily in the summer.

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.

Complete information on boating rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.


A pair of anglers fish in the lake at Cowans Gap State Park, Pennsylvania.The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.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.

Complete information on fishing rules and regulations in Pennsylvania is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Web site.


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.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 car, trailer or leased campsite. 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
Trails vary in difficulty from flat to very steep.

Cameron Trail: 0.5-mile, more difficult hiking
This very steep, boundary trail is on the south end of the park and ends atop Cove Mountain. The CCC built this trail for firefighting access to Buchanan State Forest.

Geyer Trail: 0.5-mile, most difficult hiking
This rather steep boundary trail passes through areas of mountain laurel. The trail starts along Aughwick Road then climbs Tuscarora Mountain to Tuscarora Trail.

Logging Road Trail: 1.7 miles, easiest hiking
This old logging road can be walked from one end of the park to the other and is a good trail to use to make loop hikes with other trails on the side of Cove Mountain.

Horseshoe Trail: 0.5 mile, most difficult hiking
This very steep and very rugged trail passes over a lot of loose stone on steep slopes. The trail starts at the intersection of Tuscarora Trail below the park dam and  climbs to the top of Cove Mountain ending on Knobsville Road Trail. Experienced hikers only!

Knobsville Road Trail: 1.3 miles, more difficult hiking
This old road climbs to the top of Cove Mountain, past the park’s landslide interpretive exhibit, a CCC-era incinerator and a park overlook. Cresting Cove Mountain, hikers enter state forest land and can walk down to the intersection of Horseshoe Trail. Please respect private property by not following the old road trace onto private land.

Hikers walk through sunlight-dappled trees at Cowans Gap State Park, Pennsylvania.Lakeside Trail: 1.5 miles, easiest hiking
This very pleasant, nearly level, scenic trail encircles Cowans Gap Lake. This is the most popular trail in the park.

One Mile Trail: 0.4 mile, easiest hiking
This mountain laurel shaded trail begins along Aughwick Road just above the park office, then winds along the bottom of Tuscarora Mountain to join the Three Mile Trail. Hikers can then follow Three Mile Trail to the left returning to Aughwick Road across from Parking Lot #3, follow Aughwick Road back to the beginning of One Mile trail having walked about one mile.

Plessinger Trail: 1.1 miles, more difficult hiking
This rocky, streamside trail meanders alongside Aughwick Creek and is a great access trail for anglers and a pleasant walk for wildlife watchers.

Ski Trail: 0.2 mile, easiest hiking
This short spur trail connects Parking Lot #7 with Logging Road Trail above Camping Area B.

Three Mile Trail: 1.1 miles, more difficult hiking
This trail begins along Aughwick Road across from the upper end of Camping Area A. The trail wanders through mountain laurel on the side of Tuscarora Mountain and is a nice trail to walk in June when the mountain laurel is in bloom.

Tuscarora Trail: 2-mile section in the park, more difficult hiking
Tuscarora Trail is a spur trail to the Appalachian Trail. The more popular section to walk is a 1.5-mile section beginning across Aughwick Road from Parking Lot #3, climbing along Tuscarora Mountain to the junction with Geyer Trail. Once at the junction with Geyer Trail, hikers can return to the day use area, retracing the walk from Parking Lot #3, or follow Geyer Trail to Cameron Trail then to Plessinger Trail returning to the day use area, or take the Tuscarora Trail another 2.4 miles south to the top of Big Mountain and a spectacular overlook of the Path Valley and Franklin County. From the Big Mountain Overlook, hikers will have a 3.9-mile return hike back to the park. The Cowans Gap section of the trail is renowned for its unusual rock outcroppings and rock fields.

Standing Stone Hiking Trail: 72 miles, orange blazes, difficult hiking
Starting near the Cowans Gap Beach Area, this trail goes north to join Greenwood Furnace State Park. Part of the Great Eastern Trail system, this trail offers beautiful vistas and a challenging experience to the seasoned hiker. This trail connects to the Mid State Trail, Tuscarora Trail and the Appalachian Trail.


Stay the Night


The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.Camping: flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups
Cowans Gap has 201 campsites in two areas. The camping area has a sanitary dump station and modern comfort stations with flush toilets and hot showers. The campsites can accommodate campers from a small tent to a large motor home. Seven walk-in tent sites are adjacent to Camping Area B. An overnight courtesy boat mooring area is provided for registered campers during their stay at the park. The camping area is open from the second Friday of April until the day following deer season in December. Pets are permitted on designated sites.

Explore the campground map.

Explore camping for more information.

Click on this orange dot to make a reservation at a Pennsylvania State Park.

Make a reservation.


Free Camping for Campground Hosts: 2 host positions
The campground host sites amenities include 50-amp electric service with water hookup at one site. Hosts are required to assist park personnel 40 hours per week, five (5) days a week; provide information to visitors; post all sites daily with permits; and clean fire rings. Contact the park office for additional information and availability.


A cozy stone cabin is surounded by fall-colored leaves at Cowans Gap State Park, Pennsylvania.The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.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. There is no indoor plumbing in the cabins. A water faucet is outside. A central comfort station has showers and flush toilets. Up to two dogs are permitted in Cabin C for a fee.

Explore the campground map.

Explore cabins for more information.

Click on this orange dot to make a reservation at a Pennsylvania State Park.

Make a reservation.


Organized Group Tenting: This camping area holds organized groups of up to forty people. The area has a modern restroom with flush toilets and is open from the second Friday of April to the third Sunday in October.

Explore organized group tenting for more information.


Winter Activities


Explore the Winter Report for the current snow and ice depths.


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. For your safety, be sure the ice is four inches thick and carry safety equipment.


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 events from today forward.

Explore environmental education and interpretation for more information.


Access for People with Disabilities


The park facilities 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.

The ADA symbol indicates that this activity or structure is ADA accessible.If you need an accommodation to participate in park activities due to a disability, please contact the park you plan to visit.