Cowans Gap State Park

Quick Facts

Cowans Gap State Park

Pennsylvania

(717) 485-3948

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Cowans Gap State Park is a 1,085-acre park in the beautiful Allens Valley of Fulton County. Cowans Gap is an east and west pass in the north and south running Tuscarora Mountain. The state park is in Allens Valley, a narrow, highland valley between Tuscarora and Cove mountains. The valley floor is over seven hundred feet lower than Tuscarora and Cove mountains, yet Allens Valley is still several hundred feet higher than the surrounding valleys. The highland nature of Cowans Gap State Park makes the park an interesting place to see wildlife in all seasons. You can see the gap from the west side of Cowans Lake, looking east, or from PA 75, looking west. 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. This park offers visitors many hiking trails, the beautiful Cowans Gap Lake, and Little Aughwick Creek for a variety of outdoor recreational activities.

Map of Cowans Gap (PA)

Latitude, Longitude: 39.993147, -77.932534

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Activities

  • Boating

    There are two boat launches and 46 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.

  • Camping

    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.

  • 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.

  • Hiking

    There are 11 miles of trails throughout the park, including the Tuscarora Trail, which 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.

  • Hunting

    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.

  • 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.

  • RVing

    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.

  • Water Sports

    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.

  • Winter Sports

    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. A section of the lake by the beach is available exclusively for ice skating. Closed park roads and some of the hiking trails are suitable for cross-country skiing.

Directions

Driving

The park is north of US 30 between Chambersburg and McConnellsburg. To reach the park from the west take Exit 180, Fort Littleton, of I-76, then US 522 north to Burnt Cabins and follow signs to the park. From the east take Exit 189, Willow Hill, of I-76, then PA 75 south to Richmond Furnace and follow signs to the park. From US 30 take PA 75 north at Fort Loudon to Richmond Furnace and follow signs to the park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(717) 485-3948

Links