Cowans Gap State Park is a diverse landscape nestled within the scenic Allens Valley of Fulton County. Campers come to enjoy the park’s 1,085 acres which offer a large lake, a full-size campground, provincial lodges, and many climbing trails throughout. Aside from the attractions, Buchanan State Forest encompasses the park, offering up fun and beauty regardless of the season. Open every day of the year, the park is a great place to visit for day-trip recreation. That said, if planning to camp here you’ll want to prepare in advance as campsite availability changes by the season.
One of the unique offerings that Cowans Gap features is a number of environmental educational programs for the local public. These programs serve to help the pubic, especially the youth, foster a sense of responsibility for the nature that surrounds them every day. There are guided walks, hands-on activities, and even evening programs for those up to it.
Aside from the educational opportunities, Cowans Gap is also right in the center of over 71,000+ acres of protected land thanks to Buchanan State Forest. There are 19 tracts of forest which occupy the acreage, showcasing numerous ravines, gulches, and brooks as well as groves of pine, hemlock, and maple.
Subsequently, this wild and rugged backdrop attracts hikers, campers, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts from all over. A number of state game lands located nearby are also popular visiting places for season hunters looking to bag an elk or other large game.
Within the campground itself, there’s a variety of fun activities to get in on. During the winter, the park lake freezes making it perfect for ice-fishing and other winter fun. There’s also a maintained skating rink, so you can even come and ice-skate or play a quick game of hockey.
It’s during the warmer months however that Cowans Gap state park really starts to shine. Once the lake unfreezes, campers flock for kayaking, canoeing, and pedal boating. The campground itself starts to bustle as children and families visit the local volleyball courts, and check out the nearby trails on Horseback. The lake offers a sandy beach area to recreate, as well as a pier for fishers to get easier access to deep water.
Campsites are fully serviced here, and spacious enough to accommodate most families. There are restrooms available throughout the park, and a full-service concession stand for firewood and other conveniences. There are also cabins available for rental, but like most parks be sure to plan ahead as they tend to fill up quick.
Absolutely amazing fall color on the lake and great drives surrounding. Bathrooms are clean and hot showers.
We had a great stay at Cowans Gap. Very pretty park in a scenic valley between two mountain ranges. Very easy drive from DC. The sites around us were nicely spaced apart (we were in Loop A, site 142) but some other areas did loop more crowded. Nice hike up the Tuscarora trail - pretty steep with a few rock scrambles that made for a challenging but fun hike with our six-year-old.
If you are used to primitive/secluded camping this is not the campground for you. We arrived and there was a ton of trash in our site. Someone left their air fresheners, handbag tags from marshalls, and a ton of other junk. This campground is also very noisy. There are supposed to be quiet hours but people were playing loud music from their cars, from speakers, and whatever else until at least 11pm. Our site had no privacy either, we were right next to several other sites (closer than other state parks we've been to). Physical distancing and mask wearing was not enforced/required. People in the close quarters of the restroom were not wearing masks and didn't seem to mind getting within 6 feet of other people. The woman at the front office who we checked in with even took her mask off because it was fogging up her glasses. Oh, and the wood that we purchased from the camp host was wet, so the fire was a dud until a friendly neighbor gave us some of his wood.
The only positive thing about this campground was the hiking. The first day we hiked up the mountain to the west of the campground, and the second day we hiked up the Tuscarora Trail to the east of the campground. No other campers were hiking these, so we got to appreciate nature by having the trails mostly to ourselves.
Un lugar bonito para llevar a la familia y quedarse a dormir el sitio cuenta con cabañas y sitios de tiendas de campaña es silencioso y limpio todos los baños cuenta con regaderas excelente lugar
Our trip to Cowan's Gap was great--and the weather was amazing as well!
- Easily accessible and CLEAN bathhouse and showers.
- Sites spaces out and separated by trees
- Lake access within walking distance
- Hiking trails nearby
- Polite, approachable hosts
- "Beach" access
- Camp store with concessions
- Kayak rentals on site
- You can hear the people on the beach from across the lake--lots of kids screaming
- The overlook access road was closed
- Camp store only open 11-5
- Firewood (purchases there) just would.not.burn!
Great place to camp. Sites all have fire ring and picnic table. Firewood readily available, $5 a bundle or 5 for $20. Would say you will go through at least 2 bundles a night depending on how long you like your fire lit. Incredibly clean bathrooms and private. Very quiet and family friendly. Great hiking around. Can hear some road noise on occasion, but not all the time.
Beach does get crowded during the day but by dusk it's quieted down.
We stayed in Campground B closer to the lake, not sure how A is.
Beautiful mountain retreat. Quiet and peaceful! There are many hiking and biking trails and a nice lake for fishing, swimming, and kayaking or canoeing. Swimming beach and adequate facilities. You are totally off the grid as far as cell, WiFi, and TV signal. Be prepared to be out of communication during your stay.
We went to Cowans gap last full for a Halloween weekend and the children loved it. We even won the campsite decorating contest. We went this summer and camped in A-tent with friends of ours who had never done it Before & After the amazing trip at callans gap they want to do it again. Awesome beach, nice sights, And a quiet area what more could you want.
One of our favorites! campground sits right on a gorgeous lake. Lots of fishing options including boats you can rent. A walking trail wraps around the whole lake. There's lots of hiking trails, a real sand beach and swimming area, pedal boat and canoe rentals. You wont be disappointed!
Great park. Clean bath houses