Cowans Gap State Park RV & Campground Guide
- State Parks
- Cowans Gap State Park
In the early days of the United States, the land around Cowans Gap State Park sat on the western edge of the 13 British colonies. Today, the park is a peaceful and popular southern-Pennsylvania escape known for its expansive views of Allens Valley and spectacular fall colors. A small lake reflects the forested shores, offering year-round recreational opportunities. Come in the summer for the warm weather and kid-friendly swimming, and return after the snow falls to try ice skating and cross-country skiing. Set about 100 miles from Baltimore, 65 miles from Harrisburg, and eight miles from tiny McConnellsburg, the park is easily accessible for weekend adventures and longer vacations.
Spring 25-65 F
Summer 55-80 F
Fall 30-75 F
Winter 15-38 F
Fort Loudon, PA
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Cowans Gap State Park
Enjoy your trip to Cowans Gap State Park to the fullest by swapping your tent for an RV. Whether you're coming with friends or little ones, a cozy motorhome ensures that everyone gets a good night's sleep. Spend less time driving and more time enjoying the wilderness by choosing a local RV rental from RVshare.
Cowans Gap State Park Campgrounds
With more than 200 campsites spread over two locations, the Cowans Gap State Park Campgrounds offer plenty of space for overnight visits. Most sites in the park can accommodate RVs, and each one offers electric hookups. Make sure to check the site length when booking; some are large enough to hold big rigs up to 66 feet long while others are as small as 25 feet long. An easy walk from camp, you'll find modern toilets and warm showers. If you're bringing a boat, your site fee includes access to an overnight mooring spot. Rates start at $28 per night.
Burnt Cabins Grist Mill & Campground
Located seven miles north of Cowans Gap State Park, Burnt Cabins Grist Mill & Campground is an exciting spot for families and history buffs. Near your campsite, you can tour a historic grist mill and watch a water wheel in action. Alternatively, head to the nearby stream for world-class trout fishing. In the campground, you'll find 24 full-hookup sites; 12 sites feature extra space and pull-through access for big rigs. An additional 12 sites offer creek views and hookups for water and electricity. All of the sites sit an easy walk from the camp store, modern bathrooms, hot showers, and laundry room. Rates range from $32-$35 per night, and there's a two-night minimum on holidays.
RV Rentals Near Cowans Gap State Park
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What to Do at
Cowans Gap State Park
Inside Cowans Gap State Park
Summer is the busy season at Cowans Gap State Park. Most visitors head straight to the lake to swim from the sandy beach and fish from the shore. Bring your own boat — electric motors are permitted — or rent paddleboats, rowboats, and kayaks from the park. On land, 13 miles of hiking trails take you up the ridges and along the water. The Three Mile Trail is popular during the spring wildflower bloom, and the challenging Knobsville Road Trail gives you the chance to check out the views from Cove Mountain. When winter arrives, the park's lake freezes over, and locals come for the excellent ice fishing and open-air ice skating. You can also cross-country ski around the lake when the snow levels are high enough.
Outside Cowans Gap State Park
Cowans Gap State Park sits in the heart of the Valley and Ridge area. It's surrounded by state game lands, state forests, and other beautiful outdoor recreation areas, each packed with opportunities for adventure. If you're bringing a passenger vehicle, you'll find a few dining and shopping options within 20 minutes of the park.
The Mountain House Restaurant
Located about six miles from the park, The Mountain House Restaurant is the closest dining option. It's well worth the trip, especially if you sit outside on the gorgeous deck, which offers views over the valley. With a menu that includes burgers, wings, and beer, this spot is popular with hikers, bikers, and day-trippers.
Location: 18734 Lincoln Hwy, McConnellsburg, PA 17233
Milky Way Restaurant
The Milky Way Restaurant is a classic diner-style spot with friendly service and a laid-back vibe. Stop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner; if you're in the mood for a burger, try the Dilliburger and finish off your meal with an ice-cream sundae.
Location: 99 Path Valley Rd, Fort Loudon, PA 17224
With a menu that's packed with sandwiches, wraps, and burgers, Wild Annie's is the ideal location for a quick lunch. At dinner, fill up on crab cakes and steak. The upscale-casual interior is elegant, but the cheerful service reflects the restaurant's roots as a local food truck.
Location: 300 Lowry Dr., McConnellsburg, PA 17233
Mamma's Pizza & Restaurant
Mamma's Pizza & Restaurant offers all of the usual pizza options, making it a great spot for hikers and families. Make sure to try the specialty "wedge," a pizza sandwich with two crusts and a generous amount of filling.
Location: 138 Buchanan Trail, McConnellsburg, PA 17233
The New Fort Restaurant
If you're coming to Cowans Gap State Park from the north, make sure to stop at The New Fort Restaurant. Serving homestyle entrees in a relaxed setting, it's ideal for families and couples. Bring your appetite for the big plates of steak and seafood; you can also choose from a small selection of salads and hot sandwiches.
Location: 29423 Great Cove Rd, Fort Littleton, PA 17223
Tickle Your Fancy Gifts & Tea
Stocked with a charming array of clothing, jewelry, and gifts, Tickle Your Fancy Gifts & Tea is made for browsing. Get your camera ready; the exterior of the historic shop features a stunning blue and white color scheme that seems made for Instagram.
Location: 110 Lincoln Way W, McConnellsburg, PA 17233
If you're in need of hunting, fishing, or archery supplies, head straight for Keystone Outdoors. You'll also find a selection of outdoor clothing and camping gear to keep you comfortable in camp.
Location: 186 Path Valley Rd, Fort Loudon, PA 17224
Get ready for a weekend or a long camping trip at GIANT. One of the closest grocery stores to Cowans Gap State Park, this store has a big selection and a well-kept interior.
Location: 360 S 2nd St, McConnellsburg, PA 17233
Buchanan's Birthplace State Park
Drive 12 miles south of Cowans Gap State Park to reach Buchanan's Birthplace State Park. Bring your tackle box and fish for trout from the shore of Bucks Run, or pack a lunch and dine outdoors in the picnic pavilions. The highlight of the park is an unusual stone pyramid that marks the birthplace of former President James Buchanan.
Location: 6235 Aughwick Road, Fort Loudon, PA 17224
Fulton County Historical Museum
Located inside the historic Fulton House, the Fulton County Historical Museum offers a glimpse of life in the early 1800s. The museum is only open in the summer and provides a selection of exhibits that depict the history of the area. During your visit, ask about local historical sites such as the Big Spring Cemetery and the marker for the site of the Coombs Fort.
Location: 211 Lincoln Way E, Mcconnellsburg, PA 17233
In the mid-1700s, Fort Loudoun housed a company of soldiers assigned to protect the local settlers. Although it operated for less than 10 years, it played a key role in the French and Indian War and the western expansion of the British immigrants. Today, you can explore the beautiful grounds and discover the fascinating history of the local Native American population and the unusual fighting tactics of the soldiers.
Location: 1720 North Brooklyn Road, Fort Loudon PA 17224
Sideling Hill State Forest Picnic Area
Enjoy the views from the summit of Sideling Hill Mountain at the Sideling Hill State Forest Picnic Area. Take a scenic drive to the top and let your little ones run free in the grassy field, or enjoy a picnic in the fresh air. If you're in search of adventure, check out the nearby 15-mile ATV trail.
Location: 2371 Lincoln Hwy, Breezewood, PA 15533
Mx23 Unleashed PA
Local motorsports enthusiasts flock to Mx23 Unleashed PA, a motocross race area that hosts a full schedule of events. Bring layers to keep you comfortable as you watch the action on the wild, rugged dirt tracks.
Location: 22382 Starr Rd, Three Springs, PA 17264
How to Get to
Cowans Gap State Park
Cowans Gap State Park is accessible from the north and the south via State Route 4004 or State Route 1005. From Highway 30 in the south, turn north between McConnellsburg and Fort Loudon. From Interstate 76 in the north, take State Route 1005 south near Burnt Cabins.
Entering Cowans Gap State Park
Cowans Gap State Park is open to visitors every day of the year. The park itself is open from sunrise to sunset, and day-use spots close at dusk.
Cowans Gap State Park Per vehicle : $0.0
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Frequently Asked Questions About Cowans Gap State Park
Summer is the ideal time to visit Cowans Gap State Park. During summer, the mountain laurel blooms along the hiking trails. Summer is also when the 500-foot sandy beach is best for building sandcastles and swimming.
There are two campgrounds at Cowans Gap State Park. There is a courtesy dump station, and 30- and 50-amp electric hookups are available. Campers can moor their boats overnight for free.
Throughout the park, you will see special boxes where bats live during the summer. Wild turkeys and deer are abundant, and you are also likely to see smaller animals, including squirrels and chipmunks.
Leashed pets are allowed on the trails at Cowans Gap State Park. If you are camping and bringing your pet, choose one of the designated pet-friendly camping sites. Pets are not permitted on the beach or in the swimming areas.
Many Cowans Gap State Park areas are ADA-compliant, including the picnic areas and campground. There is also a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. If you need further assistance, call the park office before your visit.