Cowans Gap State Park RV & Campground Guide


Nestled inside the Buchanan State Forest, Cowans Gap is a tranquil 1,085-acre state park in Allens Valley, Pennsylvania. With a history dating back centuries as a main route during times of war and revolution, the park is full of ancient trees, diverse vegetation and wildlife in all seasons. A 42-acre lake and stream in the park offer recreational opportunities year-round. Numerous environmental and recreation programs at the park include hands-on activities, guided walks and evening programs.

Nearby Cities:

  • York, PA

  • Harrisburg, PA

  • Fort Louden, PA

  • Chambersburg, PA

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Spring 48-70 F
Summer 78-82 F
Fall 50-75 F
Winter 34-38 F
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Cowans Gap State Park

Campground Accommodations

Cowans Gap State Park Campground

  • Water hookup: No

  • Electrical hookup: Yes

  • Sewer hookup: No

  • Wi-Fi: No

  • Pet-friendly: Yes

  • Max RV length: 55 feet

  • Other amenities: Sanitary dump station, modern restrooms with flush toilets and showers, overnight boat mooring

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

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Cowans Gap State Park

An outdoor enthusiast's paradise, Cowans Gap boasts 13 miles of hiking and biking trails, fishing, boating and winter sports. Spend your time in the park gazing at nature's creatures and admiring the colors of the canvassing trees. Soak up some sun at the sandy beach, and spend a few nights in the campground for a fun-filled family trip. An electric vehicle charging station is available for eco-conscious visitors.

Slow-paced shore fishing or more active trout fishing on the lake, biking on the challenging trails, or lounging on the beach getting a tan are just some of the many recreational activities at Cowans Gap. Bring your binoculars to seek out the wildlife roaming the area, and sit back and listen to the chirping birds and bellowing bullfrogs.

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.

Fishing Fishing

Catch bass, perch, catfish and panfish in the lake, from the shore, out on your boat or off the accessible fishing pier. Get in some great trout fishing on the South Branch of Little Aughwick Creek. Ice fishing is popular in the winter.

Geocaching Geocaching

An accessible cache with permission from the Environmental Education Specialist resides here. It is designated as easy to find with easy terrain.

Nature Watching Nature Watching

The park's lush vegetation is home to singing birds and foraging animals. Catch deer and bears munching on berry bushes. Squirrels and chipmunks scurry around gathering acorns in the autumn months. Bullfrogs emit bass sounds near the stream at night while bats fly overhead. Migratory birds visit in the spring and fall with swans and geese calling the lake home.

Stargazing Stargazing

The Pennsylvania night sky in Allens Valley offers an amazing view of the stars and moon through the openings of the trees. Away from the city lights, you can spot constellations, occasional viewable planets and maybe even a shooting star.

Flora and Fauna

Mountain laurel, berry patches and brush cover the ground of the park. Dozens of hardwood species inhabit the park and surrounding forest, providing a home for whip-poor-wills, owls and songbirds. Marvel at the mix of orange, red and yellow leaves of the trees as the seasons change later in the year. Deer, bears, squirrels and chipmunks are some of the more popular residents of the park.

Hiking Hiking

14 trails in the park combine for over 13 miles of hiking. The trails range from easy for anyone to difficult for more advanced hikers. Some trails are marked as for hiking on foot only with other shared trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing in the winter.


Electric motors are allowed on the lake. There are two boat launches and many mooring spots on the 42-acre lake. Rent rowboats, kayaks, paddleboats and paddleboards from the boating concession area.

Swimming Swimming

A 500-foot sand beach is open during the summer during daylight hours.


The Lakeside Trail is a 1.45-mile paved and gravel route that takes bikers and hikers around the lake. For more rugged mountain biking, check out the North Logging Road Trail and South Logging Road Trail. Each of these trails provides an easy ride in more remote areas of the park.

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How to Get to
Cowans Gap State Park

Cowans Gap State Park is located in southern Pennsylvania just south of Interstate 76 and north of U.S. Highway 30. There are two routes to access the park off Highway 75 from either main road.

Entering Cowans Gap State Park

There is plenty of parking at the park with several lots available at the beach and near the boat ramp.

Pennsylvania state parks are all free to visit. There are no fees for admission or day use.

Cowans Gap State Park Per Vehicle : $0.0

Frequently Asked Questions About Cowans Gap State Park

What is the best time of year to visit 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.

Are there designated RV camping spots in Cowans Gap State Park?

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.

What kind of wildlife can be found in Cowans Gap State Park?

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.

Are pets allowed at Cowans Gap State Park?

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.

Is Cowans Gap State Park accessible for disabled visitors?

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.