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Cowans Gap State Park



Appalachian Trail- The Pennsylvania Appalachian Trail segment touches nine public lands offering an opportunity for refreshment at campgrounds, restroom facilities, beaches and concessions. Many of the state parks and state forests along the route offer scenic overlooks, picnic grounds, fishing opportunities and fresh drinking water.
Buchanan State Forest- The Buchanan State Forest was named in honor of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States. The area consists of five principal tracts that cover seventy thousand acres of Commonwealth-owned forest lands, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Buchanan's Birthplace State Park- This park is nestled in the gap of Tuscarora Mountain. Dedicated in honor of the 15th president of the United States, this narrow, peaceful hollow is the site of James Buchanan's birthplace. A stone pyramid monument surrounded by majestic conifers stands on the site of the original cabin where he was born.







Buchanan's Birthplace State Park is an 18.5 -acre park. Nestled in a gap of the Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County, the park and the forested mountains surrounding it offer an abundance of beauty throughout the year.
Tuscarora State Forest- The current forest plan sets objectives for sound multiple-use forest management which includes the maximum sustained yield of high quality timber products; protection of watersheds for the maximum yield of potable water; the exploration and the wise development of mineral resources; and providing the types of recreational opportunities available only from large tracts of forest land.

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General Information

Cowans Gap State Park
Copyright: - Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks
Cowans Gap State Park
Description - Cowans Gap State Park is a 1,085-acre park located in a beautiful valley of the scenic Tuscarora Mountains of Fulton County. The state forest land surrounding the park offers visitors with an abundance of natural beauty during all seasons of the year. Cowan Gap is a wonderful relaxing park to visit. It offers lake swimming during the summer months, boat launches, trout fishing, shady picnic groves, 10 miles of hiking trails, a campground and 10 rustic cabins. There is also a group tent area for youth and organized groups. The park is used during the winter months for ice fishing, ice skating and cross-country skiing.

Cowans Gap State Park also offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and campfire 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.

Approximately 630 acres of Cowans Gap State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey and squirrel.

Attractions - Cowans Gap State Park is a 1,085-acre park located in a beautiful valley of the scenic Tuscarora Mountains of Fulton County. The state forest land surrounding the park offers visitors with an abundance of natural beauty during all seasons of the year.

Cowans Gap was named after Major Samuel Cowans. Major Cowans was a British officer during the Revolutionary War. He fell in love with the daughter of a Boston merchant, but being a British officer he was rejected by his love's father. After the war, he returned to Boston and the two eloped to Chambersburg. After a few years, they decided to move to the bluegrass Region of Kentucky. Their wagon broke down en route and they traded their wagon to an American Indian chief for the tract of land that later became known as Cowans Gap.

The first park facilities were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps and opened in 1937. The CCC built the lake, picnic shelters, cabins and roads.

Recreation - Cowan Gap is a wonderful relaxing park to visit. It offers lake swimming during the summer months, boat launches, trout fishing, shady picnic groves, campground and 10 rustic cabins. There is also a group tent area for youth and organized groups. The park is used during the winter months for ice fishing, ice skating and cross-country skiing.

There are 10 miles of hiking trails in the park and many more trails in the adjacent state forest land. Due to the terrain, some of the trails are not for beginners especially sections of Cameron, Horseshoe and Three Mile Trails. The 105 mile Tuscarora Trail travels through Cowans Gap. It runs parallel to the Appalachian Trail and junctions with it and the Darling Trail near Deans Gap, north of Carlisle. The Tuscarora Trail is marked with rectangular blue blaze marks painted on trees. Horseshoe Trail is found on the north boundary of the park, while Geyer and Cameron Trails are found on the south boundary of the park. Each may be accessed off Tuscarora Trail. Forbes Road Trail is not a state park hiking trail but a section travels through the park on Stumpy Lane and Allen Valley Roads.

Cowans Gap State Park offers a wide variety of environmental education and interpretive programs. Through hands-on activities, guided walks and campfire 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.

Approximately 630 acres of Cowans Gap State Park are open to hunting, trapping and the training of dogs during established seasons. Common game species are deer, turkey and squirrel. Hunting woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, is prohibited. Dog training is only permitted from the day following Labor Day to March 31 in designated hunting areas. The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission rules and regulations apply.

Use extreme caution with firearms at all times. The park is used by other visitors during hunting seasons. Firearms and archery equipment 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 camp.

The park land borders state forest land which is open to hunting, trapping and dog training.

Climate - Pennsylvania generally has a moist climate with cold winters and warm summers. The Cowans Gap State Park area has cold winter months with temperatures averaging above 28 degrees Fahrenheit (above -2 degrees Celsius). The area's average summer temperatures range around 72 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 23 Celsius).

Location - The park is located between Chambersburg and McConnellsburg. To reach the park from the west take Exit 13, Fort Littleton, of the PA Turnpike, then US Route 522 North to Burnt Cabins and follow signs to the park. From the east, take Exit 14, Willow Hill, of the PA Turnpike, then PA Route 75 South to Richmond Furnace and follow signs. From US Route 30 take Route 75 North at Fort Loudon to Richmond Furnace and follow signs.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: gloria walters (atlas, pa)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: we always picnic closest to the beach .we have wathed the park grow. we have been takeing our children there since they were babies and now we want to take they're babies.we are just waitting for the park to be open again.


More Information

Contact Information:
Cowans Gap State Park, HC 17266 , Fort Loudon, PA, 17224-9801, Phone: 717-485-3948
, cowansgapsp@state.pa.us

Additional Information:
Appalachian Trail - The Appalachian Trail is a footpath of more than 2,150 miles with 222 miles lying in Pennsylvania. In 1921, U.S. Forest Service planner, Benton MacKaye wrote a magazine article suggesting a trail be established to connect Mount Washington in New Hampshire to Mount Mitchell in North Carolina. As a result, in 1925 the Appalachian Trail Conference chose the exact path, flagged the path, built various sections, including shelters, bridges and steps. They even wrote guidebooks to aid the hiker and backpacker. In 1968, Congress passed the National Trails System Act, making the A.T. and the Pacific Crest Trail (a Canada to Mexico path) the first National Scenic Trails. Today there are ten clubs in Virginia that help maintain the trail which now extends from Mount Katahdin, Maine to Springer Mountain, Georgia.
Buchanan State Forest - The Buchanan State Forest was named in honor of James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States. The area consists of five principal tracts that cover seventy thousand acres of Commonwealth-owned forest lands, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Buchanan's Birthplace State Park - This park is nestled in the gap of Tuscarora Mountain. Dedicated in honor of the 15th president of the United States, this narrow, peaceful hollow is the site of James Buchanan's birthplace. A stone pyramid monument surrounded by majestic conifers stands on the site of the original cabin where he was born.







Buchanan's Birthplace State Park is an 18.5 -acre park. Nestled in a gap of the Tuscarora Mountain in Franklin County, the park and the forested mountains surrounding it offer an abundance of beauty throughout the year.
Laurel Highlands / Southern Alleghenies Area - This area's mountains, valleys, rivers, meadows and woodlands make it irresistible for relaxation and recreation. It also has Mt. Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests - Pennsylvania is known for producing some of the most valuable hardwood timber in the world. The 2.1 million acres of state forest land are protected from fire, destructive insects and diseases while offering a beautiful recreation environment for the visitor. Pennsylvania's State Park system offers visitors year-round recreational enjoyment as well. Amenities include: camping, picnicking, hiking, an assortment of winter sports and the viewing of the natural biological diversity and ecosystems found within the Commonwealth.

Links:
Pennsylvania State Parks - Official agency website

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