Cowan Lake State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located in southwestern Ohio, Cowan Lake State Park is a nature lover`s delight. This peaceful lake setting offers the perfect balance of recreation and relaxation for your next RV vacation. This lake setting is appealing to naturalists as it is complete with a wooded shoreline and scenic inlets. Swimming, fishing, picnicking, boating, hiking, and hunting are the popular outdoor activities at this lotus-laden, 1,775-acre State Park.
If you love boating, the 700-acre Cowan Lake has three boat ramps for easy access and a 10-horsepower limit. Boats, canoes, and seasonal dock rental services are available. Fishing is allowed on the lake for you to enjoy catches of crappie, muskie, catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass. For hikers, there are four miles worth of hiking trails traversing through the natural mature woodlands of the park.
Once you park your camper, take a stroll on the mile-long Lotus Cove Trail. It will lead you to the American lotus water lily colony. The longest trail is Spillway at over 2.5 miles long. Several areas are designated for swimming during daylight hours, and the 1,000-foot public swimming beach on the south lakeshore offers changing rooms and showers. The park also has three picnic areas equipped with picnic tables and grills. Outdoor winter activities at Cowan Lake State Park include ice fishing, sledding, and cross-country skiing when weather conditions allow.

RV Rentals in Cowan Lake State Park

Transportation in Cowan Lake State Park

Driving

Cowan Lake State Park lies about nine miles south of Wilmington, Ohio, and is not far off I-71 between Cincinnati and Columbus. There are multiple entrances to the park off OH-730, OH-350, and US-68, depending on where in the park you would like to be. If you are turning off the S-71 and driving along the OH-350, take note that the route is steep, and there are several switch-backs, so make sure to take the necessary precautions when driving.
Roads within Cowan Lake State Park are well designed and paved to ensure that you can move with ease, whether in you are in a campervan or a car. These local roads will take you anywhere you want to go within the park, from the entrance to the beach, and the campground. Minimal driving restrictions at Cowan Lake State Park ensures that you can easily access different recreation spots within the park. It is just as easy to get around on foot. The park has more than four miles of hiking trails that begin near the cabin and camping areas and traverse throughout the scenic locations of the park.

Parking

There are several options for parking RVs and trailers with well-spaced parking lots spread across the park. There are also two scenic parking spaces near the dam spillway. These ADA-accessible parking spaces are well marked to ensure that there is no traffic interference or congestion within the park. If you are staying overnight, you can park your rig at the campground.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Cowan Lake State Park

Campsites in Cowan Lake State Park

Reservations camping

Alternative Camping

There are 22 cabins available at Cowan Lake State Park. Two of these have been specially designed for those with limited physical mobility and sleep five people each. There are nine preferred cabins that each sleep six people, and some offer a gas fireplace. The standard cabins sleep four people, and there are 11 of them, three of which are pet-friendly. Cabins are fully equipped with cutlery, crockery, and linen, and each has parking, a charcoal grill, and a picnic table. There is also a bathroom with a shower, basin, and toilet. If you want to stay in a cabin, reservations must be made in advance of your stay.

Cowan Lake State Park Campground

Cowan Lake State Park's campground has 254 campsites, 237 of which offer electric hookups. Four of the campsites are wheelchair accessible. Once you set up your rig, you can cook up and serve a delicious meal, thanks to the fire ring and picnic table right at your site. Facilities at the campsites include shower houses, laundry facilities, flush toilets, and a dump station. Pets are also welcome on all sites. Fun amenities at the campground include a camper`s beach, a basketball court, and a launch ramp. A camp store is available at the campsites. It offers snacks, ice cream, and has a grill where you can get something to eat. The camp store is also the place to rent camping items, bikes, and kayaks.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Cowan Lake State Park

In-Season

Fort Ancient State Memorial

If you're keen to venture outside the park during your visit, Fort Ancient is worth a visit. Located just 10 miles west along the OH-350, you can see the walls American Indians built by hand using soil carried in baskets. The site itself is beautiful to explore, but the museum, archaeological site, and programs on offer bring it all to life. There are also hiking trails to explore, which offer beautiful scenic views of the surrounding area, and picnic areas are dotted along the road at the site. Fort Ancient State Memorial is open year-round and offers activities that will be of great value to the whole family.

Swimming

Swimming is a major outdoor activity at the park. Cowan Lake State Park has a 1,000-foot public beach located on the south lakeshore. You'll love the on-site amenities including a bathhouse, showers, and a snack bar. Swimming is only allowed during daylight hours, and pets are not permitted on swimming beaches. Don't forget to bring your towels, floaties, and your other beach gear with you in your Airstream, because you won't want to miss a day near the water.

Boating

Visitors love boating at Cowan Lake State Park, and boats with a 10 horsepower limit are allowed on the Lake. Sailing is also very popular.
You can easily access the 700-acre lake via the three launch ramps surrounding the lake. Boats, motors, kayaks, and canoes are available for rent at the concession at the South Shore Marina. Fuel and supplies for fishing can also be purchased here. Seasonal dock rental is also available. Boat camping and boat swimming are possible on the north side of the lake near the campground. Make sure to bring along trash bags as there are no trash cans provided at the marina and boat ramps.

Picnicking

Cowan Lake State Park has three designated picnic areas well fitted with picnic tables and outdoor grills. The picnic areas can be found in tree-shaded areas with great views of the lake. You'll love the scenic view of Cowan Lake at the Pine Tree picnic area. Picnic supplies can be rented at the service at the South Shore Marina Concession if needed. The park also has three shelter houses, which can seat up to 50 people. The one at the Hilltop is first-come, first-served, but the other two must be reserved at least three days in advance. These reservable shelters can be found at the Dance Pavilion and in the campground.

Off-Season

Fishing

Cowan Lake State Park is an ideal place to go fishing. With a depth of between 10 and 42 feet, Lake Cowan offers you good spots to wet your line. The lake is annually stocked with numerous fish, including crappies, bluegill, catfish, carp, and saugeye. Gizzard shad are the primary forage species. There is an accessible fishing pier near the Pine Tree Picnic area. If you didn't bring your own fishing gear in your rig, no worries, you could rent some at the park, and there are also boats for hire. You must possess a valid Ohio fishing licenseto go fishing.

Hiking

Cowan Lake State Park has six hiking trails, which total four miles all together, with trailheads close to the camping areas. These trails all lead to beautifully scenic spots in the park. The shortest trail is Beechnut Loop, which is half-mile long, while Spillway is the longest stretching for over 2.5 miles. Take a walk along the Lotus Cove Trail for a boardwalk view of an American lotus water lily colony. This unique water lily colony is something you don't want to miss. The Emerald Woods Trail is nearly two miles long and curls through an old beech forest. The park has one mountain bike trail that is one mile long.

Winter Activities

If you want to get outdoors and enjoy yourself in the cold winter months, Cowan Lake State Park is an excellent place to visit. When weather conditions permit, the park offers blood pumping and adventurous winter activities like sledding, ice fishing, and cross-country skiing. Cowan Lake State Park is a great place to bring your high horsepower snowmobiles and explore the snow-covered trails. Snowmobiling trails are well marked with suitable signs during winter. Pick the best groomed and designated trail and make sure you have some good time out in the cold.

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