Surrounded by beautiful forest and located in the heart of Laurel Highlands, Kooser State Park is a sublime RV getaway destination. The park is set over a sprawling 250-acres in Somerset County and borders Forbes State Forest. The earliest settlers to the area fought in a large American Indian battle that took place near Kooser Run. A large number of war arrows and spearheads have been found in the area that are believed to have been from the battle. Kooser State Park is named after John Kooser who settled near the western edge of the modern day park. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania purchased the land in 1922 and the park began to take shape with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Infrastructure such as Kooser Lake, roads, cabins and outdoor fireplaces were all built by the Corps and they are still in use today.
Due to the altitude level of 2,600 feet Kooser State Park receives a high yearly snowfall. This makes it a great spot for winter recreation and skiers from all over flock to the park to ride the slops of Kooser Trail. When the weather is warmer hiking and fishing are the most popular activities.
Camping facilities in the park are exceptional for RVs. In total there are 35 sites, with 28 of these having electric hookups. Five of these electric hookup sites also have full hookups. Camping in the park is available from mid-April through to mid-December. Peak season also runs from mid-April through to mid-December.
Kooser State Park is located in south-west Pennsylvania at the foothills of the Laurel Mountain summit in a very easy-to-access location. The park is just over an hour south east of Pittsburg and is also close to many smaller towns, including Hidden Valley, Somerset and Zimmerman. The park has one main access road that is located on PA-31 midway between the turnpike exists for Donegal and Somerset.
The area surrounding the park is heavily forested as it borders on Forbes State Forest. Driving to the park can be difficult due to its elevation and during the winter it gets even more difficult as heavy snowfall is very common. Make sure if you are coming during the winter that you are prepared for adverse weather conditions and are comfortable driving your RV in slippery conditions.
The road into the campground is quite skinny and won't fit RV's going in different directions. Make sure before you enter that there are no RV's coming the other way otherwise you might be stuck and have trouble navigating past the RV going in the opposite direction.
There is plenty of parking available at Kooser State Park.
Unfortunately there are no public transport options that give access to Kooser State Park.
Kooser State Park has a quaint camping area that has all the amenities you need to have an enjoyable stay within the park. The campground has 35 unpaved sites that all feature electric hookups barring seven non-powered sites. Five out of the 35 electric sites also have the luxury of full hookups, with water and sewer connections going straight to these sites. A great feature about the campground at Kooser State Park is their pet policy as whole campground is pet friendly. There are also ADA accessible camping sites available if required.
Other amenities found within the campground include a bath house with showers, water collection points and an easily accessible dump station. Most sites also come with a fire ring and picnic table for you to use and enjoy. Since the sites allow for RV's up to 45 feet in length most rigs will be able to pull-through to their desired camping site.
Cell reception in the campground is quite good and you should be able to receive signal on all major providers. You can reserve campgrounds up to 11 months in advance. Due to the heavy snowfall in winter, camping at Kooser State Park is only open from mid-April through to mid-December.
Although Kooser lake is not open for swimming or boating the lake has some excellent fishing opportunities. The lake is stocked with bass and bluegill and Kooser Run is classified as being a great quality trout stream. Make sure you bring your own fishing gear as there are none that is available for rent within the park. You are not allowed to night fish in Kooser State Park and all fishing activities must comply with Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission laws.
You have the choice of three different trails to hike at Kooser State Park that all have different lengths and challenges. The longest trail is the one and a half mile Kooser Trail that is very hilly and quite a challenge. The most popular trail to hike is the Kincora Trail. Named in honour of Irish Roman Catholic priest Father Kincora, the trail is very rugged but offers some great sight seeing and solitude. During the winter all trails will be covered in snow, so make sure you visit in the Summer, Autumn and Spring times if you want to go hiking.
One of the best ways to spend time in the great outdoors is by going out for the day on a picnic. Kooser State Park is well equipped to handle all your picnicking needs, with many picnic tables are available all year-round for picnics. Mighty Oak Picnic Pavilion is one of the major picnicking areas in the park and it can be reserved up to 11 months in advance for a fee. The other most popular pavillion is a small stone built structure that is available on a first come, first served basis. All other picnic pavilions are also free to use year round.
The park’s high elevation and heavy snowfall creates some absolutely prime conditions for cross-country skiing. During the winter, Kooser State Park staff set track on one and a half miles of ski trail and it is marked with blue diamonds. This trail is the most popular for skiing and is classified as the easiest one that is available within the park. If you are looking for even more skiing you can find a 20 mile trail near Laurel Ridge State Park. Bear in mind that his trail requires a fee to use.
While you cannot hunt directly in Kooser State Park due to the small size of the park, there are plenty of hunting opportunities available in Forbes State Forest. The forest is located right next to Kooser State Park and those who are wanting to hunt usually choose to stay within the park as it is the closest accommodation to the state forest. Common species found in the forest include turkey, deer and black bear. You must follow all of the hunting rules and regulations set out in the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Due to the parks location there are numerous different species of birds that can be found within the park and also in the neighbouring Forbes State Forest. Common species that are found in the park and at Forbes State Forest include yellowthroat, blue-winged warbler, American goldfinch and ruffed grouse. If you are lucky you may even be able to catch a glimpse of a great-blue heron as it makes it way to creeks around the park and forest.