Situated high up in the Laurel Highlands at 2,600 feet above sea level, the stunning Kooser State Park has visitors flocking to visit it all-year-round. Located in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, this 250-acre park features lush forests and a lake. Together, they provide a variety of activities to entertain you when you visit. During the summer months, fishing, hiking, and hunting are the main attractions. In the winter, visitors come to the park to enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
This area was once the battlefield of American Indian conflict, and spearheads and war arrows have been found here. Fighters in the Whiskey Rebellion also passed through the area.
Kooser State Park gets its name from John Kooser, who settled on what is today the western side of the park by the Kooser Spring. The land for the park was purchased in 1922 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The park was then built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s. They made several changes including the creation of roads, cabins, outdoor fireplaces, and damming the Kooser Run to create the park's four-acre lake. All the changes they made were done using logs from the forest and local stone. The surrounding forest was cleared during the lumber era in the late 1800s, but with the help of the CCC, the forest has grown back over time and is a sight to see today.
Today, if you visit the park, you can choose between an RV site with varying hookups, a cabin, or tent-only camping. You're sure to find an option that suits your needs. Kooser State Park is only 58.5 miles from Pittsburgh and is ideal for a short RV getaway trip.
You'll find this stunning park a short distance off the I-76. As you drive, you are climbing up into the Laurel Highlands so you can expect to encounter several steep grades along the way. But it is manageable and RVers can enjoy a scenic drive along the way, without any height restricting obstacles. Should you need any supplies or something to eat during your visit to the park, you can find it at Ohiopyle, a town roughly 27 miles south of the park.
Once you reach the park, the roads are paved and easy to navigate. Adjust your speed as you enter the park and keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists on the roads. If you are staying for a couple of days, then go and check into your campsite when you arrive, before venturing out to explore the park and activities available. The park is not very big and you'll easily be able to get around on foot or by bike.
Day visitors can make use of the parking available at the Kooser Lake.
Kooser State Park Campground has 28 RV sites with varying hookups and five tent-only sites. Out of the RV sites, four of them offer full-hookups, 23 offer electrical hookups, and one is a basic site with no hookups. All RV sites are spacious and big enough to accommodate awnings and other equipment you might have. The sites can fit rigs varying in length from 30 feet to 45 feet.
The park has five tent-only sites to offer campers. The sites are roughly 10-25 feet from the parking spot, depending on which site you choose. They are spacious and offer privacy from other campers.
For the most part, RV sites and tent-only sites feature the same campsite amenities including a picnic table and fire ring with grill. Each site can sleep up to five people a night and they are all pet-friendly, so campers can bring along their pets. A communally situated restroom with showers and flushing toilets is available for campers to use. Campers staying at sites without water hookups can make use of the spigots located in the campground.
Campers are not allowed to bring along their own firewood from out of state. Only firewood bought in the state of Pennsylvania is permitted to be used at the park. Although you might be able to get a site if you just show up at the park, it's best to book in advance to ensure that you have a site for the night.
If you would like to take a break from your rig when you are staying at Kooser State Park, then you can make use of the cabins available. The park features eight rustic cabins and one modern cabin.
If you need ADA accessibility, then you should definitely book the modern cabin. The modern cabin sleeps six people a night and is equipped with two double beds and two single beds. In addition, it also features an ADA-accessible bathroom with a shower. Other amenities include a refrigerator, microwave, stove and oven, deck, a picnic table, and an indoor and outdoor fireplace. Water and electricity are available at the cabin.
Rustic cabins vary in capacity and can sleep between four to seven people depending on which cabin you choose. If you are a bigger group, you may want to reserve cabin 26, or if that is taken, then cabin 27 and 28. Unfortunately, not all of the cabins are pet-friendly and visitors with domestic pets should try and reserve cabins 21 and 22.
The rustic cabins have a combination of bunk beds, single beds, and double beds. So be sure to book a cabin that best suits your needs. The rustic cabins are similarly equipped to the modern cabin, with the exception of a bathroom and shower. Rustic cabin guests will need to walk to a communally located restroom with showers and flushing toilets.
Be sure to book a cabin prior to your arrival.
The park's man-made lake, Kooser Lake covers four acres. It used to be open for both fishing and swimming, but since 2012 swimming has not been allowed because of an algae problem in the lake. But you can still fish here, so bring along your fishing equipment when you visit the park. When you cast your line, you'll be able to try your hand at snagging bountiful trout, bluegill, and bass. Over the past couple of years, the lake has undergone changes to deepen it and visitors can experience the benefits of that when they visit.
Hiking is another fun pastime available at the park for visitors to enjoy. The park features several different hikes ranging in distance that are suitable for beginner and avid hikers and perfect for the whole family. Hiking is a great way to enjoy breathing in the fresh air and the trails at the park are no exception. Hikers can enjoy hiking up a mountain and soaking in the views before coming back down again. The various cross-country ski trails are open for hikers to use, as well as shorter trails near the day-use area. Be sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes.
Calling all hunters! Throughout the year, there are different animals for hunters to try and bag when they visit the park. In the spring, you can hunt turkey and in the winter you can stalk deer and black bear. You can hunt using a hunting bow or a firearm at the park. Be sure to know the rules and regulations that the state of Pennsylvania has in place for hunting and keep an eye out for other visitors.
Thanks to the park's great elevation, RVers visiting during the winter can expect snow. Despite the cold, you'll see visitors out and about enjoying the snow with their snowshoes and skis. The park's different trails become coated with snow and are perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Every year a 1.5-mile cross-country ski trail is set up and clearly marked for the use of skiers visiting the park. Be sure to wrap up warm before setting out into the snow and keep an eye on the weather report.
Make sure to bring along your camera when you visit Kooser State Park in your motorhome. With the surrounding scenery available, it won't be hard to start snapping away on your camera and capturing the stunning beauty on offer at the park. As the park is open all-year-round, visitors have the opportunity to see the trees in their different cycles during fall, winter, summer, and spring. Each season will make an incredible, unique backdrop, and this great photo opportunity is sure to keep visitors entertained for hours.
While the anglers fish along the shore of the lake and the children play along the banks, the rest of the family can enjoy sitting down at the picnic tables and pavilions available close by. Be sure to pack along a picnic to enjoy with the whole family since fishing and running around are hungry work! This is a lovely way to enjoy soaking up some sun and sit outside in the quiet and peacefulness of nature.