You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Ohio State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Southwest Ohio Region
Cowan State Park
start slideshow
Cowan State Park Cowan Lake © Lonnie Williams
Canada Geese and their chicks
Cowan State Park Cowan Lake © Lonnie Williams
Entrance Sign
Cowan State Park Cowan Lake © Lonnie Williams
Canada Geese in the Spillway
Cowan State Park Cowan Lake © Lonnie Williams
Panoramic of Lake
Cowan State Park Cowan Lake © Lonnie Williams
Panoramic of Lake
Cowan State Park © John Mueller
Cowan State Park © Tom Croce
Cowan State Park Buzzard Liftoff © Keith Pohly
Cowan State Park Water Fowl along Cowan Creek © Keith Pohly
Cowan State Park © Tom Croce
Cowan State Park Blue Heron © Keith Pohly
Kayaking through the wet lands
Cowan State Park © Brad Michaelson
Cowan State Park © Brad Michaelson
Cowan State Park © Brad Michaelson
Cowan State Park © Tom Croce
Availability Search
1750 Osborn Rd
Wilmington, Ohio   45177-8615
(lat:39.3891 lon:-83.8848) map location

Phone: 937-382-1096
Reservations: 866-644-6727
Cowan Lake State Park offers a peaceful setting replete with scenic inlets laden with the American Lotus water lily. Swimming, fishing, sailing and canoeing are popular on the lake. Meandering trails through mature woodlands compliment the natural features of this scenic park.
Nature of the Area
It has been said that Ohio's history can be found written in the rocks. By studying the bedrock layers in Ohio, we know that ancient seas, marshes or swamps covered all or portions of the state at times over the past 500 million years. Sediment deposited by those ancient waters solidified into rock and eventually uplifted forming dry land. Animals and plants were embedded in the sediment, and today, these fossils reveal the different life forms that existed in Ohio's past.

Cowan Lake lies near the Cincinnati Arch, an uplifting of bedrock that occurred during the Appalachian Mountains' building process. The erosion of this arch in the Cowan region exposes fossil-rich limestone. The limestone near Cowan and other parts of the exposed arch are some of the most famous fossil hunting fields in the world. (Collection of fossils requires a permit from the Chief)

A fine stand of beech-maple forest can be found around the lake at Cowan. These woodlands contain beautiful wildflowers including bloodroot, wild ginger, springbeauties and trillium. The woods, fields and lake provide habitat for a variety of animals. Ring-neck pheasant, ducks,geese and herons are found here. Songbirds such as eastern bluebirds, catbirds, house wrens and many others inhabit the fields and bushy areas of the park. Mammals include white-tailed deer, raccoon, opossum, woodchuck, skunk and others.

American Lotus, a brilliant water lily, is abundant in the lake's shallow areas. It is unusual to find such a large colony of lotus on an inland lake. The plant's leaves grow up to two feet in diameter supporting large yellow flowers.
History of the Area
The Cowan Lake region was once a stronghold of the Miami and Shawnee Indians. After their defeat at the hands of General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Indian threat subsided and settlement began here. In 1797, the first settler in the area, William Smalley, began clearing land for his home along the river which was later dammed to form Cowan Lake. Smalley had been captured by the Indians when he was a small child and was forced to live with them until he was twenty years old. He later fought in General Wayne's army, was recaptured, but luckily escaped with his life.

Cowan Creek was named for the area's first surveyor,John Cowan. A dam was completed across Cowan Creek in 1950, and in 1968, Cowan Lake was dedicated as a state park.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
GeneralLand, acres1,075
 Water, acres700
 Hiking Trail, miles6
 Picnic Shelters, #2
 Swimming Beach, feet1,000
 Mountain Bike Trails, miles1
 Beach Concessionyes
 Nature Programsyes
BoatingBoat Rentalyes
 Boating Limits10
 Seasonal Dock Rental440
 Launch Ramps, #4
 Fuel For Saleyes
CampingPrimitive, #17
 Electric Sites, #237
 Pets Permittedyes
 Flush Toiletsyes
 Camp Commissaryyes
 Campground Beachyes
 Cross-Country Skiingyes
AccommodationsFamily Cottages, #27
There are 27 family cottages situated in a wooded setting along the lake. Each cottage is heated and air-conditioned, has two bedrooms, bath, living area with a sofa bed, complete kitchen, dining area and screened porch. Linens, towels, cooking and eating utensils are provided. Two premium cottages have gas fireplaces. The fireplaces are not in operation from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
The campground has 254 campsites. Of that total, 237 campsites have electricity suitable for tents or trailers and 17 sites are non-electric. Four sites are wheelchair accessible. The campground is equipped with a showerhouse, flushtoilets, laundry facilities, dump station, camper's beach and a boat launch ramp. A commissary is equipped with snacks and camping items. Pet camping is offered on designated sites.
A public beach is located on the south lake shore. A bathhouse, showers and a snack bar are provided.
Boats with a ten horsepower limit are permitted on Cowan Lake. The South Shore Marina concession offers boat, canoe and motor rental as well as fishing and picnic supplies. Launch ramps, fuel and dock rentals are also available. Sailing is very popular on the lake.

Picnic areas with tables and grills are located in many tree-shaded areas overlooking the lake. A shelterhouse and dance pavilion are each reservable. Contact the park office for details.
More than four miles of hiking trails begin near the cottage and camping areas and lead to scenic locations in the park. The Lotus Cove self-guided trail provides a boardwalk view of an American Lotus (water lily) colony while the Emerald Woods Trail meanders through a mature beech forest.
Area Attractions
Stonelick State Park, located 13 miles southwest of Cowan on State Route 727, and Caesar Creek State Park, situated 18 miles northwest of Cowan on State Route 73, both offer swimming, boating, fishing and camping. Caesar Creek Gorge, a state nature preserve is located adjacent to Caesar Creek State Park. Other attractions include Kings Island Amusement Park; the outdoor drama, Blue Jacket; and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
May 31
park review stars; one to five Our family has camped at this park for almost 20 yrs. over the memorail day weekend and has always been an excellent place to camp and very clean. However this yr. the bathrooms were very disgusting and not kept cleaned at all. Past yrs. they have been cleaned a couple times a day. This yr. was really bad last day I did finally see them cleaning them out after we had been there for 4 days. : 0 (
June 13 Very quite and peaceful!
park review stars; one to five I go to Cowan Lake a few times a week to just enjoy the outdoors and the peace. There are tons of picnic areas around the lake and lots of places to fish. The facilities are relatively clean and stocked. There is no place for trash so you have to take it with you but the grounds have always been clean and well kept.
March 8 streams are full of gold for panning by kevin clark
park review stars; one to five found pleanty of gold flakes south of dam and its streams that feed the lake left from thr glashers
write a review read more reviews
Share On

Area Campgrounds
Frontier Campground
9580 Collett Road
Waynesville, OH
Olive Branch Campground
6985 Wilmington Road
Oregonia, OH
Thousand Trails Wilmington
1786 Ohio 380
Wilmington, OH
Green Meadows Campgrounds
4880 Ohio 350
Clarksville, OH
Beechwood Acres Camping Resort
855 Yankee Rd
Wilmington, OH
Pine Cove Campground
764 Osborn Road
Wilmington, OH
Area Fishing Related Businesses
Bait Store
249 Beechwood Rd
Wilmington, OH
(937) 289-2083
Fishing Pole Bait Shop
5071 State Route 350
Clarksville, OH
(937) 289-8027
Tackle Town USA
6329 State Route 380
Wilmington, OH
(937) 382-7627
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
businesss listing main photo
Hidden Cave Cabin - Rockbridge, OH
Cottages and Cabins
Hidden Cave Cabin is an authentic log cabin with 2 bedrooms in a private wooded setting. It is located on one of the most scenic drives in Hocking Hills and just 3.6 miles to Rock House and less than 10 miles to Conkle's Hollow and Old Man's Cave.
69.6 miles from park*
businesss listing main photo
Cottages and Cabins
Trickle Creek offers luxury cabins in Hocking Hills. The cabins are situated on nearly 236 acres of secluded cabin rentals in the deep wooded ravines in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Hocking County, Ohio.
73.9 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

state route ranger badge

Ohio State Parks