Cowan's Gap SP

RhythmScience

Member
Jul 26, 2020
64
Hagerstown, MD USA
I'm not seeing any reviews here, so I thought I'd post a few notes from our trip this weekend. I'll first note that, if you enter the park from Richmond Rd., the first sign says turn left to "Camping" and the next sign says turn right for "Overnight areas", with no mention of camping. It wasn't obvious as we first drove by that this referred to the camping areas, so we ended up driving over the mountain and circling back around. There are two camping areas. Area A lies to the south of the lake and is quite large. Most sites are electric, with just a few 50 amp and a few non-electric, mostly tent, sites. There are lots of fresh water spigots and dumpsters. This area is very, very hilly and will give the leg muscles a workout if you're going to walk around. There are several toilets, but I think you have to walk a bit for a shower. We stayed in Area B, to the west of the lake. It was much smaller and less hilly. The bathhouse was very clean and our only issue was that they have the water valves where you have to keep pushing the button to keep the water going, and the water was pretty hot. The nice thing here is that you're right next to the Lakeside trail and the beach & boat rentals are only a short walk away--maybe 3/4 mile. I think campers in Area A pretty much have to drive over. The only real downside to Area B is that the only dump station is smack in the middle of Area A, so it's a ways to go to empty greywater and toilet cassettes. The ranger said Area B books up pretty quickly--reservations open 11 mos. ahead. I suggest taking a look at a pic of the site you're thinking about--some can be hilly or have a precarious approach. The road in front of ours (site 188) was narrow, but the approach was wide so I, as a novice trailer-backer, only took 3-4 attempts to get backed in. Some sites, especially in Area A, have a steep approach, so make sure you have clearance. I saw quite a few popups mixed in with the fifth-wheel mega-campers.

The park itself was really nice. There's a lake with a good-sized beach that has lots of picnic tables & grills and has a big concession stand. It wasn't too busy on Friday but was packed on Saturday. (I think this is something of a destination for folks who live in this area.) You can rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats and also fishing gear. Our favorite was the hiking trails. They have some really strenuous hikes over the mountain, but we prefer the flat, easy hikes and, despite the mountain location, they have several. The only real inconvenience for us was that there's nearly no AT&T reception, so be prepared to be incommunicado. (We could get 1-2 bars up around the park office, and the ranger was able to look up a weather forecast for me. We did drive down the mountain to check out Keystone Outdoors sporting goods--they also run the boat rentals at the lake--and were able to get decent cell reception there.) We had a great trip and can't wait to get back and try out a few more hiking trails.
 

eoleson1

Super Active Member
Jul 5, 2011
3,636
Macomb County Michigan
We camped there a few years ago on Labor day weekend and what really impressed me was the fact that it was so quiet. No large groups of rowdy drunks, no screaming free-range children running through our site, a sense of privacy.... Not at all like any of the Michigan state parks on holiday weekends.
 

GalsofEscape

Super Active Member
Nov 26, 2013
1,136
Maryland
verizon don't work there either..... we have been there twice and have enjoyed it both times. the other negative (other than no internet) is the dump stations. it is not handy and you have to circle back into the campground from the start to get to it. Have elected to just go home to dump rather than go through the campground again.
 

RhythmScience

Member
Jul 26, 2020
64
Hagerstown, MD USA
verizon don't work there either..... we have been there twice and have enjoyed it both times. the other negative (other than no internet) is the dump stations. it is not handy and you have to circle back into the campground from the start to get to it. Have elected to just go home to dump rather than go through the campground again.
Agreed. The one dump station is not in a convenient place. If we'd stayed until Sunday, there's no way we would've gone from Area B over into Area A, getting held up by people there hitching campers and others dumping (you can't see if there's a line until you're there).
 




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