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Cowan Lake State Park

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 1,075-acre park.


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 and 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.


237 electric sites
17 non-electric sites
4 sites are ADA accessible
Pets are permitted on all sites.
Showerhouses, flush toilets, laundry facilities, dump station
Camper's beach, boat launch ramp, basketball court
Camp Store offers camping items, bait, snacks, seasonal bike and kayak rentals, hand-dipped ice cream and grill.



The 700-acre lake has a 10-horsepower limit. Three boat ramps are located around the lake for easy access. Seasonal docks are available for rent. Boats and canoes are available for rent at the South Shore Marina. The marina sells a variety of fishing and picnic supplies. Sailing is very popular on the lake. Boat swimming and boat camping are located in the northern portion of the lake. Camp Store rents kayaks seasonally.

The marina and boat ramps are Carry In/Carry Out areas. No trash cans are available. Please bring your own trash bags.


Muskie, crappie, largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill are plentiful. Accessible fishing pier is located near the Pine Tree picnic area. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.

The fishing pier is a Carry In/Carry Out area. No trash cans are available. Please bring your own trash bags.


Hunting is permitted in designated areas during scheduled hunting seasons. A valid Ohio hunting license is required.


Three picnic areas with tables and grills are located in areas overlooking the lake and are available on a “first come, first serve” basis.
There are two reservable shelterhouses, one in the campground and the Dance Pavilion.
The Hilltop shelterhouse is first come, first served.


A 1,000-foot public beach is located on the south lake shore. Changing house and showers are available for public use. Swimming is permitted during daylight hours only in designated areas. Please exercise caution while swimming at the beach.

The beach is a Carry In/Carry Out area. No trash cans are available. Please bring your own trash bags.


More than 4 miles of hiking trails begin near the cabin and camping areas and lead visitors to scenic locations within the park. The Lotus Cove Trail takes hikers to the American lotus water lily colony on the lake, while the Emerald Woods Trail meanders through a mature beech forest.

Beechnut Loop Trail - 0.5 mile - Easy
Dogwood Trail - 0.7 mile - Easy
Emerald Woods Trail - 1.8 miles - Easy
Lotus Cove Trail - 0.7 mile - Moderate - Offers a boardwalk view of an American Lotus (water lily) colony
Oldfield Trail - 0.8 mile - Moderate
Lakeview Trail - 1.1 miles - Moderate
Spillway Trail - 2.61 miles - Moderate

Winter Recreation

Under the proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy sledding, cross-country skiing and ice fishing.

The Naturalist Cabin offers seasonal programming, wildlife encounters and environmental education.
Two scenic parking areas near the dam (Carry In/Carry Out area -- No trash cans are available. Please bring your own trash bags.)
Seasonal bicycle and kayak rentals are available at the Camp Store.

Cowan Lake State Park is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media


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