Cowans Gap State Park is a 1,085-acre park in the beautiful Allens Valley of Fulton County. A 42-acre lake, large campground, rustic cabins and many hiking trails are prime attractions. State forest land surrounds the park, providing additional land for recreation and natural beauty in all seasons.
I think this should be called the Tuscarora Trail which is a spur trail to the Appalachian Trail. Two miles of it goes through Cowans Gap State Park. From the main parking lot you can take the trail south to a beautiful overlook of Path Valley and Franklin County (about 9 miles out and back). Or you can take the trail south until Geyer trail to Cameron trail then to Plessinger Trail which will get you back to your car (about 5 miles). There are two pretty steeps areas on both these paths and the trail is rocky at times.
This should be called Cowans Gap Trails (plural) There are a number of trails within the park so, depending on your fitness level and amount of time you want to spend out in the woods, you can combine a number of trails. Keep in mind, some of the trails take you up to the top of Tuscarora or Cove Mountains which means the ascents can be steep. I gave this trail a five-star since the trails were well marked and well maintained. Enjoy.
We only hiked 6 mikes of this link trail but the back half was straight up a mountain side with a 40 pound backpack in the rain. Other than that the mountain side scenery overlooking the park was amazing.
Jessica P. on Lakeside Trail
Easy walk around the lake. Really short, we do it a couple times when we go. Half of it is really shady, near the campsites. Not quiet by any means, usually crowded, no incline, but that doesn't mean that it's bad. Better to rent a boat and go out on the lake.
If you are looking for a good trail for the family, then this is the trail for you. The trail encircles lake at Cowans Gap State Park. The trail is mostly flat but has some slight elevation change. It almost seems like two different trails. The trail on the beach side is a little more active. The trail in this area is better maintained. The opposite side of the lake is used a little less. The trail surface is a little rough in some areas, but still negotiable for the family. The trail stays in pretty good condition even after a rain with minimal muddy spots (especially for a lake side trail). The trail can be accessed in about four or five different locations with little extra walking. Bring your camera because there are some beautiful views along the way and you never know what you might see. The park also offers plenty of other activities for after the hike.
I did this trail with my 6 y/o son. The trail is easy and well marked. I have been going to Cowan's Gap since I was a little boy, but never walked the trail. The trail is approx 2 miles and goes completely around the lake. Cowan's Gap is a man made lake built during the Great Depression. It has a swimming area and camping, which are the two big draws to the park. If you live near by and want to have a weekend of swimming and mild hiking, I recommend it. The park is clean and well maintained.