Cowan Lake State Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cowan Lake State Park
Cowan Lake sunset.JPG
Sunset on Cowan Lake
Map showing the location of Cowan Lake State Park
Map showing the location of Cowan Lake State Park
Location in Ohio
LocationClinton, Ohio, United States
Coordinates39°23′20″N 83°54′18″W / 39.38889°N 83.90500°W / 39.38889; -83.90500Coordinates: 39°23′20″N 83°54′18″W / 39.38889°N 83.90500°W / 39.38889; -83.90500[1]
Area1,775 acres (7.18 km2)
Elevation958 ft (292 m)[1]
Named forCowan Lake
Governing bodyOhio Department of Natural Resources
WebsiteCowan Lake State Park

Cowan Lake State Park is a 1,775-acre (718 ha) Ohio state park in Clinton County, Ohio, in the United States. It is operated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Cowan Lake State Park is open for year-round recreation and is known for a variety of birds that attract birdwatching enthusiasts to the park in southwestern Ohio.[2]


What is now Cowan Lake State Park was once home to the Miami and Shawnee Indians. The Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 resulted in the opening of the land to American settlement. The first settler in the area was William Smalley. Smalley had previously been held captive by the Lenape. His language skills and knowledge of the land left him ideally suited to be among the pioneers in settling what became Clinton County, Ohio.[3]

Cowan Creek, named for pioneer surveyor John Cowan, was dammed in 1950. The creation of Cowan Lake led to the establishment of Cowan Lake State Park in 1968.[3] Its surface area is 692 acres (2.80 km2).[4]

Geology and ecology[edit]

Cowan Lake State Park lies atop limestone that is laden with fossils. The fossilized plants and animals attract attention from both professional and amateur paleontologists. Much of what is now Ohio was covered by massive inland seas and lakes such as Lake Maumee. As the Appalachian Mountains were formed, the limestone that was once the sea floor was pushed to the surface.[3]

Cowan Lake is surrounded by a deciduous forest of beech and maple trees. The combination of lake and forest makes the park a destination for birders, who can observe mallards, American wigeons, mergansers, great blue and green-backed herons, killdeer, eastern bluebirds, catbirds, and many other species of birds.[5] The most common mammals at the park are groundhogs, skunks, raccoons, and opossums.[3]

Other plant life found at the park include bloodroot, wild ginger, and American lotus. The lotus is a water lily that thrives in the shallow waters of Cowan Lake. The leaves of the plant are quite large with yellow flowers.[3]


Cowan Lake State Park is open for year-round recreation. There are six picnic areas and two pavilions. Cowan Lake State Park features six hiking trails and one trail that is open to mountain bikes.[6]

There are 27 cottages that are heated and have air-conditioning. The cottages are fully furnished and linens are provided. There are 237 electric camp-sites and 17 sites without electricity. A centrally located bathhouse has showers, flush toilets and a sanitary dump station for RVs.[6]

Cowan Lake is open for boating, swimming and fishing. Motorboats have a 10 horsepower limit. A marina on the southern shore of the lake provides rental boats, canoes and motors, with four launch ramps, fuel and dock rentals. Common game fish in Cowan Lake are muskellunge, crappie, largemouth bass and bluegill. There is a handicapped accessible fishing pier at the Pine Tree picnic area. A public swimming beach is on the southern shore of the lake. The 1,000 foot beach is located near the campers bathhouse and also has a snack bar.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Cowan Lake State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "Cowan Lake State Park". Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Cowan Lake State Park: History". Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  4. ^ "Cowan Lake". Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  5. ^ Tom Thomson (1994). Birding in Ohio. Indiana University Press. pp. 169–170. ISBN 0-253-20874-2.
  6. ^ a b c "Cowan Lake State Park: Activities". Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 21, 2017.

External links[edit]