Description - 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.
Copyright: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Cowan Lake State Park
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, spring beauties 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.
- Cowan Lake State Park offers 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 park also offers a 254-site campground. 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, flush toilets, laundry facilities, dump station, camper's beach and a boat launch ramp. A commissary is equipped with snacks and camping items. The camp commissary building can be rented during the off-season for meetings, receptions or business retreats. It features a wood burning fireplace, restrooms and scenic view of the lake. Tables and chairs are provided. Contact the park office for details. Other camping features include designated pet sites.
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. A public beach is located on the south lake shore. A bathhouse, showers and a snack bar are provided. Anglers find success in catching muskie, crappie, largemouth bass, catfish and bluegill.
Picnic areas with tables and grills are located in many tree-shaded areas overlooking the lake. A shelter 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.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. A valid Ohio hunting and/or fishing license is required.
Recreation - Cowan Lake State Park offers a broad range of attractions including family camping, pet camping, a year-round campground commissary (off-season meeting space), a variety of well-equipped cottages, hiking trails, boating and fishing opportunities, marina, sailing, swimming, nature study, miniature golf, hunting, mountain biking, picnicking, cross-country skiing, and sledding.
Climate - This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.
Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.
Cowan Lake State Park is located in southwest Ohio, west of U.S. Highway 68 and just south of the small town of Wilmington.