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The lake at Kooser State Park during Autumn

Tucked away at an altitude of 2,600 feet in the beautiful Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania, about an hour from Pittsburgh, Kooser State Park is a wonderful spot for a nature getaway.

Comprising 250 acres of dense hemlock forests, open meadows and a picturesque lake, the park is named in honor of Charles Kooser. A prominent businessman who donated the land to the state in the 1930s.

One of the most popular activities at it is hiking, with several trails, including the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail passing through it. Fishing is also another regularly practiced pastime, as is hunting, picnicking and birding.

In the winter, the park turns into a snowy playground where cross country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing are on offer. From the middle of April to just before Christmas, its 35 site campground and nine rustic cabins, provide a convenient option for overnight stays.


Guests can enjoy a host of al fresco recreational activities during their visit to Kooser State Park.

Outlined below are a small selection of some of the main things you can get up to while you are there.

Fishing at Kooser State Park

One of the most popular activities at the park is fishing which takes place on the four acre Kooser Lake.

Stocked with a variety of fish, including trout, bass, and bluegill, the lake’s shoreline is easily accessible, making it an ideal spot for families and beginners to try their luck.

The park also has a Cold Stream – a Class A wild trout stream – that provides anglers with a challenging fishing experience.

To fish at the park licenses are required and visitors are encouraged to follow all the fishing regulations set by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Hiking at Kooser State Park

For those who want to explore the park on foot, there are two main trails you can tackle.

Extending for one mile, the Kinkora Trail is a difficult out-and-back trail that is named after a former church camp that was located on it. The rugged trail tests hikers with tough terrain, but it does provide plenty of solitude for the day hiker.

At just half a mile in length, the Tree Army Trail is an easier out-and-back trail that winds its way along the Kooser Run.

If you plan on attempting either of these trails you should wear a hat and a good pair of hiking boots. You should also put on lots of sunscreen and mosquito spray and take plenty of water with you.

Picnicking at Kooser State Park

Kooser State Park is a great place to enjoy a relaxing picnic with loved ones.

Throughout the park there are several picnic tables available, providing visitors with a great place to enjoy a meal with friends and family.

There are also a couple of picnic pavilions available – one on a first come first served basis.

Guests are encouraged to bring their own food and use the grills provided. However, the drinking of alcohol is strictly forbidden anywhere inside the park.

Hunting at Kooser State Park

As Kooser State Park is small in size, hunting is not allowed at it. However, many hunters often stay at the park and then walk to the adjacent Forbes State Forest.

There they are able to snare black bears, turkeys and deer within certain areas and via selected methods.

Winter Activities at Kooser State Park

During the winter, the park is an excellent place to come if you want to engage in various snow related activities.

When the snow hits, the park’s trails are open to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, providing a serene winter wonderland experience to explore the forested landscape.

Ice skating and ice fishing is available on the lake, should the ice be more than about six inches thick, while snowmobiling is also permitted in designated areas. Many visitors choose to go winter hiking through the snow-covered landscape as well. Just make sure you wrap up warm if you choose to do any of these activities.


Boasting several hiking trails, a lake and picnic areas, Kooser State Park is a terrific place to bring your beloved pet.

Dogs are welcome in the park, and there are several designated areas where pets can run and play off-leash. However, pet owners must ensure their pets are always under control. They also are required to be kept on a leash that does not exceed six feet in length when in other areas of the park.

Additionally, the park provides pet waste stations for pets, so owners are expected to clean up after them when they make a mess.


Between the middle of April and the middle of December, the park operates a 35-site campground. The majority of these sites enable visitors to pull through them with their camping equipment.

Overall, five of these sites come with full hookups for water, sewer and electricity. An additional 23 of them come with hook-ups for electricity, while five are non-electric. You’ll find a dump station among the amenities here.

As well as these tent and RV sites, there are also nine cabins available to rent all year round. They are rustic in nature and can sleep between four and eight people.

All of the cabins have mattresses and are equipped with an oven, stove, refrigerator, microwave and sink with hot running water. You will need to bring all of your cooking utensils and bedding supplies with you, and in the summer, rentals occur on a weekly basis.

During the winter, there is a wood burning stove to keep you warm.

Park Location

Kooser State Park
943 Glades Pike
Somerset, PA 15501
Phone: 814.445.8673

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Kooser State Park: