Experiences & Amenities
Located at parking lot #2 is a half-mile paved connection to the Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46-mile paved multi-use trail.
As part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, the park offers more than five miles of self-guided trails with excellent bird and wildlife viewing.
Camping, Primitive Group
A primitive group camp is available for organized groups. Three sites are available that can accommodate up to 25 people and one smaller site for 8 or less. The camp is nestled in an oak hammock with a fair amount of shade. There are no showers or electricity. Portolets and potable water are available. There is a picnic table, grill and fire ring at each site. An adult chaperone, 21 years of age or older, is required per 10 children. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 60 days in advance for youth groups and 30 days in advance for adult groups by calling the park directly.
Explore the park in a new and challenging way. Experienced Geocachers have requested permission to hide caches containing trinkets, treasures, or information in various places around the park. Please check the Geocaching website for the most current and up-to-date information and clues to locate these caches.
There are approximately five (5) miles of self-guided nature trails which include: The Dogwood Trail, The Fort Site Trail and the Sand Hill Loop. These easy to moderate self guided trails meander through hammocks and sand hill communities located within the park. Along the trails you will find benches and interpretive signs providing insight into the surrounding areas.
Picnic tables and grills are located throughout the picnic area overlooking Lake Holathlikaha.
The Lake Lodge is an ideal setting for small weddings and receptions. This rustic building, which overlooks Lake Holathlikaha, has air conditioning, a fireplace and a full kitchen and can accommodate up to 47 people. A beautiful gazebo is also available for the ceremony or a great location for pictures. Call the park for more details and available dates for your special day.
The under story of saw palmettos, hog plum and sparkleberry provide a perfect habitat in which to study nature. There are frequent sightings of white tail deer, turkey and pileated woodpecker just to name a few.
The park is named for Major Mark Anthony Cooper, commander of 380 First Georgia Battalion Volunteers plus an artillery company of a few army regulars. In April 1836, Major Mark Anthony Cooper built a fort near the lake’s edge to protect the sick and wounded left behind by General Scott as he continued on his way to Fort Brooke, which is now Tampa. Major Cooper was ordered to hold his position and await relief troops in nine days. By the third day the Seminoles, led by Osceola and other Chiefs, discovered Major Cooper and his men. They kept them under constant daily attacks. On one occasion the Seminoles tried to storm the fort with a force in "excess of 500 warriors." After 16 days, with provisions running out, the troops in the fort were saved when a relief column returned to support them. Due to Major Cooper’s vigilant leadership during the two week siege, the Georgia Battalion sustained about 20 men wounded, but lost only one man. It is unknown how many casualties were taken by the Seminole warriors. Fort Cooper was utilized as a reconnaissance, observation and dispatch post until 1842 by various U.S. Army detachments.
A series of environmentally friendly and durable interpretive stations including multiple kiosks and signs strategically located throughout the park along currently maintained pathways.
Visitors are able to study a single panel to learn a segment of Seminole history or upon completing the entire trail will gain an overview of Seminole life. The Fort Cooper Seminole Heritage Trail outlines Florida Seminole lifestyle and culture in the Cove of the Withlacoochee Region.
Pets are welcome as long as they are on a leash no longer than six (6) feet. They are permitted in the picnic area, hiking trails and playground. Due to the sensitive nature of the beach area, where endangered nesting and resting shorebirds or tutles can easily be distrubed, pets are not allowed here or in the water.
A covered pavilion and BBQ pit are available for rent. The pavilion will accommodate up to 60 people.
A small playground is available for children ages five (5) to twelve (12) years old near the picnic area.