Explore the most popular forest trails in Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

They closed off the entrance to the tower

It was a pretty easy hike with beautiful views.

Tower has been closed off entirely now to entering. Such a shame as it held great views.

Started on Kite Trail and made our way to Bison Trail. There are several little side trails off of Kite Trail, which can be a little confusing. For that reason I'd say Kite Trail is not well-marked. However, the Bison and Longhorn Trails are marked very well. To get from the Kite Trail to the Bison Trail, you'll cross over the dam. Then you can follow the Bison loop all the way around or cut it a little short by crossing over the Longhorn Trail. The annoying part about this trail is that (as you see on the map) you have to double-back to the Kite Trail to cross back over at the dam and do the Kite Trail all over again. However, as you make the the turn for the last stretch of the Bison Trail, there's an unmarked trail to your right that will take you to a beach area where you can cross the river very easily. The parking lot is right across from this crossing. Nice little short cut if you don't want to walk up and down the river again!

This was a fun hike although it seems like more of a rock climb. we were up in about 2 hours and down in 1. I should have taken the advice of the other reviewers and worn long pants cause it shredded my legs. Check for tics when you come down, we had quite a few on us. Beautiful scenery and so serene.

hiking
22 days ago

Trail was pretty easy to walk but not sure where to go after we got to creek needs to be marked better we just turned around and walked out then unexpectedly we were stung by a swarm of Bees so go prepared for the unexpected.Definitely want to go back with a better map of trail.

Just a great trail all around. The Kite section the most scenic. Saw buffalo skeleton along the way.

Lots of bouldering! Was a lot of fun though. Friends and I climbed up the side of the mountain quick enough.

Gorgeous, easy trail. There are some rocks to climb and water to play in along the way. Fairly trafficked, and lots of trash honestly. I carried a lot of what I came across out with me.

Calling it a trail is a bit of a stretch, there’s definitely a trail at the very start but it quickly devolves into just finding a way up and then back down, mainly by climbing around on the boulders. Some precarious little areas depending on the route you take, which makes it even more fun. Definitely a workout and some great views along with it

Nice, scenic trail. Perfect for birders. Spotted a painted bunting, a Carolina wren, a Mississippi kite, a brown thrasher, and a meadow lark during my hike. There’s a short adjacent trail that leads west of the tower, but it stops at some boulders and does not appear to go farther. It was a nice add-on, though. This trail is great for beginners, children, and dogs.

Took a quick hike late in the afternoon when it was cooler. Lots of loose rocks and little to no shade but short and sweet with great views.

on Central Peak Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike and rock climbing. Can get a bit dicey in the winter months. My fiancé proposed here (well on one of the mountains near the lake/tower area). It’s a magical place for me. Love it. Definitely a moderate hike/trail area.

rock climbing
2 months ago

Trails are easy when staying on the path.
Rocks adjacent to them - not so easy lol. I have hiked it twice and getting to the summit is easier in the spring than the fall. It gets dark quick so plan early and bring extra lighting.

Total time spent was a couple of hours each way to the summit of the mountain next to the tower. I’ve seen some folks fishing the lake there but I never got over to it.

Last trip was in January and it was very cold. Ice still on the rocks which can make for a dicey climb. Still very worth it.

My fiancé proposed on top of the mountain next to the tower, it was a perfect hike with an amazing sunset. Cold but beautiful.

Kite trail is very enjoyable with the family, singles, or couples. The view is beautiful. It's a semi-long trail. You can climb or just follow the trail. It took us 3 1\2 hours to complete from beginning to end (including stop for lunch, and enjoying the view).

This trail is beautiful. However, you should were pants. There is a lot of high grass at the beginning. It is a lot of climbing if you would like to go up on the rocks. The trail is a challenge but enjoyable. I would recommend for adults and kids 10 or older (for climbing).

Great mountain trails. A lot of rock climbing son and German Shepherd had no problem. Two thumbs up from poppy!

hiking
2 months ago

Nice short trek with great views. Easy trail for everyone.

Been going to wildlife refuge for years without maps and climbing on the Zoo wall area in the Narrows. Would not call this a hard trail as shown. Noticed the keyhole class 4 route is not listed. Just loaded the app so maybe will try out adding the option for the trail but it is possible to fall and have to use your hands which is why it is a class 4 route but it is not a class 5 climbing route. Will try out the app with my son this summer and see if it matches where I have hiked.

hiking
3 months ago

My dad and I took this trail with my dog and we loved it! The view was amazing, the hike in was really easy! We where a little confused at one point it V’s and the right goes away from the tower. So we turned around and went left and had no other problems. We found a rattle snake on the path on the way back down!! So be be careful!

very easy trail to follow

Great trail. Take the offshoot trails and climb up more moderate/difficult trails but so beautiful and worth it.

Incredible views from the top! It’s a pretty tough hike if you’re just used to trails. There are no signs but just head up the boulders and you’ll find the top. The gate to this trail head closes at sunset so don’t plan on being there too late.

hiking
3 months ago

This was a nice trail at first but then at the base of the trail it basically disappeared at the base of the hill. We had to scramble up boulders and basically follow a animal trail to get to the top.

beautiful at sunset

Best hike of the Wichitas.

Nice hike, easy to follow trail with abundance of markers and maps at crossroads. It's not the most spectacular hike in the refuge, though the well known, beautiful 40 foot canyon is part of it.

This trail was great. You don't need an actual trail once you get to the big bolders. It's incredibly fun to find your own way to the top. The same applies to to going back down the mountain. It's an amazing time, I've done it thrice and each time is completely different.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice hike... great view

I’ve been going to the refuge hiking for decades and had no idea about this forest trail, since it isn’t marked at all! I was alone and it was getting late the day I ventured in, so I didn’t hike far, but it is on my list to return to!

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