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Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has been a protected area since 1901, making it the oldest managed wildlife facility in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge was also instrumental in rescuing the American buffalo from extinction, making it an interesting player in North America's history. It covers almost 60,000 acres of rocklands, aquatic landscapes, mixed-grass prairie, and cross timbers that serves as a home for plants, birds, fish, and reptiles. Bison, longhorns, elk, river otter, burrowing owls and, prairie dogs are some of the highlights. The Refuge also houses Mount Pinchot which is the tallest mountain in the park at 2,479 feet. Mount Pinchot was named in honor of Gifford Pinchot who served as the first Chief of the United States Forest Service. A close second is Mount Scott, at 2,464 feet. There refuge is free to the public. A visitor center and bookstore on the refuge is open seven days a week. Public areas complete with 15 miles of hiking trails total 22,400 acres of the refuge while the remaining 37,000 acres are only accessible through guided tours as they serve as essential wildlife habitat. The most popular outdoor activities at the refuge are hiking, camping, fishing, bird and wildlife watching, and photography. Doris Campground (first come first served), Fawn Creek Campground (for organized educational groups), and backcountry camping in the Charon's Garden Wilderness Area are all available options. Contact the help center for reservations.

hiking
1 day ago

This is not what I expected of a trail in this part of Oklahoma. This is like a boulder laden desert landscape, but the water is also wonderful. I went on a fairly nice day and didn't run into anyone on this specific trail. Waterfalls are beautiful as is the canyon environs. A little over and hour from OKC and three hours DFW and this trail brings to mind Big Bend or Colorado on a smaller scale. If you like rugged mountain trails to waterfalls and gorges, this trail is for you.

Did this hike back in August. It was a great time. The best part is getting to the top and boulder hopping. There is plenty to keep you occupied. Do watch for rattlesnakes though. I nearly stepped on a four foot western diamondback who’s head was the only thing sticking out from a rock in the middle of the trail.

rock climbing
19 days ago

This was the hike to the first outdoor rock climb I did in 1999. First part of the hike is easy, but eventually turns into crawling over and through car and bus-sized boulders. Very fun

The trail is really more of a goat path but it's great fun climbing boulders and seeing great veiws. We went right after a big rain and the creek was flowing full force.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike beautiful scenery.

hiking
1 month ago

Short but modestly challenging hike and little bit of a rock scramble. We brought our nearly 4-year-old, and he successfully made it up and down with only a little parental boosting. Trail breaks into several paths to ascend and descend the final climb, so there are several options to find a good way up. Lovely in fall weather, but would be hot in summer without shade.

Out and back short trail in the campground area. There was barely any views and we could hear people from the campground on the entire walk. This is the first trail at the Wichita Mountains that I just did not enjoy. Maybe if you're camping there and just need a walk.

Easy hike along the Burford Lake shore. Did it with my 5 year old, we were just under a mile when completed. A little rock scrambling towards the end and a nice view of the entire lake from the top, but barely any elevation gain. There are informative markers along the trail.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice easy trail with good views and access to the 40 Foot Hole. Rated only three stars because compared to the other trails at the Wichita Mountains (Elk Mountain Trail, the Narrows, etc.), it's just wasn't as exciting. Lot's of little side trails that take you closer by the creek.

Hiked with my 5 year old and he had no problem walking this trail. Took us about 2 and a half hours.

1 month ago

Awesome hike! What is fantastic is that you get all of the terrain that exists in the Park in a single hike, exactly as the Park Ranger said. Plains, Hills, Forest, Wetlands with beautiful views of the gorge.

hiking
1 month ago

Height, streams and animals, it has everything for a moderate trail, the temperature was great and of course the colors of fall were breath taking, highly suggested to have a relaxing day!

1 month ago

The fall morning weather was perfect for a hike. The last time it rained was Tuesday so while it wasn’t super swampy everywhere, it was wet in places. Other than that, it kept the trail in good condition. I was a longhorn skeleton just off the trail near the Lost Lake dam. I saw a bunch of turkeys and heard an elk bugling just south of French Lake.

Great climb because you can take any route you want so sky is the limit with your creativity. I followed the Narrows route until the trail takes you down into the narrows while you’re above them. That’s when I began my climb up higher and approached the mountain from the side with the second highest peak. Other people take a more direct approach because it’s quicker to the top but the scenery when approached from the side above the narrows is worth the extra 30 min- 1 hr. However, I did my decent with a direct approach to the trail because it is a tiring hike with the added bouldering from the narrows side. This climb is definitely worth doing if you’re in the area and it’s way better when coming from the Narrows side of the mountain.

Great trail to take kids on. Our 2 year old and 4 year old loved walking up the rocks.

hiking
1 month ago

Really enjoyed this trail. Not sure if we just couldn’t find the way you’re ‘supposed’ to reach the top but some scrabbling over rocks on your hands & knees is definitely required. Great view at the top!

amazing views and don't let the 1.1 miles fool you. go of trail and explore to make it much longer

Easy trail...not sure why it’s a moderate. The waterfall was nice and the trail had some overgrown sections but fun anyway.

on Bison Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike! First time in the park and went right to this trail. Rocks, rivers, steams, woods and prairie. Plenty of water for the dogs. Made it in 2.5 hours. Toughest obstacle is 50 yards in. If you can cross that creek you can make the hike. Found some mushrooms on a cow-pie...gnarly.

one good shade spot by the lake about 3 minutes into the hike then uncovered for the rest. pretty good but easy inclines. some slippery rocks. wind felt amazing at the top! wish the tower was open to check out those views but otherwise was still very pretty. great for a short hike. our 2 labs handled it great.

Gorgeous. Lots of streams, wildlife and climbing.

The Kite Trail travels on top of a neat little gorge, although the numerous offshoots can make it a bit difficult to follow at times. The dam crossing had some water flowing over it, but if you’re careful you can cross it if it is t too high. The water was only an inch or so deep in the middle past if the dam, but any higher than that and I wouldn’t do it. The water covered part was a little slick, and a misstep would have sent me 15’ down the spillway into some rocks or off into the deep side with nothing to grab onto.

Once I hit the loop it was pretty easy going. There are trail markers but at times it isn’t entirely clear which direction you need to go. There isn’t a lot of cell service there (Verizon) so make sure you have a map or a gps app on your phone.

I decided to cut my trip short because I didn’t feel like crossing the dam and taking the Kite Trail back to the trailhead so I went off trail near the 40-foot hole and headed east. An animal trail followed the creek towards the parking lot and I was able to cross the creek across one of the parking lots where bushes and other debris piled up and the creek was able to spread out and get shallower. I’m not sure if that would have been wise following heavy rains though.

hiking
2 months ago

The trails closest to the river are the easiest to follow. Some areas you kinda have to guess where to go but they all lead back to the same place. The trail is absolutely beautiful and has amazing views. We saw all ages of people hiking it and it was enjoyable. It took us about 3 hours to make it down the trail to the next trail head and back (that includes frequent breaks to take pictures and eat some snacks). I would definitely recommend this trail to anyone who is looking for a day hike with great scenery.

hiking
2 months ago

The pup and I enjoyed the trail! Lots of loose rocks to maneuver over both up and down hill, I would say moderate difficulty, can lose the trail in some of the rock formation area. We enjoyed watching a group of people rock climbing by the water! Few spots of water on the trail, waterproof boots would come in handy. Good views, high grass.

We had our 5 year old with us and she only needed help a few times. The water was a little high so crossing the river was tricky for her but fine for us. The view at the almost top was amazing. Some other people went up higher than us and said they saw a rattlesnake. Like everyone else has said, the trail is not well marked and very rocky to bouldery but we just stayed close to the river.

hiking
2 months ago

Heavy rains in Late Sept. had water levels up. The fall has died down in the past two days, but was still nice to see a rush falling. Creek levels are also up so be prepared to get your feet wet or rock hop a little more.

Gabe & Wendy
9/2018

By this outlined trail, it’s very easy. You can take a more difficult path but should not unless you are experienced.

Not well marked. Old cabin was neat to see and we loved creating our own way up the mountain. Nearly put my hand on a rattlesnake. Coming down was tricky as certain routes ended in big cliffs.

You would think your in Colorado. Great views, rock formations.

hiking
3 months ago

Easy trail ; great reward at the end if the falls are flowing.

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