Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
At A Glance ?
Location Type: Destination
Population Rating: 1
Price/Fee: Free!
State: Oklahoma
City/Town: Indiahoma
Route: Highway 49
Coordinates: 34.756, -98.679
Address: 32 Refuge Headquarters Road, Indiahoma, OK 73552
Pet Friendly: Yes
Bike Friendly: Yes
Trail Surface Type: Paved road, Dirt & Grass

The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge is an expansive space that seeks to restore and protect the native plants and animals in this section of Oklahoma. It’s a wonderful place to get away from the city and observe the raw beauty of the area.

Where It’s At

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge is a rugged area in southwestern-ish Oklahoma, just north of Indiahoma and just west of Medicine Park and Lake Lawtonka. The massive preservation encompasses 60,000 acres of prairie, mountains, lakes and streams.


 

Wildlife

There’s a lot to enjoy about this place, especially if you like seeing some large animals in their natural habitat. It’s one of the only places around here where I’ve seen American bison that are free to roam. You’ll also find wild longhorns, which, if I’m being honest, I didn’t know was a thing. There’s also something like a bajillion prairie dogs running around with their plague germs. There are supposed to be things like deer, elk and otters but we can neither confirm nor deny as we have yet to see any of these on our visits. The visitor’s center offers a lot of information about the refuge as well as examples of the animals that can be found there. It’s well worth your time to check out.

 

 


Trails

There are 15 miles of designated hiking trails inside the refuge. We hiked the Dog Run Hollow Trail that led down to a creek. It’s a rocky, nearly treeless area with a rugged beauty all its own. I would give these trails a difficulty rating of moderate to hard.

 

 

 


Mount Scott

On the eastern side of the refuge lies Mount Scott, rising to an impressive 2,464 feet above sea level. You can drive a three mile road wrapping around the mountain all the way to the top and get out to a 360 degree view of the surrounding area which is quite beautiful. The Wichita Mountains have a unique splendor and have always looked to me like a bunch of boulders fell out of the sky into a pile on the prairie. Their look is quite different from the wooded mountains of Appalachia and the stone faced mountains of the Rockies.

 


The Holy City of the Wichitas

An unexpected addition to the sights inside the refuge is the Holy City of the Wichitas. This is an attraction built to host the annual Easter Pageant and features a number of buildings and places featured in the Easter story. You’re free to walk around the area, which is pretty neat regardless of religious affiliation or interest.

 

 

 


Nearby

There’s a ton of stuff to see and do inside the confines of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge but there’s some additional fun things located just outside of the park grounds.

Medicine Park

Medicine Park is a town on the eastern border of the refuge with a quaint touristy resort feel. The cobblestone streets and architecture are worth checking out. There’s some shops and eateries here as well as a swimming hole.

Lake Lawtonka

We haven’t had the chance to do much on the lake but I wanted to point out that it is here and available for all your lake-related activities liking boating and fishing.


Crowds

While this refuge is so large that you rarely have to worry about crowds on the trails, you should be aware that certain spots can become pretty crowded. The top of Mount Scott, the Holy City of the Wichitas and nearby Medicine Park have all been pretty busy at the times we’ve been here.

Final Takeaways

We really enjoy visiting this place. There’s so much to see and do here and I’d advise a visit even if you only stay in your car and drive around the land to look at the wildlife.

This is very much a DESTINATION.

 

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