Hiking the Oklahoma Mountains

hiking in oklahoma
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Wait....did you just read the title right? Hiking the Oklahoma Mountains? 

What mountains?

Believe it or not, there is a teeny tiny little mountain range in southwest Oklahoma called the Wichita Mountains. The little group is surrounded by flat rolling fields of wheat and cotton and is home to a wildlife refuge. It is located just outside of Lawton and is a short hour and a half drive from Oklahoma City (only two and a half hours from North Texas) making it the perfect day trip location.

oklahoma cactus

hiking in oklahoma

oklahoma day hike

witchita mountains hike

After hiking in Boulder, Colorado a few months back, I had been itching to hike again. I visited the Wichita Mountains for a summer class in college - a photography tour, actually! Ever since, I have wanted to go back and do some more exploring on my own. It was one of those things that kept getting put off and pushed back, so I finally decided to put it on my 30 before 30 list and ensure that I made it back. I'm so glad I did!

Though the Wichita Mountains have nothing on the Rockies, they are certainly a fascinating site in the middle of the flat Oklahoma plains. There is a ton to do in the area and the views from the top are like no other around! I had no idea there was so much beauty hidden in the southwest part of our state. Parts of the area definitely feel like Oklahoma, but other parts made us feel like we were on vacation in a different state!

elk mountain trail

witchita mountain wildlife refuge

climbing elk mountain

C and I chose to hike the Elk Mountain trail - it was 2.2 miles, out and back, easy to follow and just the right amount of difficult. I think it is listed as a "moderate" difficulty, but I'd say it was on the easier end of moderate. The trail wasn't marked but it was a clear enough path so you could tell where to go. It was rocky and steep - not just a winding dirt trail - which I appreciated. I felt safe the whole time (never thought I was going to slip and fall) but was constantly out of breath! We were both a bit sore the next day - the perfect active recovery for a rest day. The whole hike took us about two hours. I think it would be fun to take the dogs and have a picnic at the top!

Aside from hiking and exploring the Wildlife Refuge, there is so much more to do in the area! You can eat at Meer's (great burgers but terrible service), shop or grab a drink in Medicine Park, explore the Holy City of the Witchitas, find a buffalo, watch some prairie dogs, camp, fish, visit the scenic drive and overlook at Mount Scott, find a lake to play in, etc. etc. etc. I'm already thinking of putting together another trip to hike a little longer, picnic and spend a bit of time in Medicine Park. You could even make a little weekend trip out of it!

the top of elk mountain

road sign in witchita mountains

elk mountain views

oklahoma day hike

hiking outfit

fringe backpack

meers restaurant

day hike

Have you ever hiked the Wichita Mountains? Or, have you even heard of them? If you're in Oklahoma or the surrounding areas, I'd definitely recommend visiting. It can be so fun to explore your home state and discover hidden gems in your own backyard.

Due to waaaaay too many weekend plans and work events in April, we weren't able to skip town for our monthly weekend adventure.... this hiking day trip helped to make up for it. Have no fear, though, we're heading somewhere with bigger mountains and better views in May - no offense, Oklahoma, you know I love you.

Thanks for reading!

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