Hiking Elk Mountain - Wichita Mtn Wildlife Refuge
www.fws.gov/southwest/refuge… - (580) 429-8587
Hiking Elk Mountain - Wichita Mtn Wildlife Refuge Lawton Reviews
Oct 13, 2007
Highlights: A beautiful classic hike in Oklahoma. The panoramic vistas are bountiful every step of the way on this uphill trail.
Distance: 1 ¼ miles (one-way)
Trail Conditions: The trail is well maintained but rocky and steep
Trailhead Amenities: Picnic Area & Pit Toilets
Management: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Maps: USGS Odetta Quad, USGS Quanah Mountain Quad
Finding the Trailhead: Take I-44 north of Lawton for 5 miles. Turn west onto Hwy 49 (Exit 45). Continue for 14 miles through Medicine Park , entrance of Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge, Mt Scott, and the Visitor Center. At the intersection turn Right (North) to continue on Hwy 49. Continue for 6 miles and turn Left (South) into the Sunset Picnic Area.
Key Points along the Trail:
Distance (miles) Description Coordinates
0.0 Trailhead (Sunset Picnic Area) N34°43.912 W098°43.417
0.45 Great Open Area (Panoramic View)
0.72 Intersection (Social Trail) (Turn Left - South) N34°43.591 W098°43.283
0.81 Buffalo Point (Panoramic View) N34°43.551 W098°43.288
0.84 Scrub Oak Forest (Great Shade)
1.05 Saddle (Northeast Ridge) N34°43.441 W098°43.184
1.22 Top of the Trail N34°43.296 W098°43.133
From the Sunset Picnic Area (Trailhead) head SE to cross the bridge over Headquarters Creek. You are now entering Charons Garden Wilderness Area. These trails were maintained by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) in the mid 1930’s. The CCC built many dams, trails, and buildings throughout the refuge. There are many social trails that spur off the main trail. Do your best to stay on the designated trail.
At 0.72 miles you come to the most prominent of the social trails. Go Left (South) toward a defining vegetation line on the mountain. This will consist of mostly scrub oak. Make sure you keep a watchful eye for poison ivy. A lot of times it is around some great seating areas in the shade. And as always don’t sit on the cactus.
At 1.22 miles (the top of the trail) you may notice multiple high boulder outcroppings. Elk Mountain is a large flat peak (not quite a mesa). It is shaped like a “U” shaped boomerang. There are many gullies and boulder fields on top. Be careful not to get disorientated and lost while exploring.
The Top of the Trail is on the East corner of the peak. There are great boulders near the top of the trail to sit and relax. Feel the breeze and enjoy the vast terrain around you. After exploring or relaxing on top, it’s time to head back to the trailhead.
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