Hiking Elk Mountain, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK

On 16 February, I hiked Elk Mountain in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge (WMWR). The hike was 4.5 miles and 1,124 ft of altitude gain.

Pictures from the hike are here on Google+.

I tried to park at the actual trailhead, but for the nth time, a Park Ranger was blocking the road, and he rudely told me to go elsewhere (this same guy I’ve seen several times over the year, and he is uniformly unhelpful at best). I drove over to Caddo Lake a mile or so to the west, parked there, and headed out overland at Elk Mountain.

I popped over a ridge after a bit and found myself near a herd of bison. I move away from them, but the herd crossed in back of me, and one of them charged me; it was a bluff charge, but it was intended to get my attention, and it succeeded.

I got to the parking area for Elk Mountain, and went over to the Charon’s Garden trail, as I thought that was also the trail for Elk Mountain. It wasn’t. I decided to bushwhack straight up the slope. It was pretty tough. I used bouldering and some rock climbing techniques.

When I got to the top, I was amazed. I had sort of thought that Elk Mountain was very much a peak, but it wasn’t; it was a jumbled almost-mesa! Probably 20 acres of area. There were numerous “high points”, and I walked around up there a while looking at all of them.

Eventually, I worked my way to the eastern part of the top, and found the trail down. It was a nice trail; I got to the bottom in short order, and walked cross country back to my car.

I really enjoyed the hike; I have wanted to hike Elk Mountain for a number of years, and on other trips to WMWR, I either didn’t have time, or the parking area was full. I’m glad I took the cross country route this time, it was well worth it.

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One Response to “Hiking Elk Mountain, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK”

  1. walktx Says:

    We hiked there in 2010. It was a very nice hike. I’m guessing you didn’t see a buffalo like we did. I thought they were plains animals, don’t know what this one was doing up there.


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