Elk Mountain

Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge

High Great Plains, Oklahoma

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Elk Mountain


  • The view looking up toward the summit.- Elk Mountain
  • The bridge leading to the trail.- Elk Mountain
  • The waterway below the bridge. - Elk Mountain
  • Wildflowers break the rough surfaces of the rock faces. - Elk Mountain
  • The trail winds through trees and overgrowth. - Elk Mountain
  • A view captured midway to the summit. - Elk Mountain
  • Astounding views greet hikers throughout the ascent. - Elk Mountain
  • Expansive skies above the Wichita Mountains.  - Elk Mountain
  • Hikers have left their mark on the mountain. - Elk Mountain
  • The wildlife refuge offers more than hiking trails. - Elk Mountain
  • Wildflowers atop the mountain. - Elk Mountain
  • The grand view at the mountain summit. - Elk Mountain
  • A marker indicates the summit of the mountain. - Elk Mountain
  • A lake below Elk Mountain. - Elk Mountain
  • Bouldering options make themselves visible to the south. - Elk Mountain
  • A lightly trafficked trail winds over the top of Elk Mountain. - Elk Mountain
  • The view looking southward. - Elk Mountain
  • Boulders dwarf hikers and offer an outdoor playground. Traverse with caution. - Elk Mountain
  • Elk Mountain is a must-see destination in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. - Elk Mountain
Overview + Weather
Great views. One of many attractions.
Highly trafficked on weekends and holidays.
High Great Plains, OK
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Highest point: 
2,270.00 ft (691.90 m)
Net Elevation Gain: 
590.00 ft (179.83 m)
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Total elevation gain: 
590.00 ft (179.83 m)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,680.00 ft (512.06 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Elk Mountain, located in Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains Natoinal Wildlife Refuge, is one of many attractions in the area. The mountain itself has a 2.4-mile there-and-back hike winding up through red rocks, wildflowers, boulders, and overgrowth. At times the trail can be difficult to follow, but it offers hikers the ability to wander on the ascent and descent. Caution is encouraged so that visitors do not wander too far and get lost. The hiking skills required are fairly minimal, and this is a popular place for families to venture into the outdoors. Picnic spots and a bridge mark the entryway, after which an incline along a waterway begins. Red rocks litter the trail as it weaves upward. Boulders and scalable rocks break up the trail and offer an outdoor jungle gym to energetic hikers. Beautiful wildflowers set fire to the mountain in hues of orange, red, and yellow with hints of white and purple.

Several photo opportunities and overlooks of the valley below are present and offer breaks along the way. The trail narrows significantly on the ascent, so patience should be exercised when passing fellow hikers. The mountains in the distance fade to a blue haze and blend with the clouds above. Down in the valley one of the area’s many lakes is visible. Other mountain peaks are visible, and these tend to receive more traffic than Elk Mountain.

A marker by the Army Corps of Engineers indicates the summit of Elk Mountain, but the adventuring does not end there! Looking south of the marker, boulders have collected over the centuries and await guests wishing to add more excitement to their visit. Bouldering and climbing enthusiasts have a plethora of options for climbs and obstacles. Extreme caution is encouraged in this portion of Elk Mountain because it is difficult for any type of rescue assistance to reach hikers.

Visitors to the area are encouraged to explore the rest of the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge where bison and longhorns are allowed to roam freely, fishing and boating options are plenty, and camping, hiking, and visitor center exhibits are not in short supply.

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