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Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
590.00 ft (179.83 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great views. One of many attractions.

Cons

Highly trafficked on weekends and holidays.

Trailhead Elevation

1,680.00 ft (512.06 m)

Highest point

2,270.00 ft (691.90 m)

Net Elevation Gain

590.00 ft (179.83 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Wildlife
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Family friendly

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

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