Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Days 9-11

3:40 PM


When we turned the corner and entered the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, it was like entering another world. A time from long ago where buffalo roamed the praries and prarie dogs scattered across the fields. We arrived after 5pm and settled into the Doris Campground. It took all of one hour for Jase to announce that Oklahoma was like Africa. I think he was referring to the fact that you can drive down the roads of the refuge and encounter animals right outside your car windows. You see, the bison, deer, prarie dogs, turkey, otters, lizards and so many more animals are all free range on the 59,000+ acre refuge.






The visitors' center at the refuge is like a mini museum and the boys spent at least an hour there exploring the history of the area, praries, refuge and Wichita mountains as well as searching out the various animals they may see while here. Armed with a map, we headed to the Holy City for a tour of this unique part of the refuge.




On the way out to the Holy City, we couldn't help but pull over to the side of the road and say hi to  some bison, a grumpy looking longhorn and some adorable prarie dogs. The Holy City itself is the result of a congregation that got together and decided that this are of the refuge is what Jerusalem would have looked like and they converted the area into a Holy City complete with a Passion Play that has been going on once a year since 1926. It is a gorgeous and reflective place.







Mt. Scott, which is the highest mountain in the Wichita range within the refuge had a beautiful drive up to a look-out. This was one of the situations that you get yourself into and then there is no way out of it. I didn't realize I was scared of heights until I was driving up the mountain. There are only small rocks as a guardrail in areas and you look like you are going to drive right off the side in many places, but the views are worth it when you get to the top.





The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has 15 miles of designated trails for hikers. We took the Elk Mountain Trail System trail that led up through the area known as Charons Garden Wilderness Area this morning for a two hour hike before it got too hot. This was a pretty rough trail mostly over rocks and it rewarded us with spectacular views. Don't worry though, they have simple flat trails as well that are well shaded if scrounging over rocks in the sun isn't your thing.







The Doris Campground is as beautiful as the rest of the refuge with a mixture of semi-primitive tent sites, full electrical hook-up sites and even a few walk-in primitive sites as well. There is water available and both vault and traditional toilets with showers. The sites are spacious and some are waterfront.

The refuge was a bit out of the way when I was planning this trip, but now that we have experienced it, I am more than happy that we went out of our way to visit it. If you are anywhere nearby, I would definitely recommend that you don't miss it!

{Visitor Information}

Admission into the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was free and day use is available as well. Doris Campground has a fee of $10 per night for semi-primitive tent camping and $20 per night for full hook-up sites.

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22 comments

  1. I'd love to hike the trails there, but I will tell ya... you are braver than me for driving it. I would have been scared out of my mind.

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  2. I am so intrigued by this trip you are taking, you guys are on a never-ending adventure!

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  3. I'm not a camper, but I would love to spend some time on those trails you guys were on. (The flat ones not the twist your ankle ones)

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  4. So many things to see and learn. It looks amazing!

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  5. What a fabulous experience for you and your sons. Textbooks can never teach what must be experienced.

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  6. What a view! Looks like the boys were loving some skulls and bones and antlers and critters too.

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  7. Wow, what a gorgeous view and it looks like an amazing experience.

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  8. The hiking looks amazing! The pictures of your boys with the scenery behind almost doesn't look real. It's amazing how beautiful nature is.

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  9. At least it was worth it. Sometimes you go out of your way and it's a total bomb! It looks like there was plenty to do, see, and touch. I got instantly stressed when I saw your son with his hands in that skull - they didn't get stuck, did they?

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  10. I am so enjoying your family's summer travels!

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  11. What a gorgeous refuge! Your boys are adorable and it looks like you are all having a ton of fun.

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  12. What a fun trip you guys are having!!

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  13. what wonderful memories your creating and such amazing places you've visited

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  14. My son would absolutely LOVE This! You guys look like your having a blast.

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  15. I am so jealous of your summer trip!! 9 days in and it looks AMAZING! Love the pictures - I look forward to your next post!

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  16. I would LOVE to be that close to all those animals!

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  17. Beautiful photos I just love that you are doing this with the kids how cool!

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  18. This is so nature-ly! Definitely different from what I'm use to in the city! Looks like a great time!

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