Oklahoma may not be widely known for its rigorous hikes or outdoor excursions, but the Wichita Mountains do allow for some beautiful exploration and opportunities for adventure in this Sooner State. Just 70 miles from the bustle of Oklahoma City, the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma is a perfect getaway for locals and visiting tourists looking to spend a day in the great outdoors.
Hike The Wichita Mountains
Nestled just west of Lawton, Oklahoma and the quaint town of Medicine Park lay the Wichita Mountains. This 60,000 acres of wildlife refuge is quite literally where the buffalo roam, while also being the home to various other wildlife including longhorns and Rocky Mountain elk.
While the peaks may not quite rival the mountains of Colorado, there are several opportunities to both drive and hike up different terrain levels. Visitors are very likely to see some wild bison - the official state animal of Oklahoma since 1972.
Mount Scott is the tallest peak in Oklahoma, located just on the eastern edge of the Wichita Mountains. With three miles of paved roadway and plenty of parking, this makes it a perfect spot for less-experienced hikers and families to drive up and explore while still enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the Oklahoma valley below.
Mount Scott may be the "biggest mountain" in the area, but travelers looking for a more tenuous hiking experience can drive a little further to Sunset Peak. Park in the hiking or picnic area, and follow the bridge toward Sunset Trail. This mile-long hike goes up through some winding trails and footpaths. You are likely to see some deer and small wildlife along the way. The hike ends in a gorgeous giant rock structure, and is the perfect place to eat a sack lunch and see the buffalo roam below! It is also, of course, a wonderful place to watch the sunset over the Oklahoma plains.
Swim In Bath Lake
The Oklahoma heat can get the best of travelers. While Oklahoma may be a landlocked state, there are still plenty of gorgeous lakes and opportunities to cool off in the water. Bath Lake provides some beautiful views and places to swim. Waters flow in from the nearby Medicine Creek, keeping this area cool and clear, with a small waterfall to enjoy. In colder months, this is also a great location to fish for trout!
Camping is permitted nearby at Medicine Creek's Primitive Campground for those looking to get a longer experience in the wild and beautiful outdoors of Oklahoma!
Enjoy Live Music In Medicine Park
Medicine Park is a charming community and was founded in 1908 as Oklahoma's first resort town! The town prides itself in its opportunities for local food, arts, and entertainment; and the local community is working hard to make this a tourist destination for visitors from Oklahoma and beyond. With this, there are plenty of opportunities for live music, events, and fun for the whole family!
Travelers should also check out the well-known Holy City. This sixty-six-acre experience looks similar to Israel during biblical times and is also home to the longest-running passion play, Prince of Peace. The area includes a temple with beautiful murals and ceiling art. This attraction has brought visitors to the area for decades!
Eat At Meers!
Just a few miles north of the Wichita Mountains lies an Oklahoma staple, visited by Oklahomans since 1901 to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, and enjoy the famous longhorn burgers and barbecue. Meers Store and Restaurant has been around since the founding of this gold mining town, even before Oklahoma became a state in 1907. This spot is well worth the visit for both the history and the burgers!
Other Things To Enjoy
While in the Lawton area, visitors can grab an ice cream cone at the locally owned Cobblestone Creamery with seasonal flavors, and all the toppings one can dream of!
Support another local restaurant by stopping in at the authentic '50s diner drive-in, Wayne's Drive Inn. Here, you'll find everything from the neon lights, cool cars cruising, and a fine burger and fries!
Lastly, grab a sweet treat at Mrs. Chadwick's Bakery! This cute little bakery is a great stop for homemade cinnamon rolls, muffins, and more.
Oklahoma has plenty to offer, with an abundance of nature, wildlife, natural water, and locals working hard to make the community a lively and thriving place for tourism. After spending the day in the Wichita Mountains, head north to explore Oklahoma City, hop on Route 66 to head further west, or stay around and see what other amazing things Oklahoma has to offer!