Facility Activities

Find your wild in the wide open spaces of the Wichita Mountains. Whether you like to hike, fish, or photograph, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has plenty of wildlife dependent recreational opportunities.  

 

Set among ancient granite mountains in southwest Oklahoma, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge offers opportunities for high quality hunting on one of the oldest refuges in the nation. Partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC), the refuge offers controlled elk, white-...

Fishing is permitted in all refuge lakes in the public use section of the refuge. Refuge waters include 12 manmade lakes totaling approximately 500 acres. Fishing season is year-round. Available species include largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie and channel catfish. 

Only an...

Backcountry camping is allowed by permit in designated portions of the Charon's Garden Wilderness Area.  Permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis for a maximum of three days. Friday, Saturday, Sunday -or- Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. No permits are issued for Thursday. A...

Bicycles are allowed only on paved roads, the Mt. Scott Service Road, the Lake Elmer Thomas Service Road, and the LETRA Trail.

Bicycling Events on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge require a Special Use Permit (SUP).  A Special Use Permit (SUP) is a legal document which allows...

From bald eagles to spoonbills, from condors to puffins, birds abound on national wildlife refuges. Refuges provide places for birds to nest, rest, feed and breed making them world-renown for their birding opportunities.

Hand-powered boats and electric trolling motors are permitted only on Jed Johnson, Rush, Quanah Parker, and French Lakes. Electric trolling motors are permitted on boats 14' or less in length on Jed Johnson, Rush, and Quanah Parker Lakes.

Boats of any size are permitted on Lake Elmer...

Non-motorized boats, paddleboards, and boats less than 14' with electric trolling motors are permitted only on Elmer Thomas Lake, Jed Johnson, Rush, Quanah Parker, and French Lake.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of camping opportunities:

• Doris Campground is a modern camping facility with individual and group sites. https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/10038733 • Fawn Creek Campground is reserved for organized youth...

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the Access Fund, and the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition have come together to support and present valuable climbing opportunities for visiting climbers and have produced the following guidelines to ensure a quality climbing experience while offering...

Pets must be under direct control on a leash less than 10 feet long at all times.

Pets must be provided sufficient resources, care and protection from the environment to maintain their health when visiting the refuge. Do not leave pets unattended in vehicles or abandon pets on the...

The refuge has 15 miles of designated hiking trails that offer the novice and seasoned hiker a rewarding experience. The trails wind through scrub oak forest, across rocky mountains and over grass prairie. Wildlife abounds along these trails.

Painting and sketching in nature is possible at nearly all sites open to the public. Sometimes, sites host public displays of artworks created on the refuge.

The Refuge offers world-class wildlife viewing and photography with opportunities to see and photograph bison, elk, white-tailed deer, turkey, and prairie dogs, as well as a host of small mammals, birds, and reptiles.  

Individuals or organizations that bring clients to...

A few sites allow picnicking at designated areas.
Rangers lead wildlife walks, tours and educational programs at many sites. Events may focus on wildflowers or birds or on seasonal spectacles, such as elk bugling or sea turtle nesting. Some programs may be limited in size or require advance registration. See individual websites for details.
Many multi-purpose trails are open to runners and joggers as well as walkers and, in some cases, bicyclists. Some sites host annual fun runs. Check individual refuge websites for details.

Snorkeling and scuba diving is only authorized at Lake Elmer Thomas Dam.  This activity is prohibited throughout the rest of the Refuge.

A permit is required for commercial snorkeling or scuba diving instruction at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge has 15 miles of designated hiking trails that offer the novice and seasoned hiker a rewarding experience. The trails wind through scrub oak forest, across rocky mountains and over grass prairie. Wildlife abounds along these trails.