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Wichita Mountains Wilderness

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General Trip Planning Information

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge consists of 59,020 acres of unique habitats that embrace the ancient Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma. Located about 20 minutes northwest of Lawton, Oklahoma, the natural beauty of the Refuge coupled with quality outdoor recreational uses and world-class wildlife viewing opportunities attracts between 1.52 and 1.72 million visitors each year. The outstanding scenic qualities and recreational opportunities offered by the 5,723 acre Charons Garden Wilderness area, located in the rugged southwestern portion of Refuge, renders it one of the most popular attractions for Refuge visitors. Refuge maps and other general information are available at the Refuge Visitor Center, and on the Refuge website.

Recreational Opportunities

Refuge visitors may hike, explore, observe and photograph wildlife and outstanding natural scenery, and climb rocks within the Wilderness area. A limited number of camping permits are available that allow overnight camping in a designated area of the Wilderness. Elk and deer hunting are allowed by permits issued under a lottery system administered by the Oklahoma Dept of Wildlife Conservation. Some guided wilderness hikes are available.

Climate and Special Equipment Needs

The Charons Garden Wilderness may be subject to extreme heat during the summer, and often very cold weather during the winter. Take plenty of water, especially during the summer. The area is also subject to severe storms, including tornadoes, especially during the spring. The area is very rugged and rocky. Dress appropriately and wear durable shoes or boots suited for use in rocky and rough terrain.

Safety and Current Conditions

Most injuries that occur in the Refuge result from falls, dehydration, and heat sicknesses. Venomous snakes, primarily western diamondback rattlesnakes and copperheads, are common on the Refuge. Visitors are cautioned to avoid close proximity to bison and longhorn cattle, which freely roam throughout the Refuge.

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