Touring An Oklahoma Refuge

Colorful sunset on Mt Scott

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is a protected area located in southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton. It is known for its diverse geological and natural wonders, offering photographers a unique and stunning landscape. The refuge is named after the Wichita Mountains, a rugged range that stands out amidst the surrounding plains. These ancient granite mountains are estimated to be around 540 million years old, and they provide a striking backdrop to the refuge’s scenery.

Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area section of the refuge is particularly renowned for its scenic beauty and unique geological formations. Charon’s Garden features rugged granite outcrops, narrow canyons, and boulder-strewn valleys, making it a favorite destination for hikers, rock climbers, and photographers.

As a designated wildlife refuge, this area is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. Visitors may spot bison, elk, white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, longhorn cattle, coyotes, and a variety of bird species. The refuge also hosts the Texas horned lizard, which is the state reptile of Texas.

  • Neon sunrise over a family of buffalo
  • Prairie dog standing on a rock in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
  • Sunrise over Longhorn cattle in wildflower field

[All wildlife images above were taken with my Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM Lens]

Rising to an elevation of 2,464 feet, Mount Scott (pictured at the top) offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. A road leads to the summit, where you can enjoy stunning vistas of the refuge, the nearby lakes, and the surrounding prairies. Several lakes can be found within the refuge, including Lake Lawtonka, Lake Elmer Thomas, and Medicine Creek. They offer opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife observation. There are also seasonal waterfalls in the area that can be quite picturesque after hard rains.

Located near the refuge is Medicine Park, a charming cobblestone resort town known for its unique architecture and scenic beauty. It features quaint shops, restaurants, and galleries, and serves as a gateway to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

I will be leading a 5-Day, 4-Night, All-Immersive Adventure Workshop for Photographers in August and this is just one of the amazing places we are able to explore with Special Use Permits. Check out the Chasing Central Oklahoma Light Adventure Workshop for more information.

  • Blue Hour at Treasure Lake with wildflower trail
  • Sunset over Jed Johnson Tower Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge

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