Just north of Fort Sill lies one of Oklahoma's most breath-taking scenery: the Wichita Mountains. Named after the area's indigenous tribe,
whose reservation is just to the northwest, the Wichita Mountains are protected as a wildlife refuge for a large bison herd and other native
flora and fauna. The bison have the right of way on the few roads that slice through the refuge, which will lead you to some fantastic places
that merit a weekend's worth of driving and exploring.

At the eastern entrance, along OK 49 is the town of Medicine Park, where you can fish, kayak, swim, and hike amongst buildings
constructed almost one hundred years ago of native cobblestone. Then, you drive to Mount Scott, considered a holy place for the Wichitas.
From Mount Scott, you can see Lake Elmer Thomas and Lake Lawtonka. Driving further west, you'll come to a decision-making crossroads:
north or south on OK 115??

To the north lie several  nice surprises: the Holy City, an impressive fortress constructed of rock; the Arrastra Site, an American-built ore
grinder near sunken shafts that was modeled after colonial Spanish methods of gold mining; and Meers, a small but delectable town with a
famous beer and burger joint. North of Meers are abandoned towns like Saddle Mountain and Cooperton; and then there's
Gotebo, a ghost
town in the making.

To the south are a few abandoned prospector and ranch houses, like the Ingram and Ferguson houses. Outside of the refuge area is
Cache, the former home of legendary Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, who is buried next to his mother and sister at Fort Sill. West of
Cache is an older alignment of US 62, where a bridge slices through runners of the Wichita Mountains and crosses over the North Fork of
the Red River. Until the late 19th century, Texas claimed that their border was the North Fork of the Red River - the Supreme Court had to
let them know that
Randolph B. Marcy's explorations and surveys were a little off, and that the Texas ended along the southern (main)
channel of the Red River.

If you drive west on OK 49 (find it by taking OK 115 south), you will come to the Refuge's offices and prime bison-spotting territory. Several
small lakes and geologic features, like shallow canyons and deep ledges, dot the landscape - all can be explored by car, by bike, or on foot.
Outside of the refuge is Great Plains State Park near Snyder, and the strange but oddly fascinating town of
Roosevelt.

Go do some exploring in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge!
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
The Spanish named the Wichita Mountains the Sierra Jumanca.
Though legend has it that the Spanish found gold here, historians say
that it is not true. Darn fact checkers.
Victory School, built in 1929 using cobblestones taken
from Medicine Creek.
Nice surprise in Meers: an old Santa Fe box car. No reason for it, as
Meers never saw any railroad traffic, but it's pretty cool.
Drink up the atmosphere at Meers famous burger and beer joint.
The refuge lies just north of Fort Sill amongst the Kiowa, Wichita, Caddo Comanche, and Apache reservations.