Established in 1901, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is one of more than 556 refuges throughout the United States managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The 59,020 acre refuge hosts a rare piece of the past - a remnant mixed grass prairie, an island where the natural grasslands escaped destruction because the rocks underfoot defeated the plow.
The refuge provides habitat for large native grazing animals such as American bison, Rocky Mountain elk, and white-tailed deer. Texas longhorn cattle also share the refuge rangelands as a cultural and historical legacy species. More than 50 mammals, 240 bird, 64 reptile and amphibian, 36 fish, and 806 plant species thrive on this important refuge.
Visitors to the refuge can enjoy wildlife watching, hunting, fishing, special events and much more.
Free of charge, seven days a week from sunrise to sunset. This is where you can enjoy wildlife-related activities, including wildlife watching, hiking, and photography. Sixteen designated trails of varying lengths total over 30 miles of nature trails that offer many exciting opportunities to enjoy and explore this biologically rich refuge.
Special Events, Tours and Activities:
The refuge offers many exciting Special Events, Tours and Visitor Activities. Check out the Events Calendar and For Educators pages for other fun things to do.
Bison play on the great plains in the Wichita Wildlife Refuge.The 59,020 acres or refuge lands include approximately 20,000 acres of open mixed grass prairie, with the remainder being forest and rock outcroppings. The grasslands are dominated by little bluestem, with Indian grass, big bluestem, switchgrass, sideoats grama, hairy grama, and blue grama having a large percentage of the overall species composition. The forested areas are dominated by post oak, blackjack oak and eastern red cedar.
A stop at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge center is a great way to learn about its founding and the variety of animals that call the Refuge home.
Open Daily, Refuge Visitor Center:
Daily: 9am to 5pm (Central Time Zone)
The Visitor Center is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
At the Visitor Center, refuge staff and volunteers are available to provide you with helpful information, including maps, brochures and checklists. There are also a number of exhibits to enjoy and a short film to view.
Directions: From I-44 take Highway 49 (exit 45). Go west 10 miles to the Refuge gate. If coming from Highway 62, take Highway 115 (Cache exit) north to the Refuge Gate.
You will find leaflet dispensers inside each of the Refuge gates that have maps and information.
Contact Refuge Headquarters for more information. See the Maps section of this website for additional directions. The lat/long for the refuge visitor center is 34.710644 and -98.623426.