In southwestern Oklahoma the golden shortgrass prairie extends for mile after undulating mile, mirroring the sky in its vastness. Less than a century and a half ago, the Southern Plains were the domain of the Kiowa and Comanche, who hunted buffalo on horses bridled with Spanish silver and traded with the Wichitas, farmers who lived in grass houses. To the Kiowa, the earth was sacred, and the Wichitas believed their ancestors lived on in the 650-million-year-old granite boulders of the Wichita Mountains. Travelers exploring the region today may encounter moments of similar reverence -- watching the sun set from atop Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, for instance, or watching an eagle soar in winter. A rowdier spirit lives endures in the area, too: Teddy Roosevelt created the wildlife refuge after he traveled to Oklahoma Territory to hunt wolves. Bison now graze on the 60,000-acre preserve, along with longhorn cattle, antelope and elk -- rugged mountain biking, hiking, camping and backpacking are permitted in some areas.
Explore Great Plains Country
The impressive Beckham County Courthouse was built in 1911. If you have watched the movie, "The Grapes of Wrath," it may look familiar to you. It appeared in the brief 30-second montage of shots depicting the beginning of the Joad family's westward journey along Oklahoma Route 66Sayre, OK Historic Courthouses
The Refuge maintains four series of hiking trails as well as wayside exhibits throughout the Public Use Area. While visitors may hike anywhere in the Public Use Area of the Refuge, these trail systems are maintained for optimum viewing opportunities, ease of access, and diversity of scenery.
Lawton, OK Hiking Trails
The Jackson County Courthouse was built in 1910 of native granite. A noticeable feature of the structure is the artful contrast of the red granite foundation, and most remarkable is the size of the granite blocks which undoubtedly has given the structure its stability throughout the years.Altus, OK Historic Courthouses