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
While you're in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, be sure to visit the Holy City of the Wichitas, an interesting manmade intrusion that is historic in its own right. Built as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the 1930's, the Holy City is located on 110Lawton, OK Landmarks
The historic Greer County courthouse is truly the center of town and the center of activity. The entire square is surrounded by a unique WPA stone wall with corner fountain structures. In the front lawn is a granite plaque with a brief history of the struggle of the Greer County "empire."Mangum, OK Historic Courthouses
It is known as the Main Street of America - The Mother Road - The Free Road - even the Will Rogers Highway. And it evokes images of roadside diner's, mom-and-pop truck stops, old-fashioned service stations, motor courts, neon signs, and classic American automobiles.Elk City, OK Landmarks
It is known as the Main Street of America - The Mother Road - The Free Road - even the Will Rogers Highway. And it evokes images of roadside diner's, mom-and-pop truck stops, old-fashioned service stations, motor courts, neon signs, and classic American automobiles.
Sayre, OK Landmarks
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
Comanche Chief Quanah Parker had stars painted on the roof of his home to mimic those on the uniforms of the U.S. military officers. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Cache, OK Famous Homes