OverviewMount Parker is a somewhat unnoticed mountain located in the central part of the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma. It lies north of Quanah Mountain, west of Highway 115, directly south of Quanah Parker Dam, and southwest of the WMWR Visitor center. Mount Parker is visible from several locations on both Highway 115 and Rt 49. Depending on your location, it may be obscured by slightly lower peaks in between. The mountain is easily accessible to the public from Highway 115. There are no established trails other than those made by the local inhabitants... elk, deer, and buffalo.
The view from the summit is well worth anyone's effort to climb this mountain. Almost all the named peaks in the WMWR are visible from the top, including Baker Peak and Mt Pinchot to the west, and Mt Scott to the east. There are also commanding views of Arapaho Peak and Mt McKinley located on Ft Sill Army Post property.
Getting ThereFrom Lawton OK via Rt 49:
If you are visiting the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge from the Lawton area, you can enter the park on Rt 49 from the H.E. Bailey Turnpike (I-44). It is approximately 8 miles from I-44 to the park. Once in the park continue on Rt 49 West until you pass the turnoff to Meers OK. Continue west until you reach the WMWR Visitor Center. Just west of the Visitor Center turn south on Highway 115 toward Cache. Drive south approximately 1.8 miles until you come to a car pullout on the west side of the road. This will be a good starting point for hiking to Mt Parker. From this pullout point Mount Parker should be visible to the NNW as the slightly higher peak in this group of mountains. It has the appearance of a rocky rounded crown at the top.
From Cache OK via Highway 115:
From US Rt 62, take Rt 115 N from Cache. It is about 6 miles from Cache to the WMNWR gate. From the Refuge entrance continue north approximately .8 miles on Hwy 115 till you see a car pullout on the west side of the road. Mount Parker will be visible to the NNW of the highway. (refer above)
From the West: Enter the WMNWR on Rt 49. Continue east for several miles. Follow Highway 115 toward Cache and past the Crater Lake turnoff. Look for the first pullout on the west side of the road.... this is probably your best starting point. From this point Mount Parker should be visible to the NNW as mentioned above.
Distance to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge from various cities:
Amarillo TX, 214 miles
Dallas TX, 205 miles
Fort Smith AR, 263 miles
Oklahoma City OK, 86 miles
Tulsa OK, 191 miles
Wichita KS, 246 miles
Wichita Falls TX, 68 miles
CAUTION: Observe posted speed limit signs, especially at night. Park authorites will ticket you for violations. I know from first hand experience!
Visitor CenterThe Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center near the junction of Rt 49 and Highway 115 is well worth the time to stop. Within the center there is a small museum containing species of animals common to the area and a short video is available showing the history of the refuge. Maps, books, and other items can be purchased in the Visitor Center store. Nice Restroom facilities are also available inside.
Ingram House/Ferguson HouseThe Ingram House was built in 1928 by Earl Ingram who lived there with his family until about 1942. During WWII Ft Sill is said to have taken possession of the property to make room for a larger artillery range. The property was later exchange in a land deal with the Wichita Mountain Refuge. The house is visible to the north of Rt 49 highway about 1 1/2 miles east of the Visitor Center. The Ingram House is listed with the National Register of Historic Places.
The Ferguson House was built by the Ferguson family in 1928. It was built on homestead land dating back to 1901. Mr Ferguson raised cattle and peaches. A gas station was later built just west of the house. The property was later involved in a land exchange with Ft Sill. The house was also used as a residence for employees and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house is located on Rt 49 about one mile east of the Visitor Center. During the summer of 2010 embers from a controlled burn on Ft Sill drifted into the park setting fire to the Ferguson house. Images of the burned out house can be seen below in the image section.
Red TapeThere is no fee to visit the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. There are several picnicking areas throughout the park. There are opportunities for general camping, backcountry camping (Permit only) and there are numerous trails for hiking and backpacking. Boating is permitted but there are special rules that apply. Fishing is in accordance with state and federal regulations. Hunting is by lottery through the OK Department of Wildlife Conservation. There are tours and special programs provided by the park service. For specific rules and regulations and/or additional information, please check with the WMNWR Visitor Center or visit the site below.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Route 1, Box 448, Indiahoma, OK 73552 (580) 429-3222
Climbing NotesThe climb/hike to the summit of Mount Parker is a non-technical journey. There are no marked trails. Depending on the exact route that you take, it will involve a lot of bushwhacking, hiking, bouldering, and even some easy to moderate scrambling as you get closer to the peak. There may be a lot of animal trails that will be somewhat helpful as you make your way through the heavy brush and trees.
To begin a climb of Mount Parker, start at the car pullout on Highway 115 south of Crater Lake. (Refer to the Topo Image in this section for a visual of this route.)
CampingThe Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge offers a fully developed camping facility.
Doris Campground is located about 1 1/2 miles to the west of the Visitor Center. This campground is fully developed with water, fire grills, picnic tables, sanitary dump stations, shower & restroom facilities, tent sites, some electrical hookups, and trailer spaces. Sites are first come - first served. There is limited group camping by reservation only. Fees are charged.
Backcountry camping (by permit only) is available in the Charon's Garden Wilderness Area further to the west.
Hiking Health and SafetyDepending on what season of the year that you hike in the Wichita Mountains you may need to be concerned with ticks, chiggers, and other potential insect threats. Insect repellent is always a good idea. Upon returning home, be sure to wash your clothes and check your body for ticks. They will often show up a day or two later. Always treat any insect bite with concern. If sickness, fever, aching, etc, follow an insect bite you should seek your doctors care.
Beware of the animals in the refuge. Buffalo and Longhorn Steer can be dangerous if cornered or threatened. Snakes are also plentiful. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Remember, a good hike is a safe hike.
External LinksWICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE Website
US WILDLIFE AREAS Website
WICHITA MOUNTAINS COBBLESTONE GAZETTE