The Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway winds through the Wichita Mountains in southwestern Oklahoma, a few hours away from Oklahoma City.
The terrain is definitely NOT what you would expect in Oklahoma – flat, flat, flat, mountains, flat, flat, flat.
This anomaly was created by a continental rift that started and failed, leaving behind a 1,000 foot tall expanse of rock in otherwise flat cow land.
We have a lot of "If you’re in the area, stop" pushpins in our Go-See-Do map, and we had a cluster here – Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, Holy City of the Wichitas, Mount Scott, and the Parallel Forest. Guess we have plenty of reason to stop this time through.
The Wildlife Refuge is definitely the highlight. Bison, longhorn cows, elk, blue lakes, and birds galore. Roughly a third of the Refuge is open to the public, while the remainder is where the wildlife has their freedom unencumbered by humans.

Free Range

Free Range
Watching the bison out the window in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge


Ready For Fall

Ready For Fall
I wouldn’t picture this color in Oklahoma


Lake Jed Johnson Tower

Lake Jed Johnson Tower
Still doesn’t look like Oklahoma!


Lake Jed Johnson

Lake Jed Johnson
Gorgeous blue water in the middle of the Wichita Mountains.


The drive up 2,464ft Mount Scott is a must-do for expansive views. You will also spot rock climbers along the road as the rock is solid and grippy, making the entire area quite popular.


Mount Scott

Mount Scott
Looking down from Mount Scott in the Wichita Mountains


Holy City of the Wichitas is a 66 acre chunk of the Wildlife Refuge that contains buildings imitating what Israel would have looked like during Biblical times.
They have also put on a huge Easter play here since 1926, but the site is open to the public the rest of the year and you can walk through the buildings and stage.
Not a destination itself but interesting to see if you’re already in the area anyway.


Stacked Rocks

Stacked Rocks
Some of the rock work at the Holy City of the Wichitas


Holy City of the Wichitas

Holy City of the Wichitas
Not something you’d expect to see in the middle of a National Wildlife Refuge.


The Parallel Forest isn’t worth a stop unless you’re into oddities and obscure things. It is a 16 acre parcel created as a test windblock to help erosion control during the Dust Bowl.
You walk into a patch of perfectly-aligned red cedar trees, look around, say ‘yup them trees sure are straight’ and leave.


Parallel Forest

Parallel Forest
A sixteen acre experiment to help control the Dust Bowl



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