Hike the Wichita Mountains' Bison Trail

Bison Trailhead

Explore the unique, rugged landscape along the Bison Trail. You'll likely catch a glimpse of a few as this is home to a herd of nearly 650 buffalo.

The Wichita Mountains rise rather dramatically from the flat plains of Southwest Oklahoma that surround them. In 1901, the roughly 59,000 acres of land were established as a wildlife refuge to preserve endangered species and to reintroduce animals that had once been eliminated from the area. Today, this is a wonderful spot to observe wildlife, hike, and camp.

Bison Trail is the longest in the refuge, and it offers spectacular views of lakes and the surrounding area. Shortly after you begin the hike, you will come to a fork – you choose either direction, since it is one large loop. The hike will take roughly three hours, which leaves you plenty of time to set up camp at Doris Campground.

Doris Campground is the perfect set up, whether you're looking for single-units with or without electricity, or a semi-primitive area to pitch your tent. The campground is situated near Quanah Parker Lake and is also an awesome spot to watch the sunset. Don't forget to grab some firewood for after sunset, and a cooler to ice down your beverages. This a great spot for weekend getaways!

Getting there: In order to reach the Bison Trailhead, turn off of Highway 49 onto NW Indiahoma Rd. You will begin to see signs for the parking lot that leads to the trail.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Firewood
  • Cooler
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RT Distance 5.7 Miles
Elevation Gain 829 Feet
Activities Camping, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Lake
Scenic
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Surprising

A few buddies and I went out and checked out this hike and we were amazed by how beautiful it was. The hiking itself was not very strenuous but bring water if it's going to be warm out there because you'll be out for a few hours. The loop we did was closer to 8 miles. The scenery and landscape were amazing and the water the trail parallels holds some decent sized bass. I'm going to come back with a fly rod next time and see if I can't get into some of those fish!

Good Day With My Son

Took my son a lunch and 2 dogs. Trail was fairly well marked. My son spotted a buffalo about 800 yards away on the next ridge line about half way through the loop. When you get there the road signs are a little less clear as I never saw a sign for Bison Trail. Road sign to look for are "Dog Run Hollow Trail" this is the start for several loop trails near trail HQ (closed on the weekend). We received better information at the visitors center a few miles away. They were super helpful and friendly there and this afforded us the opportunity to get extremely close to prairie dogs at the prairie dog town near the road. All in all it was a good day. It was hot and humid the day we went. Take plenty of water and a water bowl for the dogs.

Weekend Trip

The trail is a great option for anyone in the area looking for a short weekend trip. Doris campground isn't too busy if you visit outside of a holiday weekend, but either way I would recommend looking for the primitive sites to stay away from the crowds. As Korey mentioned in the description; catching a sunrise or sunset on the lake is well worth the trip


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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