Summit Elk Mountain

Details

Distance

2.4 miles

Elevation Gain

590 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Jamie Fleck

Hike to panoramic views of the Wichita Mountains and Charon Garden Wilderness at the summit, where there are many boulder scrambling opportunities. Lots of wildlife present, as well, such as the colorful Boomer Lizard.

Elk Mountain is one of the tallest granite peaks in the beautiful Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Its summit is at 2,270 feet, and the Elk Mountain Trail allows hikers to be able to view the Charon Garden Wilderness and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge from the top. This hike is perfect practice for more difficult hikes in the future, with its continuous gradual climb.

The Elk Mountain Trailhead starts at the Sunset Picnic area off of Highway 49. The trail begins crossing over the Sunset Pool and then eventually crosses through a rock formed staircase. The trail then winds in a southeasterly direction all the way up to the summit. There are many outlooks along the trail where you can stop to have a panoramic view. There are also a lot of friendly, colorful Boomer Lizards that like to make an appearance along the hike.

Towards the summit, the trail will split east and west. To reach the summit, you will need to take the trail to the west that involves Class 3 boulder climbing before reaching the granite slab that is known as the Elk Mountain Summit. For those wishing for an easier route, the eastern route is the way to go with its additional scenic views.

From the top of Elk Mountain you can return either by hiking back down to the trail head or by taking the route that leads through the Valley of the Boulders.

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Known for

Rock Climbing
Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby

Reviews

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Currently Closed

There is a good portion of the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Preserve that is closed due to COVID-19. I suggest calling their visitors center (which currently indicates which trails/areas are closed) before driving out to visit.

Really great views. Lots of different routes to take to the summit. No clear patches just an all out figure it out. The views were beautiful and I would recommend for people to check it out.

Good

Quick But Real

This hike is about 45 minutes to the summit but you'll feel like you've had a great work out by the end of it. The view is fantastic, too!

343 total saves

4.0/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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