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.

Pack List

  • Daypack
  • Plenty of water (bring at minimum 32 oz. of water)
  • Layers of clothing
  • Hiking shoes or hiking sandals
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Snacks/Meal
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 2.4 Miles
Elevation Gain 590 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking, Rock Climbing
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

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!


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