6 Mountain Getaways Near Wichita (Under a 5 Hour Drive!)

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I don’t know about you, but being quarantined has me jonesing for adventure — a picturesque landscape to visit and explore. I love the mountains, but living here in central Kansas, it’s pretty flat. 

Luckily, there are several areas within a few hours drive that can satisfy one’s longing for the mountains. I’m not talking big as the Rockies (those are an easy 8 hour shot due west) but some lower-scale, yet beautiful, ways to absorb cascading views in under 5 hours from Wichita.

*Be sure to check websites or call locations to check COVID 19 closures and restrictions.

Glass Mountain State Park, OK – 2hr 45min from Wichita

Nicknamed “Glass Mountains” for their shiny, glass-like composition, this is an easy drive and worth a day trip for the scenic views and good hiking. Picnic areas and restrooms are onsite, but no camping or lodging available, so make it a day trip, or choose to stay in a nearby community.

Also, be sure to make the short drive over to Alabaster Caverns State Park to dive into one of the largest gypsum caves in the world! 

Wichita Mountains, OK- 3hr 30min from Wichita

I am an Oklahoma Native, and this has been of my favorite quick getaways. This range in Southwest Oklahoma boasts a beautiful, western hills landscape, and it’s an easy drive! There are numerous campsites, lakes, rivers, and hiking areas to explore.

Be sure to visit:

  • Medicine Park, OK – a quaint, cobblestone community with shops, restaurants, cabin and room rentals. The Medicine Park Aquarium is a new attraction to enjoy!
  • Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge – wild buffalo, elk and deer, longhorn cattle, prairie dogs, and other animals can be observed in their habitat.
  • Holy City of the Wichitas – hike to the ruins of a city nearly 100 years old, built in tribute to biblical times.
  • Meers Restaurant- grab one of their famous long horn burgers while in the area!

Arbuckle Mountains, OK- 3hr 45min from Wichita

Just south of the OKC metro lies another beautiful terrain waiting for adventure offering lakes, waterfalls, camping, hiking, and ziplines.

Where to visit:

  • Turner Falls Park – a natural 77 foot waterfall lands in a pool good for swimming, relaxing and exploring.
  • Chickasaw National Recreation Area – a valley with plenty to do from wildlife viewing, picnics, hiking, camping, history tours, swimming and much more.
  • Arbuckle Wilderness – a drive through safari where you can feed the animals from your car!

Quartz Mountain Nature Park, OK- 4:30 from Wichita

This area also lies in Oklahoma’s southwest Wichita Mountains, but on the western edge. It offers several hiking trails, camp sites, golfing, and local lake. Both Quartz Mountain and Baldy Point offer rock climbing for the adventurous.

Where to visit:

  • Quartz Mountain Resort – visit the area and stay at here for a more posh mountain getaway with the family. 

San Bois Mountains, OK – 4hr 30min from Wichita

A good area to hunt, fish camp, and hike. The woodlands in this area add it its scenic wonder.
Where to visit:

  • Robbers Cave State Park – this area offers most of the outdoor activities you want to enjoy such as hiking, camping, picnic areas, and horse back riding. Two lakes are in the area, Lake Carlton and Lake Wayne Wallace. 

The Ozarks 

The Ozarks actually span 4 states: Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and even a small bit of Kansas, so there are plenty of options and locations to visit, some a bit further out however. I’ve listed ones worthy of a trip, within the 5 hour drive time frame.

Where to visit:

  • Devil’s Den State Park, AR, 4hr 30min from Wichita- this is one for hikers offering many trails ending in panoramic views. Plenty of camping and lodging nearby to enjoy.
  • Eureka Springs, AR, 4hr 30min from Wichita- a town nestled in the Ozarks that offers so much from dining, spa retreats, shopping, and of course, mountainous adventure in its surroundings.
  • Table Rock Lake, MO, 4hr 45min from Wichita- all the adventure that the mountains bring, plus a beautiful sprawling lake to enjoy. Visit to hike, fish, boat, and stay at an area resort or campsite.Happy trails to you! Wishing you and your family adventurous getaways!
 
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Nicole Nickel
Hi, I’m Nicole! I’m a mommy to two toddlers: Scarlet and Easton, and wife to Justin. We also have 2 furbaby Labs. I am an Oklahoma girl, born and raised. I’ve been here in Wichita since October 2016. Moving from my home of Norman has been tough, but what a great community to relocate! We love to get out explore the area, finding fun toddler and family activities! In addition to mom and wife, I am an early intervention speech-language pathologist for a local nonprofit organization. Some of my favorite things-being an OK girl, I am a die-hard OU football fan (Boomer!), being outdoors, traveling, friends and family, wine and coffee!

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