As Fall starts to settle into SWOK, the cool mornings and warm days are prime for a little hiking.

Ideally, cool mornings are nice to hike rather than warm days. Only because in the early morning temps are enjoyable. You can work up a sweat, but things instantly cool off. Plus, things like rattlesnakes are somewhat sluggish and lazy in cooler temps. All the same, generally, if you don't mess with them, they won't mess with you. It comes from that old adage of 'leave only footprints.'

If you want to enjoy a hike, but you're not sure where to go, the web has a ton of resources for you. You can even download the official US Fish & Wildlife trail map. It's enough to get you started, but barely.

A better suggestion is heading into the Wichita Mountains Welcome Center just outside the Western refuge gate. You'll not only find better resources there, but you'll be able to talk to fellow hikers well-versed in the area.

If you'd like to ease into in a sort of 'guided' fashion, you can always start on the Friends of the Wichita's facebook page. They plan several group outings throughout the month, plus small maintenance hikes and activities throughout the year. The more the merrier, go meet new people and enjoy the bounty of beautiful nature SWOK has to offer.